Snow Blind (Monkeewrench #4), by P.J. Tracy

Eight stars

P.J. Tracy continues to pull me in with this fourth novel in the series, set during a cold snap that makes me remember my childhood. In the middle of the coldest part of winter, Homicide Detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are preparing for the Minneapolis PD’s snowman festival. However, as they examine some of the other entries, it becomes apparent that there are two bodies within other snowmen. These bodies are soon identified as fellow MPD officers, making it apparent that there is a killer on the loose and children will likely never want to see another Frosty-type image. As they begin their investigation, they cannot guess how many other bodies there might be hiding in plain sight or who might be the next victim. In a rural Minnesota county, Iris Rikker is ready to begin her first day as sheriff, having won a contentious election to unseat her longtime predecessor. As she is trying to get acclimated, a snowman body is found and she’s forced to start her new job on the wrong foot. The victim is a parole officer and it would appear that parolee Kurt Weinbeck took offence to something, having left him frozen solid and surrounded by snow. Magozzi and Rolseth see the similarities and make their way out to see Rikker, who soon learns that there is more to the story. Weinbeck is on the hunt for his ex-wife, Julie Albright, who is in hiding after being an abuse victim for too long. The MPD Detectives agree to tag along during a visit to Albright, to check on her welfare with Weinbeck on the lam and a potential killer. Locating Albright in Bitterroot, Rolseth is anything but pleased about the community, which offers a unique style of protection. Magozzi seems more accepting, but no matter how protection is offered, Weinbeck is on the loose and must be stopped. Back in Minneapolis, members of Monkeewrench discover someone’s been bragging about the snowman killings in a chat room, hours before the bodies were discovered. Might the killer be found through technological means and could this narrow the future victim pool? Tracy offers up another wonderful thriller that is sure to pique the interest of the series fan and those who love quick police procedurals with a difference.

I simply cannot say enough about P.J. Tracy’s work as I binge my way through this series! The stories reel me in each and every time and these characters continue to evolve, with new ones introduced in each book. Magozzi and Rolseth are back in the driver’s seat, using their banter and sleuthing skills to keep the reader keen on what they will find. Introducing the Sheriff Iris Rikker storyline is not only useful, but plays right into the larger theme of the novel, which can only do good things, should she reappear in future novels. As always, the Monkeewrench crew is present, though they seem to sit in the background for much of the story, popping up only when their usefulness adds depth to the plot. Secondary characters do, as always, offer some interesting flavours, and Tracy is able to effectively utilise them to push home a key point needed to better tell the story. The narrative flows well and the reader is treated to some superior writing that is not always found within the genre, while also staying grounded. Moving away from the traditional police procedural, P.J. Tracy entertains the reader with strong storylines, perfect for a vacation or summer binge. I am eager to keep racing through these books to see what other mysteries come up in the numerous cases that follow.

Kudos, P.J. Tracy, for another wonderful piece. I am so happy to have found this series and hope to feel more chills throughout this summer reading binge!

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: