Ice Cold Heart (Monkeewrench #10), by P.J. Tracy

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, P.J. Tracy, and Crooked Lane for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

In the latest instalment of the Monkeewrench series, P.J. Tracy shows an ability to lure readers in from the start and hold their attention throughout. During a severe cold snap in Minneapolis. Homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth find themselves seeking anything to spice up their work lives. When a woman, reported missing by her husband, turns up dead, things take an interesting turn. The body was obviously tortured, its head wrapped in tape and some investigating proves she was killed meeting someone off a BDSM site. Magozzi and Rolseth are sure they have a twisted individual on their hands, though there is little to offer a concrete list of suspects. Meanwhile, the Monkeewrench crew have been contracted to work on a cryptocurrency scam that has siphoned millions of dollars (both actual and digital) from individuals. Baffled as to how to track down this specific criminal, the group look to unique approaches and find a few leads that end up blurring lines with the MPD murder investigation. How these two cases, as well as an ICE hunt for a former Baltic war criminal, meld together is only the beginning. While the mercury dips lower outside, the case has the ability to heat things up quite effectively. There is little hope for calm while the killer lurks somewhere and waits to strike again. A well-plotted tenth novel in the series that will have those who have followed along throughout wanting more, as well as the reader who enjoys a fast-paced police procedurals set outside the typical American locale.

My attention was turned to this series last summer when I binged the entire collection. I was hooked from the outset and devoured many of the books along the way, learning much about the characters while being highly entertained. Tracy shows a strong ability to writer effectively, yet does not lose her reader with too many facts. One could make the argument that Leo Magozzi is a protagonist in this piece, but I felt strongly that there was a general equality to the characters and therefore, no one stole the limelight. Working a variety of cases in unique fashions, the Homicide team of the MPD and the Monkeewrench crew balanced the story out effectively. There was surely some character development, which will help series fans get more out of the story, but it was peppered throughout the narrative, rather than embedded in a single section. With short chapters, Tracy pulls the reader into the middle of the case and forces them to read ‘just a little more’ before agreeing to stop, albeit reluctantly. The plot was decent and varied nicely, bringing different cases together nicely in unexpected ways. I was pleased to see that things are going well for Tracy, whose mom-daughter team faced a tragic loss a few years ago. The quality is strong and I am happy to see things are still coming together. This is a series worth the attention of the reader who wants something light and easy to digest.

Kudos, Madam Tracy, for another great piece. You know how to tap into the best parts of mystery/criminal writing and I am always pleased to see when you have something new to offer your fans.

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