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Spotlight on: Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy

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Monkeewrench by P.J. Tracy P.J. Tracy, Monkeewrench

It's a rare thing indeed when a new author truly excited me. P.J. Tracy's debut thriller Monkeewrench is cause for celebration: finally the new generation has brought solid storytelling into the modern age. But where most so-called "technothrillers" rely on obscure terminology and silly leaps of faith to retain the reader's interest, Monkeewrench merely uses its computer knowledge as a starting point for a serial murder mystery firmly grounded in the dark reality of the police procedural.

The folks at software company Monkeewrench are on the verge of releasing their new game Serial Killer Detective when two murders are committed that are identical to the first two in the game. When this is brought to the attention of the local police force, the programmers become prime suspects even though over 500 people had downloaded beta versions of Serial Killer Detective that included the first seven kills.

More suspicious is the fact that the programmers seem to have not existed before 1994. the connection between these new murders and this mysterious past adds further depth to the investigations. Especially when two seeming unrelated murders happen in another region.

Monkeewrench is that rarity: a serial killer thriller with a sensitive side. This is likely due to the pseudonymous mother-daughter pairing of authors P.J. and Traci Langbrecht. Not only do they deliver a fast-paced, nicely complicated plotline with plenty of death to keep mystery fans salivating, but they also concentrate on the feelings of the characters and how these murders affect their fragile lives. This extra layer turns Monkeewrench from a run-of-the-mill thriller into a book that makes P.J. Tracy, pseudonym or not, an author (or authors) to watch.

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