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May 26, 2010

Review: Shoot to Thrill

2010 Finishes: Books

Shoot to Thrill by P.J. Tracy
Genre: Mystery
Pages: 308
Rating: 7.4

First: P.J. Tracy is the pseudonym of a mother/daughter writing team, so if I refer to the author as "they," that's why. This is the fifth book in their Monkeewrench series, and it pains me to admit that it was a disappointment. Like many people, one of the main reasons why I read mystery series is because I enjoy the character development that usually occurs over the course of the series. This book was particularly disappointing in that respect. There was very little character development for most of the book, and then there was an epilogue in which a main character did something slightly shocking - something that would hurt another main character - and I didn't think it had been set up sufficiently, and I didn't have a good grasp on her motivations at that point. It made me a little nervous about where the next book would start. One other character note: series always have to deal with the issue of how much from previous books to recap in new volumes. I didn't think this one did enough - I've read the entire series and I couldn't remember what they were talking about a fair amount of the time, so anyone who was starting out with this book would have been completely lost.

The mystery itself was . . . okay. Actually, it was completely fine until the end, The solution was constructed in such a way as to offer a certain lack of payoff to the reader, but other than that, it was well-plotted and reasonably suspenseful. I don't think the main characters actually ended up in danger at any point, which was a nice change from how many mysteries go. I figured out some of the solution in advance, but not all of it.

What really stands out about this series is the technology. Half of the recurring characters are cops, but the other half are a group of programmers and hackers who are basically supposed to be the best in the world. Now, the books don't get everything right. But so many novels get even very basic computer stuff wrong that it's really nice to be able to read this series, with so much focus on tech stuff, and not be completely jolted out of the story by ridiculously unrealistic computer activity. Actual programmers might well feel differently, but for me, the Monkeewrench books keep the technology realistic enough for me to suspend my disbelief and enjoy the ride.

Posted by Kat at May 26, 2010 01:00 PM
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