Book: Live Bait by P.J. Tracy

Very good detective novel

Live Bait
P.J. Tracy (a pseudonym for the mother-daughter writing team of P.J. and Traci Lambrecht)
G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2004
ISBN: 0-399-15147-8
340 pages

I compared Ms Tracy's first book Monkeewrench to John Sandford's novels (1, 2) and said that it was as good as his, but had more funny moments. The same is true of her second book, Live Bait. In it, several kindly or at least harmless old people are murdered in my neighborhood. (A slightly fictionalized version of my neighborhood, but my neighborhood.) The murders would have to be related, wouldn't they? And the wife of one victim seems oddly unemotional about her husband's death. Well, it seems.... No, that would be telling. You'll just have to take my word for it that the plot is interesting and engaging.

The characters from the software company in Monkeewrench reappear and so do Detectives Magozzi and Rolseth. We also get a drunken estranged son and a broken-down former cop. The characters are entertaining and memorable and the twists that the investigation takes are altogether satisfying. Ms Tracy's second book proves that her very good first one was no fluke.

There are a few minor nits to pick: There's a piece of software that figures in the plot that's more capable than any software that's practical to write. The redundancy "software program" bothers me slightly. I'm pretty sure that Ms Tracy means "shit list" rather than "short list" (p. 137). I'm also pretty sure that the Los Angeles-based half of the writing team wrote "surface streets" (p. 155) since in Minnesota we generally say "local roads" because few of the freeways here are elevated. And the possibility of a margin call isn't something a stockbroker's client should be surprised by (p. 289).

Posted: Sat - December 4, 2004 at 07:19   Main   Category: