Saturday, August 4, 2012

ARC Review: Off the Grid by P. J. Tracy

Off the Grid
Author: P. J. Tracy
Publication: Putnam Adult (August 2, 2012)

Description: On a sailboat ten miles off the Florida coast, Grace MacBride, partner in Monkeewrench Software, thwarts an assassination attempt on retired FBI agent John Smith. A few hours later, in Minneapolis, a fifteen-year-old girl is discovered in a vacant lot, her throat slashed. Later that day, two young men are found in their home a few blocks away, killed execution-style. The next morning, the dead bodies of three more men turn up, savagely murdered in the same neighborhood. 

As Minneapolis homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth struggle to link the three crimes, they learn that there have been similar murders in other cities around the United States. Piece by piece, evidence accumulates, pointing to a suspect that shocks them to the core, uncovering a motive that puts the entire Midwest on high alert and Monkeewrench in the direct line of fire. Before it's all over, Grace and her partners, Annie, Roadrunner, and Harley Davidson, find themselves in the middle of a shocking collision of violence on a remote northern Minnesota reservation, fighting for their lives. 

My Thoughts: Lightning fast pacing and heart-pounding thrills made OFF THE GRID a real page-turner for me. Though not yet familiar with the Monkeewrench series, I was quickly sucked in by the well-developed characters. I really liked the touches of humor that the authors inserted which just seemed to emphasize the tension.

The story starts on a boat in the Caribbean. Two men come aboard and attempt to kill retired Special Agent John Smith. Only the quick action of Grace MacBride saves the day when she shoots and kills both assailants. They determine that Smith is being targeted because he is trying to locate terrorists before they can act on US soil. 

Meanwhile in Minneapolis, a fifteen-year-old Native girl has her throat cut when she gets away from the Somali kidnappers who snatched her and four younger girls on their way home from school on the Reservation. This brings up the whole issue of conflict between Native Americans and Somali refugees in Minnesota.

Next comes terminally-ill-with-cancer Veteran Joe Hardy who kills two young men in the house holding the other four girls and who dies in a shootout with two other men who happen to have a room full of weapons and explosives. At first the police think Hardy was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Minneapolis Detectives Magozzi and Rolseth are called in and begin trying to find the links between these crimes. Magozzi apparently has a relationship with Grace MacBride who is one of the owners of Monkeewrench software. Monkeewrench made their money in games but are also making software that can be used to track down terrorists. 

These seemingly unrelated crimes lead the detectives and the FBI to a much larger, national plan for a flash mob of terror. As they rush to stop this terrorist attack, they find that they aren't the only ones trying to shut it down. In many cases they find that the terrorists have already been killed when they get to the houses. 

This was an excellent story. I recommend it to anyone who wants a fantastic, heart-pounding thriller for their summer reading. This might have been a richer reading experience if I had read the earlier books in the series but was completely satisfying as a stand alone novel. And I can't wait to read the rest and find out the stories that were just hinted at in this one. 

Favorite Quote (Not necessarily final):
"You serve booze at your garage sales?"

"It's a critical element. Sober people don't buy your old, worthless crap. Buzzed people, on the other hand, will pick up that holey, sweat-stained GETTING LUCKY IN KENTUCKY T-shirt, think it's kitchy and charming, and pay five bucks for it."

I received this ARC from a publicist at Putnam in exchange for an honest review. You can buy your copy here.

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