Wednesday, September 4, 2019

ARC Review: Ice Cold Heart by P. J. Tracy

Ice Cold Heart
Author: P. J. Tracy
Series: A Monkeewrench Novel
Publication: Crooked Lane Books (September 10, 2019)

Description: Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth join Grace MacBride and Monkeewrench to uncover a dark and ugly conspiracy that reaches deep into the safety of homes in this latest electrifying thriller from New York Times bestselling author P. J. Tracy.

It's a bitter winter in Minnesota--too cold to kill. There hasn't been a murder for a month, but the lull quickly comes to an end for Detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth, when they're called to the gruesome homicide of Kelly Ramage. Found in a friend's vacant house, this was no random attack, and clues reveal that she was living a very dangerous secret life.

Magozzi and Gino trace her steps back to an art gallery where she was last seen alive. The gallery seems like a dead end, but the art is disturbing and exploitative. It may very well be inspiring a sadistic killer, because in this instance, art doesn't imitate life, it imitates death.

Tipped off about a year-old murder that is a mirror-image of Kelly's crime scene, Gino and Magozzi enlist the aid of Grace MacBride and her eccentric, tech genius partners in Monkeewrench Software to help them decipher the digital trail that might connect the cases.

As coincidences emerge, Magozzi, Gino, and the team have to work around the clock at breakneck pace to unravel a series of clues that form the framework of a larger, more sweeping, and insidious conspiracy than any of them could have imagined. Is Kelly the last person to die or just the most recent? And is there any way to stop it?

My Thoughts: Magozzi and Gino have have a quiet January with bitterly cold temperatures and no murders. They are so bored that they listen when a psychic comes to them telling them that there will be a murder and gives some cryptic clues. Then their quiet time comes to an end when they are called to the gruesome homicide of Kelly Ramage who is found handcuffed, spreadeagled, and dead in a friend's house. She had her head wrapped in duct tape which caused her death by suffocation.

The situation has some resemblance to the scene the psychic described but neither Magozzi or Rolseth are willing to put in stock in her visions. As they begin to trace Kelly's last hours they are led to an art gallery displaying the works of Rado whose "art" shows graphic depictions of torture and death of young women and sculptures that look like computer punch cards. They are also led to a seedy club where those who want to explore deviant sexual behaviors meet to form connections.

Meanwhile, the Monkeewrench team is trying to patch some holes in the security of a cryptocurrency company which has had some of its accounts raided for millions of dollars. It just so happens to be the same company that Rado uses because he won't accept anything but cryptocurrency for his works of art.

Also, another plot thread has Petra Juric trying to track down war criminals from the war in Yugoslavia. She intersects with the plot when Roadrunner, who is a neighbor, saves her life as she is dying of hypothermia. She is also the psychic who visited Magozzi and Rolseth's only contact which is needed when the police find her murdered with duct tape over her mouth, nose, and eyes.

The style of this book has each chapter at the beginning of the book telling a different part of the story from different points of view. Then the stories begin to come together and build to a cohesive and interrelated case.

The story was suspenseful and action-packed. It is a great addition to a long-running series but I think it would work as a standalone or entry point for new readers.

Favorite Quote:
"I mean, where's the fuming tirade over winter in Minnesota? At this point in January, you are usually gnashing your teeth and tipping over desks. You speak for millions of Minnesotans and we count on you to give voice to our grievances."
I received this one in exchange for an honest review from NetGalley. You can buy your copy here.

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