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Off the Grid: MonkeeWrench    by P. J. Tracy order for
Off the Grid
by P. J. Tracy
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Martina Bexte

At the end of Shoot to Thrill, Grace MacBride surprised everyone by leaving Minneapolis and heading to Florida with straight-laced FBI agent John Smith, who'd convinced her to go sailing with him. Months have passed and Grace is surprised at how much she's enjoying this lifestyle where 'the elements ruled and people simply went along for the ride' and where she finally finds herself 'untroubled by nightmares of terror and murder and blood flowing down the bare legs of innocent women'.

Then on a calm and starlit night while Grace lies awake contemplating this strangely normal life she's living, assassins sneak onboard and attempt to kill John. Hours later a teenage girl from an Indian reservation is found with her throat slashed and over the course of the next forty eight hours, five young men are found murdered in the same area.

Grace is already working on finding a common thread, as are her team, and Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth. As the bodies pile up and more puzzle pieces are put together that point to an even bigger conspiracy, danger mounts from all sides. Forced out of their high security compound and on the run, the action finally comes to a head when Grace, Roadrunner, Annie, Harley, Leo and Gino face down the enemy in a showdown on a remote Minnesota Indian reservation.

The gang's finally back after a rather lengthy hiatus, and while Tracy offers up another highly entertaining plot, I found that the story again focuses a bit heavily on Minneapolis detectives Magozzi and Rolseth (whose wisecracks and complaints often detract from the continuity). The ending also felt a bit rushed, considering the build-up.

Still, the Tracy writing team have managed to dream up another twisty and convoluted thriller that should please most of their Monkeewrench fans. Here's hoping that the next instalment will put a greater emphasis on Grace, her team and their over-the-top cyber skills.

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