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Live Bait    by P. J. Tracy order for
Live Bait
by P. J. Tracy
Order:  USA  Can
Putnam, 2004 (2004)
Hardcover, Audio
* *   Reviewed by Melissa Parcel

The mother-daughter writing team who brought us Monkeewrench has written another winner with their sophomore effort, Live Bait. While it's not necessary to have read the first book to follow the storyline, there are a few spoilers and many of the same characters appear.

Homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are bored. There hasn't been a murder in their precinct for weeks, and they've been relegated to using a new computer program to help clear up cold cases. But suddenly all hell breaks loose. An elderly nursery owner, Morey Gilbert, is found shot in the head. At almost the same time, another elderly man is found dead, tied to the train tracks with barbed wire. After investigation, the two cases are determined to be unrelated. But as more elderly Jewish people from the same neighborhood are killed, Magozzi and Rolseth know they need to find the culprit before the city begins to panic. With the help of Grace MacBride and her computer smarts, they just might figure out the connection between the victims that will lead them to the killer.

Although not as tightly executed or fast-paced as the first, this is an intriguing mystery. The developing relationship between Leo and Grace adds romance to the story, a great tension reliever during suspenseful scenes. The slow revelation of clues tie people and situations together in fascinating ways. This is a smart mystery, which does not rely on coincidence or suspension of belief to wrap everything up. Though I'd have loved to see more about the Monkeewrench gang and all their computer wizardry, the likeable characters do endear themselves and drive this story. Mystery lovers will enjoy Live Bait and eagerly anticipate what comes next from these talented authors.

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