"Ice Cold Heart" By PJ Tracy

by Cynthia Chow

Links to purchase this book at the end of the post.

When a psychic walks into the Minneapolis Police Station, only new ACLU-friendly regulations prevent them from immediately kicking her out. Instead, Detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are forced to listen to Blanca Szabo’s rather vague prediction of a confined woman who will soon be killed. Even a doubting Magozzi can’t feel a bit unsettled, when they are called to a gruesome murder scene where they find Kelly Rampage tortured and suffocated to death in a BDSM scenario. The question of whether or not Blanca had inside information or was involved becomes muddled when she is the victim of what is at first seems to be an accident, but is quickly revealed to be another murder. Magozzi and Rolseth trace Kelly Rampage’s last movements to a creepy art gallery installation, where the mysterious art Rado displays his videos of women being bound and tortured. While the art gallery owner proclaims that these are artistic expressions of a genius, a protestor insists that they are what led to her sister’s death.

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As Magozzi is frustrated and confused by the celebration of violence and BDSM, Grace MacBride and her Monkeewrench Software security team dive into the four-hundred million-dollar cryptocurrency theft suffered by their client Bit Monster. Monkeewrench is a team whose bonds have been cemented by tragedy and violence, leaving them hesitant to lower their guard or let outsiders get close. Cycling fanatic Roadrunner has taken this isolation to the extreme, focusing on extreme bike training when not toiling at Monkeewrench’s projects. That changes when he rescues new neighbor Petra Juric, a woman deeply depressed and on the trail of a savage war criminal. That their paths all somehow overlap and intertwine is a feat few authors would dare or could accomplish, and yet it all comes together in a thrilling and satisfying confrontation.

I fell in love with this series when it first debuted as an outstanding thriller so uniquely co-written by a mother-daughter team. It is a fitting tribute that after the passing of P.J. Lambrecht in 2016, her daughter Traci continues the series with the same clever-plotting and deft wit. The Monkeewrench team are quirky geniuses who overcame their tragic pasts, constantly revealing themselves to be even stronger survivors and never victims. The brittle, always-armed Grace has surprisingly grown into a loving new mother, one who still carries multiple weapons but is open to loving both Magozzi and their child. Roadrunner has been a character the least explored in previous novels, and it is so delightful to learn more about his past and see his venture into new territory. Cybercrime, international war crime, and the always entertaining Monkeewrench team keep this tenth of the series as compelling and fresh as the first. New readers are quickly brought up to speed and immersed in their high-tech, cyber investigation, while longtime fans will enjoy seeing their favorite cast of characters practice their skills in the field where they excel.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast featuring mystery short stories and first chapters read by actors. The most recent episode is a Christmas mystery short story by Donna Andrews!

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Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.