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Live Bait (Monkeewrench Series #2)

Live Bait (Monkeewrench Series #2)

4.5 25
by P. J. Tracy

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Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are bored - ever since they solved the Monkeewrench case, the Twin Cities have been in a murder-free dry spell, as people no longer seem interested in killing one another. But with two brutal homicides taking place in one awful night, the crime drought ends - not with a trickle, but with an eventual torrent. Who


Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are bored - ever since they solved the Monkeewrench case, the Twin Cities have been in a murder-free dry spell, as people no longer seem interested in killing one another. But with two brutal homicides taking place in one awful night, the crime drought ends - not with a trickle, but with an eventual torrent. Who would kill Morey Gilbert, a man without an enemy, a man who might as well have been a saint? His tiny, cranky little wife, Lily, is no help, and may even be a suspect; his estranged son, Jack, an infamous ambulance-chasing lawyer, has his own enemies; and his son-in-law, former cop Marty Pullman, is so depressed over his wife's death a year ago that he's ready to kill himself, but not Morey. The number of victims - all elderly - grows, and the city is fearful once again." The detectives' investigation threatens to uncover a series of horrendous secrets, some buried within the heart of the police department itself, blurring the lines between heroes and villains. Grace MacBride's cold-case-solving software may find the missing link - but at a terrible price.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] fast-paced and intriguingly plotted mystery."—Boston Globe

"Polished and intriguing...complex and interesting."—Chicago Sun-Times

The Barnes & Noble Review
Having made a dazzling debut in 2003 with the crime thriller Monkeewrench, the mother-daughter writing team of P. J. Tracy follow up with another complex, compelling tale featuring an exciting blend of high-tech criminal profiling and old-fashioned dedicated police investigation.

Spring has come to Minneapolis, bringing with it an unseasonable heat wave…and a chilling end to the longest murder-free stretch the local homicide detectives have seen in years. Two old men died the same night. One was tied to train tracks and left to die. The other was shot in the head beside a greenhouse at the nursery he owned, his body left out in rain that washed the crime scene clean. Other than the fact that they lived in the same neighborhood, the victims had little in common. The first victim was an overweight watch repairman -- an apparent nobody whose elaborately engineered death seems to be the most remarkable thing about him. The second victim was not only well known; the elderly concentration camp survivor turned nursery owner seems to have been loved and admired by everyone -- except his only surviving child, a personal-injury attorney with a sleazy reputation. With such different means and styles of death, the police hesitate to connect the crimes. But both are undeniably high-profile cases that need to be closed quickly and cleanly, especially after two more elderly victims are added to the neighborhood death toll.

As detectives struggle to make sense of elusive and contradictory evidence, input from the computerized detective program that's the latest brainchild of the innovative software design company known as Monkeewrench -- and unexpected intelligence from Interpol -- expand their investigations in some remarkable directions…and the price of justice soars to unexpected heights. Sue Stone

Publishers Weekly
The mother-daughter mystery writing team known as P.J. Tracy produces another winner with this follow-up to 2003's lively Monkeewrench. After several homicide-free months in their hometown of St. Paul, wisecracking police detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth are back in action when elderly-and much beloved-gardener Morey Gilbert is found face up near his greenhouse with a bullet hole in his head. At first, the prime murder suspects are family members: Gilbert's estranged son, Jack, a slick personal injury lawyer, and Gilbert's dry-eyed widow, Lily, who discovered the corpse-and moved it before the police arrived. When three more slayings follow, Magozzi and Rolseth discern disturbing common threads: each of the victims is over 80 and-except for Arlen Fisher, shot in the arm and dragged onto the train tracks to face his doom-Jewish survivors of Nazi concentration camps. Critical clues, including a gun traced to murders around the globe, surface as straitlaced detectives Aaron Langer and Johnny McLaren join the more offbeat Magozzi and Rolseth on the case. Tracy serves up punchy prose and quirky characters, from a sartorially challenged police chief to a plump, shrewd crime tech named Grimm. Romance for bachelor Magozzi arrives in the form of Grace MacBride, a comely computer whiz whose sophisticated software program, FLEE, has helped crack countless cases. The courtship moves slowly despite undeniable sparks; MacBride is still haunted by Monkeewrench-the deadly case that first brought the two together and continues to hover like a cloud of doom. With her stash of high-tech research tools, including special face recognition software, MacBride delivers revelations about both victims and perpetrator, leading Magozzi and Rolseth toward the case's spine-chilling resolution. With generous doses of humor and suspense, this sharp, satisfying thriller will rivet readers from the start. Agent, Ellen Geiger. Author tour. (May 3) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Fresh from Monkeewrench, Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth get to work as elderly murder victims start piling up. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
More serial-killing woes for Minneapolis Homicide's Det. Leo Magozzi and his ladylove Grace MacBride's software-development cohorts (Monkeewrench, 2003). Nursery owner Morey Gilbert is 84, watch repairman Arlen Fischer 89, widowed Rose Kleber a mere 78. Who's the murderer who can't wait for them to die of natural causes? And what kind of assassin shoots an old man like Fischer in the arm, improvises a tourniquet to stop the bleeding, carts him out of the house, and ties him to the railroad tracks with barbed wire? The answers, Magozzi's convinced, lie in connections among the victims only the Monkeewrench gang's new FLEE detective program can unearth. While he's waiting for FLEE to deliver the goods, Leo ponders why Morey Gilbert's son Jack, a sleazeball lawyer, wouldn't speak to his father, by all accounts the gentlest man in the world; how the murder last year of Morey's daughter figures into the present bloodbath; and what to make of the ballistics report that ties Fischer's murder to half a dozen unsolved homicides around the country. For the rest, Tracy returns in surprising detail to the idiosyncratic formula of her striking debut-Minneapolis cops and computer nerds battling the serial killer of a mysterious group of strangers-with more gravitas and more heartfelt revelations substituting for the wit, antic byplay, and originality of the prototype. If it's anything like Tracy's first two, Minnesotans may want to duck and cover before her third hits the bookshelves. Agent: Bob Diforio/D4EO Literary Agency

Product Details

Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
Monkeewrench Series , #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.20(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt


It was just after sunrise and still raining when Lily found her husband's body. He was lying faceup on the asphalt apron in front of the greenhouse, eyes and mouth open, collecting rainwater.

Even dead, he looked quite handsome in this position, gravity pulling back the loose, wrinkled skin of his face, smoothing away eighty-four years of pain and smiles and worries.

Lily stood over him for a moment, wincing when the raindrops plopped noisily onto his eyes.

I hate eyedrops.

Morey, hold still. Stop blinking.

Stop blinking, she says, while she pours chemicals into my eyes.

Hush. It's not chemicals. Natural tears, see? It says so right on the bottle.

You expect a blind man to read?

A little grain of sand in your eye and suddenly you're blind. Big tough guy.

And they're not natural tears. What do they do? Go to funerals and hold little bottles under crying people? No, they mix chemicals together and call it natural tears. It's false advertising, is what it is. These are unnatural tears. A little bottle of lies.

Shut up, old man.

This is the thing, Lily. Nothing should pretend to be what it's not. Everything should have a big label that says what it is so there's no confusion. Like the fertilizer we used on the bedding plants that year that killed all our ladybugs, what was it called?

Plant So Green.

Right. So it should have been called Plant So Green Ladybug So Dead. Forget the tiny print on the back you can't read. Real truth in labeling, that's what we need. This is a good rule. God should follow such a rule.


What can I say? He made a big mistake there. Would it have been such a problem for Him to make things look like what they are? I mean, He's God, right? This is something He could do. Think about it. You've got a guy at the door with this great smile and nice face and you let him in and he kills your whole family. This is God's mistake. Evil should look evil. Then you don't let it in.

You, of all people, should know it's not that simple.

It's exactly that simple.

Lily took a breath, then sat on her heels-a young posture for such an old woman, but her knees were still good, still strong and flexible. She couldn't get Morey's eyes to close all the way, and with them open only a slit, he looked sinister. It was the first thing that had frightened Lily in a very long time. She wouldn't look at them as she pushed back the darkened silver hair the rain had plastered to his skull.

One of her fingers slipped into a hole on the side of his head and she froze. "Oh, no," she whispered, then rose quickly, wiping her fingers on her overalls.

"I told you so, Morey," she scolded her husband one last time. "I told you so."

—From Live Bait by P. J. Tracy, copyright © 2004 Patricia Lambrecht and Traci Lambrecht, published by G. P. Putnam's Sons, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc., all rights reserved, reprinted with permission from the publisher.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"[A] fast-paced and intriguingly plotted mystery."—Boston Globe

"Polished and intriguing...complex and interesting."—Chicago Sun-Times

Meet the Author

P. J. Tracy is the pseudonym of the mother-daughter writing team of Patricia Lambrecht and Traci Lambrecht. Winners of the Anthony, Barry, Gumshoe, and Minnesota Book awards, they both live outside Minneapolis.

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Live Bait 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
SuseNJ More than 1 year ago
Nice, good book with the colorful characters, lots of suspense at very end, not as suspenseful throughout as Monkeewrench. A little too light for me.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series!
emmi331 More than 1 year ago
An unusual plot revolves around the cold-blooded murder of a number of Jewish senior citizens in the Minneapolis area. It turns out the connecting thread is they all survived the Nazis' concentration camps in World War II. But the city police detectives, aided by the Monkeewrench team (not as evident here as in the first book of the series) soon learn that these elderly survivors had another secret connection - a deadly one.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a great way to spend a hot afternoon - reading a thriller like Live Bait. Highly recommend it. Was sorry that it ended. Can't wait to get Dead Run!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Monkeewrench was great, Live Bait is much better. Hope this writing team keeps delivering winners!
Guest More than 1 year ago
what a great read..as an avid mystery reader I can usually pick out the murderer before the end..Not this time..great read, lot's of fun trying to work it out. Too bad these ladies don't have a web site to tell them directly how great their books are.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't wait for the mother/daughter team to write another book! I am hooked after reading Live Bait. MonkeeWrench was good, but Live Bait is even better. The characters are great, they work off each other and keep the plot going. The twists and turns up to the end, I just couldn't put it down. Keep up the 'great' work.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I can't compare Live Bait With the first book Monkeewrench.Both books were excellent,different plots.I hope this writing team has a long and successful career.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not as great as 1st book, but good read. Twists AR the end
Refill More than 1 year ago
After a series intro dealing with a group of game developers that is entertaining and has a decent amount of tension, what can author P.J. Tracy (pseudonym of a mother and daughter duo) follow it up with? A so-so mystery that removes much of the techno aspects and pushes those game developer characters into the background. Instead this is a novel that focuses on other characters we met previously, mainly Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth who spend the novel trying to determine who and why someone is murdering the elderly. The mystery in and of itself is intriguing enough and develops into some interesting shades of gray and morality questions, but it is hurt by more than its fair share of repetitive dialogue. Who murdered these seniors? Why murder these seniors? Who murdered these seniors? Why murder these seniors? Who murdered these seniors? Why murder these seniors? Yes, we know, this is a murder mystery, but maybe we should follow Elvis Presley's advice and have a little less conversation and a lot more action. Eventually the novel comes around to become an entertaining read, but it takes its time and fills the gaps with pointless dialogue that is nowhere near as funny as the authors think it is (Chapter 15 could have been removed altogether.) Also being 99% sure who the killer is doesn't help. This is where Tracy earns their money as they fooled me. Right up until the reveal of the killer which comes out of nowhere. Alright, P.J. Tracy, you got me, and I enjoyed finding out I was wrong. A somewhat disappointing follow-up to "Monkeewrench", sticking with this novel proves to be worth it and actually turns out to have a more satisfying conclusion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good books, fast reading
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have now read the first 3 books in the Monkeewrench series and enjoyed them all, will continue to read the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was a terrific read. All of the characters are engaging. Some you love and some you despise but you stay engaged in the story. The authors definitely keep you wanting more.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book for a great summer read. Monkeewrench was good but this is even better. I will add this author to my favorites.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As improbable as it sounds, there have been no homicides in Minneapolis for months and the detectives that work on homicides are reduced to working on cold cases. The terrific dry spell breaks in a horrific way when eighty five year old Morey Gilbert, a victim of the concentration camp, is killed outside his home. Homicide detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth (of MONKEEWRENCH fame) are assigned the case but they have little to go on because the victim¿s wife messed up the crime scene..................................... In the same neighborhood Mr. Fischer¿s living room is a sea of blood but there is no body. It is later discovered that the corpse is tied up at the railroad trucks but Fischer has a heart attack before the train could hit him. At first the two homicide detectives believe there is no link between the two killings but learns much later that there is. In the meantime, two more eighty-something victims, a man and a woman both living in Morey¿s neighborhood, are murdered and the only thing they have in common is that they are survivors of the camps................................. P.J. Tracy is an expect at writings crime thrillers with so many unexpected twists and turns in the storyline that readers find themselves totally absorbed in the book and will want to read it one sitting. The works of this mother-daughter writing team will be enjoyed by readers who like Patricia Cornwell, Christine McGuire, and Nancy Taylor Rosenberg. The action scenes are very realistic as is the plot but the characters take LIVE BAIT out of the ordinary into the sublime......................... Harriet Klausner
Guest More than 1 year ago
Zany and likeable detectives, Gino Rolseth and Leo Magozzi are called in to investigate the deaths of three elderly people. With the prospect of yet more murders, these apparently sensless killings are causing a state of near panic in the Twin Cities, Minneapolis. A possible link as the to motive of these deaths, is discovered. Each of the three victims had at one time, been a prisoner in a Nazi concentration camp. As in the first novel, Monkeewrench, this mother-daughter partnership, writing under the pseudonym P.J. Tracy re-creates all the original pace, vitality and sharp dialogue that made the first novel such a success. So that once again, in LIVE BAIT, the narrative keeps flowing, the pages keep turning. As the layers of the plot begin to unfold, the quality of the characters begin to make an impression. Gino and Leo could well feature in a novel of their own as well as the gun-toting and computer wizard, Grace MacBride. We witness former cop Marty Pullman, whose only solace since the death of his wife months earlier, is in a bottle of Jack Daniels, begin to realise that there is a glimmer of hope and that he might be getting better. All these identities are woven deftly into the fabric of the story, especially in the case of Grace who, intriguingly, remains a lady of mystery. LIVE BAIT then is a well plotted, intelligent read. But as the climax of the story approaches it could well be that there are more fundamentlal thoughts behind this story. The question of retribution, however justified it may seem, is never the complete resolution to any situation. And that the term hero can be earned in a most unlikey way.