Review: Two Evils (P.J. Tracy) Amazon| Goodreads
Summary (from Goodreads.com)
When a missing teenage girl is found dead in a parking lot, her throat slashed, it’s only the beginning. The discovery leads police directly to the bodies of two young immigrants killed in their run down apartment. The next morning three more men are found dead in the street nearby.
Welcome to summer in the city.
None of it makes any sense. But as Minneapolis Police Department homicide detectives Gino and Magozzi struggle to establish what’s happened, they realise that the deaths may not be as random as they first appear. Nor, it seems, were they simply an isolated, freak twenty-four hours of violence in the Twin Cities.
As the killings continue, Gino and Magozzi turn to maverick computer analyst Grace McBride for help. But Grace’s contribution to the investigation depends on her staying alive long enough to provide it.
And as the evidence mounts, piece by piece, it reveals terrifying intent. Ultimately, it forces the two detectives to make a dreadful choice: down which path does the lesser of two evils lie…
Title: Two Evils (AKA Off the Grid in the US)
Author: P. J. Tracy
Length: 320 pages
Source: ARC from RealReaders
Series? Yes – Monkeewrench #6
Two Evils, book #6 in the Monkeewrench series, follows detectives Gino and Magozzi as they struggle to cope with seemingly random killings and disappearances. Without giving away too many spoilers, Magozzi and Gino find that the crimes are all connected in some way, with many deaths caused by what emerges to be, effectively, a vigilante looking for justice.
This is the first of the Monkeewrench series I’ve read, and I was a little nervous – very, very rarely do I read a book out of order, and being so late in the series I worried there would be a lot to catch up on. Thankfully though, this reminded me a lot of the J.D.Robb books – relationships overarching the entire series, but individual cases isolated to single books. That meant that although I was jumping in a little late in terms of how the characters felt about eachother, I didn’t seem to be missing anything crucial (or if I was, I didn’t realise I was missing it!).
From the back of the book, I’d assumed Grace was specific to this case, but it turns out she appears in all of the books, which I quite liked. This means you get two complementary storylines – Grace’s, and Gino & Magozzi’s. The two points of view were something I really liked about this book. Grace was a complex but strong female character, which is always nice. At the same time, I loved getting a male point of view – maybe it’s just because my crime reading has mostly been J.D.Robb, Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell, but I found following the male detectives a novel and refreshing experience! I find a lot of what I read tends to have a female protaganist, and finding a male lead that I can follow and relate to (or in this case two), is great. There was a little less banter between Gino and Magozzi than I might have liked, but I loved what there was. In particular, Gino’s fear of heights and Magozzi’s teasing had me laughing out loud…which gets you funny looks when you’re reading a book with a cover like this!
The plot was great and had me hooked all the way through. This arrived on Tuesday, and I’d finished it by Thursday evening, because I just couldn’t put it down. I was gripped from pretty much the start, and got more and more hooked as the links between crimes were slowly revealed. The description and mood building was dark and gritty enough to keep me hooked, but wasn’t gory, which I loved. I’m not good with excessive blood and guts, and this managed to get a scene across without making me nauseous, which is always a good thing. The writing style in general was fabulous; evocative, visual and sometimes just laugh out loud funny. The mother-daughter team write together fantastically well, and I would never have guessed it was a collaboration from the writing – the whole book just flows brilliantly.
The book certainly wasn’t perfect, and there were a few things that bothered me. The first, very tiny, nitpicking issue was that I noticed Grace’s surname spelt as MacBride a few times, but it’s hardly a huge problem, and didn’t put me off the story. I felt the development of the supporting characters was a little bare, and the ‘twist’ late on in the story felt a little too spelled out for me, making the revealing scene feel a bit like hand-holding, rather than a dramatic revelation.
Although it wasn’t perfect, the book was very enjoyable; better than the average crime novel in my opinion. If you haven’t read the other books in the series, I definitely wouldn’t have said that’s a problem – this will read perfectly well on it’s own, though a few of the relationship histories will be a little vague. I’ll personally be going back and reading the rest of the series as well, because this hints to a series just too good to pass up.
Buy it? For me, this is worth paying for.
In a nutshell: An enjoyable crime novel with fantastic writing.