Book Title: Live Bait
Author: P.J. Tracy
Page Count: 340
Other: Second book in the Monkeewrench series. This is a reread for me, yey.
In which: Magozzi and Gino are baffled and annoyed by the murders of several elderly holocaust survivors, and Grace plans to temporarily move to Arizona ( Yes, I am physically incapable of writing a serious summary ).
Things I liked: The plotting here was beautiful, both the technical and thematic aspects of it. For instance, I thought that it was very nice how practically every aspect of the plot turns out to be motivated by revenge in some way-- and the author(s) go out of their way to examine the varying common attitudes that people have towards revenge. On the one hand, revenge is clearly bad, since that's what lead to all of these murders in the first place ( and Jack and Lily are the only truly good people, since they're the ones that haven't been seaking revenge all these years-- even though Lily has a lot to be angry about ). But, on the other hand, Jeff and Tim ( or whatever their real names are ) very clearly think that they are doing the right and honorable thing, and their's is an attitude that shows up more ( I think? ) in our culture than the former: if somebody kills your family, the absolute only thing you can honorably do is hunt them down and kill them too ( preferrably with a few exploding cars added in for effect ).
Of course, I'm also glad that they were able to avoid their second book being some bizarre, pathetic shadow of the first. It's nice that Monkeewrench wasn't the only story they could think of to use these characters in.
Things I didn't like: It's quite good overall, but I wish that there could have been more of the Monkeewrench people in it. Even Grace, who's still in the cities at the time these murders are taking place, doesn't really have much of a role other than to get info Magozzi.
In a way, I also wish that they had made the story a little bit more personal. I don't mean that I want it to have revolved around some other dark secret from Monkeewrench's pasts, because that would be extremely annoying. But I do wish that there would have been more of a personal stake in it for the major characters ( for instance, I really like how they did this in Dead Run-- having Grace, Annie, and Sharon be thrown straight into the heart of a mystery that has nothing to do with them specifically ).
Overall: I don't read a lot of mystery, but P.J. Tracy is awesome, and I liked all of the Monkeewrench books. They're very funny while still being serious, and I really appreciate it when an author is capable of doing that.