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Monkeewrench (Monkeewrench, #1)
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Monkeewrench (Monkeewrench #1)

4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  5,707 ratings  ·  490 reviews
People are dying for the new computer game by the software company Monkeewrench. Literally. With Serial Killer Detective out in limited release, the real-life murders of a jogger and a young woman have already mimicked the first two scenarios in the game.

But Grace McBride and her eccentric Monkeewrench partners are caught in a vise. If they tell the Minneapolis police of t...more
Paperback, 421 pages
Published April 6th 2004 by Signet (first published 2003)
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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg LarssonAnd Then There Were None by Agatha ChristieAngels & Demons by Dan BrownRebecca by Daphne du MaurierIn Cold Blood by Truman Capote
Best Crime & Mystery Books
288th out of 4,401 books — 10,076 voters
One For The Money by Janet EvanovichMurder on the Orient Express by Agatha ChristieA is for Alibi by Sue GraftonMonkeewrench by P.J. TracyA Study in Scarlet by Arthur Conan Doyle
Favorite Mystery Series
4th out of 220 books — 78 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Mary JL
Mar 07, 2009 Mary JL rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: any mystery fan
Recommended to Mary JL by: A gift from John D.
Shelves: mystery-horror
Almost did not read this one--I got it as a gift and the title sounded odd. Glad I did not make that mistake!!!

It is a novel about a group of colorful characters who own a software development company called Monkeewrench. Branching out from their education software, the team is devising a new game--"Serial Killer Detective".

It soon becomes obvious that a serial killer is mimicking all of the murders in the game--playing with real victims. The Minneapolis police are very skeptical and suspicious-...more
Jane Stewart
It’s not bad, but I had some problems with it. It’s interesting enough to pass the time if you like murder mysteries.

STORY BRIEF:
Monkeewrench is the name of a software company that creates computer games. There are five partners. Ten years ago something happened that caused all of them to change their names, move to Minnesota, live in secured homes, and carry guns. Their new game, just released, is about a serial killer with twenty crime scenes. A real life serial killer has just killed two peop...more
Katy
Dec 06, 2013 Katy rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: fans of mystery, thrillers and suspense
Book Info: Genre: Mystery/Suspense/Thriller
Reading Level: Adult
Recommended for: Fans of the genre
Trigger Warnings: Violence, serial murder

My Thoughts: Thanks to my coworker all those years ago, I was introduced to this excellent series (as well as another of my favorites, the Lucas Davenport mysteries by John Sandford, but that’s another review) and started buying the rest of them as they came out. There are currently six books available in this series, which I will review in the coming days, wi...more
Regina
This book took me by surprise. I haven’t read/listened to a mystery for awhile and I forgot how fun they can be. The setting for this book is northern rural Wisconsin and Minneapolis/ St. Paul, Minnesota. I happen to love this setting because I know it and in books set in locations that are in a way off beat (like not in New York City or London), make the story more accessible to me. But I am also a midwest gal, so I get a giddy feeling everytime I realize the book I am reading takes place in an...more
D.G.
Mar 29, 2011 D.G. rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to D.G. by: Nita
Really good mystery with an amazing cast of characters. I think I liked everybody but Grace. The book didn't get 5 stars because I figured out the murderer from the beginning. :)

The narrator was really good. At first I wasn't sure I was going to like him (he has a bit of a gravely voice) but once the book got underway, I realized he was a great choice. More than 80% of the characters in the book are male and he did an awesome job with the different voices.

I loved how this book portrayed the cops...more
Marleen
Second review (Dec. 09)
I decided to re-read this one because I really wanted to relive all the details of the Sharon Mueller & Mike Halloran connection. I think those two are simply adorable!
In any case, this remains a very good read with fantastic dialogues and truer than life characters.

First review in March 2009 -
Highly enjoyable and suspenseful read! And what clever writing!!
This book has all the ingredients I look for in a terrific read: a storyline that keeps you on the edge of your...more
Keri
The saying goes that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But when people start dying exactly like Grace dreamed them up for her company, Monkeewrench's hottest new video game, she is not flattered. As a matter of fact she is terrified, because it appears she or someone she loves could be the next target.

This was such an awesome read! If you are looking for a something without a lot of over the top violence then this book may be for you. There were murders, but they were handled with fi...more
Eric_W
The first in a series about Grace, two Mpls cops, her software gang, and assorted other characters, like Sheriff Michael Halloran, or “Mickey” as Father Newberry calls him, and Deputy Bonar Carlson whose belt hung so low it would never see his belly button and who “ would have to kneel to reach his gun.”

It begins quite humorously, with Father Newberry trying to keep down the last creation of the well-meaning Sister Ignatius attempting to serve him with a “proper meal” which in that part of Wisco...more
Dorie
P.J. and Traci Lambrecht are the mother/daughter writing team behind this fantastic debut novel.
A group of five friends with a mysterious past have banded together to create the company ‘Monkeewrench’, a successful software company in Minneapolis. Instead of their usual educational software, they’ve developed ‘Serial Killer Detective’, a game about a series of 20 unique murders. The horrors of their past come back to haunt the five technogeeks when a killer strikes out to recreate the murders i...more
Kristen
This is a great new mystery/thriller series. We're right in the heart of the matter when both sets of crimes takes place in two states: Minnesota and Wisconsin. We're introduced to Grace and the Monkeewrench crew--all have secrets to hide and covering their tracks--when they develop a new computer game that's causing tons of publicity--the bad kind. We really feel the pain, when someone's imitating life after their computer graphic art. We follow their footsteps, heading right into danger, when...more
Scott
Aug 05, 2008 Scott rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: the light murder mystery set
Hey, I'm in the middle of it, so how the heck should I know, but so far, it's a page turner. I bought it at a salvation army store closing sale because it was like 50 cents. It's a murder mystery.

Addendum:
Alright. I finished it. It continued to be a page turner, til the end, even though I had pretty well guessed (but you don't know) who the murderer was. It may have actually dropped a half a star to 3.5 in rating in the last 20 pages because, with half a dozen people already dead, one of the ch...more
Wanda Hartzenberg
This is an amazing book where I admired the technical competency of the author as much as I loved the plot.
I used to think that I would not enjoy a book once I learn how to read it critically, this book proved me wrong. If the plot is strong enough as with this story, and the characters are so vibrant and alive as they are in this book, if the plot is as engaging the theme so subtle and the world building so extraordinary then I apparently I do enjoy a book even if I read it critically.
Grace Mac...more
Books
Forget whatever book you’re planning on reading next. Want to Play by P.J. Tracy is what you should be reading next. If it was a movie, it would’ve been a blockbuster for sure. At the risk of sounding like my mother, I’m just going to straight out declare that this is what I miss about books from them “good ol’ days”. Remember those books we read in the eighties and nineties where authors, publishers, and their editorial teams actually still took the time to create exceptional characters and int...more
Chris Jackson
I am not a huge reader of stock and trade murder mysteries, so I don't know a lot of the conventions that are typical of this genre. I enjoyed the story, liked most of the characters, though I got a little tired of the stereotype "lonely good cop with fat loveable partner" of which there are two in this story. Also, there is no single star protagonist, which bothers me. I want a focus, and this just won't let me decide who I'm rooting for.

Next bit I had trouble with was the way the authors put i...more
Gail
This is apparently the opening book in the Tracy "Monkeewrench" series, but it doesn't read like one. It reads like a standalone. It opens with a murder in rural Wisconsin, two members of the Catholic church, shot at church while praying. Then it shifts to Minneapolis. (Or St. Paul--don't exactly remember which--I'm not up on those far Northern cities.) There, we meet Grace, who carries a gun in the pocket of her robe even when sitting in the back yard. And we meet the police detective who gets...more
Ashlee
Two words.... LOVED IT!

I listen to this on Audio book in my car (I have an hour travel to work sometimes) and I couldn't get enough of it. Even when my borrowed copy had a scratch on the last disc, I even reserved another copy, just so I could finish it and find out who the murderer was.
The characters are funny and very very... real. They don't alwats react to events like you would expect, because people don't always react that way in real life. You can tell Grace is afraid of something from he...more
Jess
I don't remember who recommended this one to me, but whoever it was thanks! This book was a suspenseful thriller, that had the reader following a crazy killer who decided to copy the murders featured in a new video game. The creators of the video game (the company is called Monkeewrench) warn police that they know which murder is coming next, but can the police stop the copycat before it's too late?

The best part of this book for me was the members of the Monkeewrench team. They are a really quir...more
Karen
Feb 02, 2012 Karen rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Vickie, Marty, Sally
What a delightful surprise! This police procedural mystery is realistically set in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Anyone with any familiarity with that part of the country will immediately recognize the speech patterns and some stereotypical characters. Yet the plot is anything but stereotypical. Someone is murdering people, following the plot of a new video game that is in the pre-release stage. The creators of the game are an especially unusual group of geeks, who have past secrets of their own. Yet...more
LJ
MONKEEWRENCH – EX
P.J. Tracy – 1st book
An unpopular, troublemaking old couple are brutally murdered in a small Wisconsin town church. While Wisconsin Sheriff Michael Halloran and Deputy Bonar Carlson are working to solve their case, in the Minnesotan Twin cities, Detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth, are dealing with a serial killer is copying a computer game where 20 murders happen. The games’ designers, a social outcast group whose company is called Monkeewrench, have their own issues and pa...more
Barbara ★
Wow I didn't even realize this was the first book in the series. I really liked it and will definitely be continuing the series. Grace MacBride was a great character even with all her foibles but now that (view spoiler) it should be interesting to see where the series heads.

I really liked the concept of the five orphan's getting together from the get-go and sticking through thick and thin together even to the point of starting over. Now that's w...more
Stephanie
Another great mystery recommendation from our book group! This is a hard thriller/mystery to put down, so I suggest reading it on a weekend unless you are prepared to stay up really late with your reading light. The plot is fast-paced, chock-full of interesting characters you question throughout the book, and has a great plot. Without saying too much, the story revolves around the computer game producing company Monkeewrench and their latest release: a game about a serial killer in which you mus...more
Kirstie
Mar 12, 2009 Kirstie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: crime/suspense fans
Recommended to Kirstie by: Kwing
Shelves: favorites
So my husband picked this book up for me at the library because he knew I was coming to the end of the series of John Sanford books I was reading and thought this might be of interest to me.

I have to say the overall it was a pretty good book, sadly the ending was a bit more convoluted than it needed to be and I totally figured out who the killer was halfway through, though I had a harder time with the motive this person had.

Overall it was a decent story that was executed well. It kept me intere...more
Carolyn E
Actually, I would give this book 7 or 8 stars. This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. I hated to see it end, and the ending was a complete surprise.

Monkeywrench (Incidentally, the title should be spelled "Monkeewrench"), by P. J. Tracy, is the first in a series of 6 books now. It is a wonderful "must read" story. I am eager to read the rest of the series.
Sandi
Other than a great first chapter, I had a hard time getting through the first 200 pages of this book. The mysteries (two of them) really seemed to be going nowhere and didn't seem connected at all. I didn't care about any of the characters. About 200 pages in, when everything starts to get connected, it becomes much more interesting. However, I never grew to care about the characters and a lot of the plot seemed too far-fetched and contrived. I liked how it ended, I just wish the journey had bee...more
Krystal
I have to say I was suprised at how much I enjoyed this book. I bought with the idea that it would be one of my filler books, you know, a book to fill the time until I get one I really want. As it ended up, this book was one that was started and finished within a 24 hour period. I stayed up all night to finish it, and was amazed that a writing team (mother and daughter) could write such a cohesive, well thought out story. Normally these thriller fillers don't even rate a mention, but this one de...more
LAWonder10
The story line was very difficult to follow. It jumped from scene and situation too sporadically. The profanity was very distracting. I doubt it would have been one third as long if the profanity was taken out. The language doesn't add to but rather distracts from the plot.
I won this in a giveaway and although I appreciate authors offering their books to these giveaways, I would never add this one to my library.
Cathleen
Not nearly as funny or as clever as I'd been told, and much more crude than I expected from a mother/daughter writing team (my preconception, I know, but still). The beginning chapters were mired in too much, and I almost gave it up. The action did improve, but ultimately this just wasn't really my taste, and the dual romance subplots were too similar. Other authors do this better.
Wanda Hartzenberg
This is an amazing book where I admired the technical competency of the author as much as I loved the plot.
I used to think that I would not enjoy a book once I learn how to read it critically, this book proved me wrong. If the plot is strong enough as with this story, and the characters are so vibrant and alive as they are in this book, if the plot is as engaging the theme so subtle and the world building so extraordinary then I apparently I do enjoy a book even if I read it critically.
Grace Mac...more
Cathy
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan
Short review: I loved this book. I loved the characters, the humor, the writing style. I have been reading this series totally out of order, this is the 4th I have read.

I'm very happy to have stumbled across this author and this series.
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PJ Tracy is the pseudonym of mother-daughter writing duo P.J. and Traci Lambrecht, winners of the Anthony, Barry, Gumshoe, and Minnesota Book Awards. Their first three novels, MONKEEWRENCH, LIVE BAIT and DEAD RUN, have become national and international bestsellers.

P.J. Lambrecht is a college dropout with one of the largest collections of sweatpants in the world. She was raised in an upper-middle...more
More about P.J. Tracy...
Live Bait (Monkeewrench #2) Dead Run (Monkeewrench #3) Snow Blind (Monkeewrench, #4) Shoot to Thrill (Monkeewrench, #5) Off the Grid (Monkeewrench, #6)

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