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  • Caitlyn Lynch

Book Review: The Guilty Dead by P.J. Tracy

The drug-addict son of a wealthy businessman dies of an apparent overdose, and on the anniversary of his death, his grief-stricken father commits suicide. At first glance, it’s an open and shut case. Until the detectives on the scene realise the gun is by the right hand of the left-handed victim, and wiped clean of all prints.

Something is obviously off, and as Detectives Gino and Magozzi investigate, every thread pulled leads them further down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories, domestic terrorism and years-old crimes. Somebody is trying to right a wrong, and they don’t care who else gets caught in the crossfire.

This is the ninth book in the Monkeewrench series, and the first one I’ve written, but it was pretty easy to figure out that the Monkeewrench crew are basically top-level hackers with strong ties to law enforcement - Detective Magozzi and Grace are lovers and expecting a child together. The two sides of the cae - the law enforcement side and the Monkeewrench crew’s hacking - tied together seamlessly, though I was a bit thrown to reach the end of the book and realise the whole thing took place in a period of just a couple of days. Knowing the sometimes-glacial speed at which law enforcement works, this seemed a bit unrealistic, as did the coincidental nature of Monkeewrench’s new software going on line precisely at the right time to tie the two cases together.

The biggest problem I had, though, was all the characters. Someone who has been following the series from the beginning would probably have no problem keeping everyone straight, but there were times when I was utterly confused and couldn’t remember who was who or why they’d done what. If you’re already a devotee of this series, you’ll probably love it, especially a big emotional payoff moment for Magozzi and Grace near the end, but I wasn’t all that fussed on it. Three stars.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book for review through NetGalley.

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