Friday, November 21, 2008
MONKEEWRENCH by P. J. Tracy
In rural Wisconsin, an elderly couple is found murdered, their bodies propped up in praying positions in a church. In Minneapolis, the partners of a computer game development firm are horrified when a serial killer starts bumping off locals in the style of the murderer in their newest game, Serial Killer Detective.
This is basically an enjoyable thriller in the read-it-and-forget-it school. It's got some of the requisite People With Dark Secrets, Tormented Main Characters, and Brutal Evil Killer. It's cliched, to be sure, but it moves at a brisk pace and it plays enough with some of the genre elements to keep from being too tiresome.
It benefits from some pretty gruesome scenes and a perverse twist when it's found out that the most likely suspect is a hermaphrodite. The novel starts off very grotesque and horrific, but toward the second half becomes more of a police procedural. There are a few weaknesses, though. The identity of the killer is telegraphed a bit far in advance, and quite a few characters lack dimension. But there's quite a bit of humor to leaven the gruesomeness.
Still, if you're looking for a fun read, you could do worse. As I said, it's in the read-it-and-forget-it school.