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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Snow Blind by PJ Tracy

Snow BlindSnow Blind by P.J. Tracy

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

In book number four, we return to Minneapolis and a winter wonderland that doesn't want to quit. I've lived in Minnesota for 35 years - Mpls for 20 of those and Duluth the remainder. If you get a snowfall as described, you won't be driving all over the state. Major highways will be difficult to navigate. Minor highways probably impassable. County to stay home. City streets will not be plowed yet (snow emergency first day, then secondary streets, and the rest the third. Be prepared to spend a lot of time shoveling out your car.)

Yet, we find our good homicide detectives making repeated trips to this northern county because everything keeps pointing them to a secluded business that is more than it appears. What is a corporation on the outside, hides a refuge for 400 battered women behind its fences. A small enclave kept secret from the wider populace, designed to protect and shelter, has now been thrust into the limelight of a murder investigation.

I had some difficulty with the plausibility of book number four between the snowstorm and this secret enclave called Bitterroot. 400 people living, working, raising kids, doing day to day activities - in a county not all that far north of a major metropolitan area – simply could not be kept under wraps. That’s a fair sized community. Kids talk. Increased traffic of both commuters and supply trucks. Planes that fly over. Just didn’t quite make the bell ring true for me.

The blurb also describes this as being a Monkeewrench novel:  When the corpses of three police officers are discovered entombed in snowmen, Grace MacBride and her team of crime-busting computer jocks at the Monkeewrench firm are called in to assist. What they discover is a terrifying link among the victims that reaches beyond the badge and crosses the line between hard justice and stone cold vengeance.  I found their roll in this book to be pretty minimal; it’s not about Grace McBride and the gang, it’s about Bitterroot and what hides behind those fences.

So. Why am I still reading? Darn it if I don’t like the characters and the humor. Some of the one liners and observations are just brilliant. I also give points for the unconventional ending; which I won’t describe because that would be a major spoiler.

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