Live Bait- PJ Tracy ***

Springtime in Minneapolis and with the thaw comes murder: an elderly man executed with a gunshot to the head and another literally frightened to death. But when Detective Magozzi calls on the analytical skills of Grace McBride, it appears not only that the killings might be connected but also that the victims might be something other than they seemed at first. As more deaths follow, Magozzi and Grace must quickly discover what secrets these men shared-- and with whom -- if they are to bait their trap and catch their killer...
*sigh* I'm sick of ranting about blurbs that suck. This one isn't too bad, it's the end that goes all pear shaped, pretending things that aren't there in the story. One could theorise though, that the only people that read the blurb after they've read the book are weirdos like me and every other happy reader wouldn't both because they've already read the book!
That aside now, this is the second book after a very good book written by Mother-Daughter team PJ Tracy (which I always forget until I finish the book). I really enjoyed Want to Play (debut), and it's funny, after picking up this book and beginning it I found myself in a classic case of "That-was-good-what-was-it-about-again-confusion". For those uninitiated, this is where I buy/choose a book without reading the blurb because it's by an author I recognise well enough from a previous read that I know I'll enjoy it. Tess Gerritsen is another of these authors, as is James Patterson and Harlen Coben to name a few. The only Reading Danger with these authors is that I have to check I haven't -
A) read it already
B) if I have more than one on the shelf to choose from that I don't read them out of order as I have found a few niche authors that write with the same characters (they can be read as stand alones but they're quite good when read in sequence too-I've done both).
This book I read and before I started it I had thought I was about to jump back into the lives of "Mr J and Ms X" when in fact it was "Character Y and So&so Q, storyline Z". Not a disaster, just have to readjust.
I discovered as I read that I was actually reading book 2 of the small number Tracy has written, having read 1 (Want to Play) and I think #4 which was also excellent.
Reflecting on this one however I'm struck by the thought that if I had read these in order and this was the second I would have been disappointed by the follow up to the first. As it stands, I've read one further down the line and know it will be ok. As a review on Want To Play so plaintatively states "Writers usually improve immensely on their next novels and so I'm very excited to see what more she has in store for us."
I can't say I think that's what happened here.
Don't get me wrong, it was good, I enjoyed it, but the first and subsequents are better. The two pivotal characters, one a Detective, and the other a neurotic computer whiz are meant to be growing closer romantically, the first book from memory focuses so closely on the MonkeeWrench team but this book is all Magozzi. Like they were experimenting with making Grace the side character, when in fact the subsequent books put Magozzi back on the sideline.
Hmm, it's interesting, but like I said, it's good, and worth a look. But read Want to Play first.
3 / 5

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