Wednesday, 23 May 2012

P.J. Tracy: Live Bait Reviewed

The second crime novel from the mother/daughter partnership and it echoes the pace of the first, Want To Play?. Maury, a man in his eighties, a community saint, shot by a pro in his plant nursery. Another old man shot at home, then dragged to a train track and bound in place, to die of a heart attack before a train could finish the job.

Two more bodies follow, man and woman, very old, both shot to death. Now there's a link, three of the four have the awful tattoo of Auschwitz on their wrists.

Despite the marks of the camp, there's little else to go on. Jack, the nursery owner's son, sleazy lawyer and estranged from the family, unleashes a hail of bullets at a mystery assailant. Is it the same killer, is it a drunken dream? Why would Jack be a target? There's no apparent connection with the third and fourth bodies, and certainly none with the train track victim.

Gradually, the clues emerge. Why did a much-loved plant man own a large, professional's gun? Why did he and the other shooting victims take regular trips around the USA and abroad? Especially as the given reason was fishing and Maury wouldn't kill a caterpillar in the nursery.

Detectives Magozzi and Gino Rolseth piece together fragments, all the while convinced that Jack knows more, but Jack's drinking rather than talking. Backtracking the fishing trips shows a horrendous correlation: a murder at each destination. Finally, Jack confesses an awful secret, but is it too late? The killer is moving in, ready to finish his list.

So we head to the final shootout, as well handled as that in the first of this set. Tense, bloody and tragic, but just as you relax, there's more to come ...

For those of you who've read the first in the set, Grace McBride features, albeit in a short but powerful way. That doesn't mean you can't read this before Want To Play? but I'd recommend reading in order. And I would recommend reading: well plotted, well written, quite absorbing. I've definitely warmed to PJ Tracy.

Sex, violence and bad language? No, yes, occasional - one for the vicar's Christmas stocking.


3 comments:

Lisa Auch said...

I was loooking for a new author to take up reading this summer and I think P.j. Tracy fits the bill.

Beverly Owens said...

I think I just might have to give P J Tracy a spot on my TBR (that's to be read) list.

Mumsgather said...

I've always enjoyed crime novels. Good to know more books in this genre.

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