Dead Run, by P J Tracy

A truck accident in a remote Wisconsin town leads to a series of sinister events into which wander members of the Monkeewrench company - a group of freelance software engineers who have made so much money out of a program they wrote that they now devote their energies to helping the FBI solve serial murders.

I think this book is part of a series which started with Want to Play?. Aha - in fact, checking Wikipedia says that Want to Play is called "Monkeewrench" in the states. It's five years since I read that book but I think I picked up the connection so it must have made an impression.

I was expecting this would be a serial killer story, but it wasn't. And that made it interesting. Some of it reminded me of Stephen King - partly the way that peripheral characters were done: old-timers with anecdotes about a little girl watching her house burning down, "peekin' through a porthole into hell", but also the way that various odd things happened to set the plot going, which reminded me a bit of Tommyknockers.

Because you weren't sure exactly what was happening, the tense bits worked quite well - with the female members of Monkeewrench caught up in something unpleasant while the rest of their team tried to get in touch with them and hack various computer systems in attempts to find out where they were.

It was a bit let down by the "explanation" though, which I don't think really made sense - there were some holes and inconsistencies in the wrap-up. Or at least, having finished it and looking back, I am left feeling "hang on, but that doesn't explain...", but perhaps that's partly because I was reading it quite quickly in an attempt to find out what would happen.

All in all an entertaining read, and recommended, but I'm not sure it stands up to detailed scrutiny.

Completed : 10-Sep-2009

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