978-0-7862-6513-8 / 9780786265138

Live Bait


Publisher:Thorndike Press



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About the book:

After a well-received debut novel the follow-up is always a mighty mountain to climb. Those who enjoyed the first book want the upward trajectory to be maintained, but we all fear a loss of momentum. PJ Tracy's Live Bait proves one thing conclusively: that the phenomenal Want to Play? was no fluke, and that in Tracy we have an American suspense writer with all the credentials to sit firmly in the upper echelons of top crime novelists.

That first book had critics rooting through their lexicons to come up with new ways of saying just how edge-of-the-seat it was, and if the new novel doesn't deliver quite the same levels of tension, that may be because Tracy has other fish to fry here than simply raising the pulse rate of the reader. Lily Gilbert stumbles across the body of her husband Morey in a field, shot through the brain, her grief is matched by shock at the execution-style death. Soon, other murders are happening with the same ruthless precision: old people are being dispatched in the same cool-headed fashion, and the victims appear to have led lives that hardly invited their violent ends. Assigned to solve the deaths are Detectives Rolseth and Magozzi, two very different individuals whose quirky method of working together produces only fitful success--until they light upon the attractive Grace McBride, who has managed to live through a previous bout of bloodletting. But can Grace lead the duo to the answers before more people die? And what are the consequences of delving into some very dark secrets?

If the slow-burn tension here is more tantalisingly handled than in the first book, that doesn't bespeak a faltering grip on Tracy's part: the agenda here is clearly the steady, methodical accruing of detail (in terms of both plot and characterisation) that pays handsome dividends, even if Tracy stretches our patience to audacious limits. Once again, we have the brilliantly observed character building and Hitchcockian assaults on the reader's sensibility. The suspense now is& can the third Tracy novel top its predecessors? --Barry Forshaw

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