A serial killer who travels the nation—or is it a whole platoon of individual killers?—runs afoul of the Monkeewrench cyberteam when he (she? they?) claims a victim in the outfit’s hometown of Minneapolis.
It’s quite a coincidence when someone drowns Alan Sommers, aka Sweet Cheeks, and makes a video of his death struggles on the banks of the Mississippi, because only a few miles away, the FBI has made Minneapolis its headquarters for a nationwide appeal to computer hackers. Horrified at whoever has been flooding innocuous websites with footage of violent deaths, Special Agent John Smith appeals to his audience to break the law by tracing the perps who’ve been posting the footage through offshore proxy servers. Chief among these cyber-cowboys is Monkeewrench, the software engineering firm that’s developed a sideline expertise in serial homicide (Dead Run, 2005, etc.). Soon after Monkeewrench partner Roadrunner writes a program that can distinguish real from fake snuff videos, the team makes a crucial discovery that links an even greater number of suspicious deaths than the FBI had done and predicts which victims will follow. The staging of the crimes is as sociopathically audacious as ever, and following Roadrunner’s partners—beer-guzzling Harley Davidson, plus-sized fashionista Annie Belinsky, perennial victim Grace MacBride, her lover Det. Leo Magozzi (Snow Blind, 2006), and now the FBI’s Smith—as they track the killer or killers through cyberspace is gripping. But there are too many detectives to allow much intimacy with any of them, and the solution is a decided letdown.
The weakest of the gang’s four adventures to date.