Twin City cops team up with a small-town female sheriff to track down a killer who is turning corpses into snowmen in this fourth thriller from the mother-daughter duo (Dead Run, 2005).
Grudgingly partaking in the annual department-sponsored kid’s snow festival, Minneapolis detectives Leo Magozzi and Gino Rolseth happen to be on hand for the shocking discovery of two young cops, dead, their bodies propped up and covered in snow to look like snowmen. The next day, a third, similarly attired body—this one a parole officer—is found in the nearby rural burg of Dundas, pointing toward a serial killer. It being her first day on the job, Dundas County’s new sheriff, the sweet-faced former English teacher Iris Rikker, is clearly in over her head, so she looks to the big-city cops for guidance. They eye her skeptically, but the three form an alliance nonetheless. The murder trail splits in multiple directions, ranging from a jailed crime lord nicknamed “the Snowman” to newly released multiple felon (and wife-beater) Kurt Weinbeck. Weinbeck breaks parole and hides out during a winter storm in the drafty barn of the old farmhouse where the divorced Iris lives alone, but escapes before she and laconic Lieutenant Sampson can catch him. Meanwhile, Magozzi, who is conducting a touchingly tentative romance with Grace MacBride, the enigmatic head brain of the Monkeewrench crime-busting tech crew, gets the quirky geeks to search for their own clues on the Internet. Ultimately, it all leads to Bitterroot, a highly secured corporate compound that is revealed to be a safe house for abused women. What happens next points toward a 60-year history of women, alone, casting off the role of victim to look out for themselves, at any cost. An engaging puzzle with a vigilante twist, the story loses steam near the end as Magozzi and Rolseth realize that solving the case may not be the same thing as serving justice.
Gripping and original set-up for the next Monkeewrench volume.