2019 Book 270: ICE COLD HEART by P. J. Tracy

Ice Cold Heart, Monkeewrench #10, by P. J. Tracy 
ISBN: 9781643851327 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781643851334 (ebook)
ASIN: B07NTX8TGH (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 10, 2019 
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

On a bitterly cold winter night, Kelly Ramage leaves her suburban home, telling her husband she’s going to meet a friend.

She never comes back.

When her body is discovered, murdered in what seems to be a sex game gone horribly wrong, Detectives Gino and Magozzi take the case, expecting to find a flirtatious trail leading straight to the killer.

However, Kelly’s sinister lover has done a disturbingly good job of hiding his identity. This isn’t his first victim – and that she won’t be the last…

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Grace MacBride and Leo Magozzi are enjoying a quiet winter with their lovely five-month-old daughter, Elizabeth. The Monkeewrench gang are also having a blast spoiling the daughter, aka princess, of their friend as well, especially Annie Belinsky and Harley Davidson. Roadrunner, yes that’s his legal name, enjoys the baby, but isn’t quite sure what to do with her just yet. The Monkeewrench team is working on a cryptocurrency theft, while Magozzi and his police partner, Gino Rolseth, are delighting in a homicide-free break. Of course, as soon as Magozzi says he’s enjoying the homicide-free break, a homicide occurs and it does so right after a so-called psychic comes into the station to forwarn him and Gino of an impending murder. The victim was apparently exploring a BDSM relationship outside the boundaries of her marriage and was found handcuffed to a bed, tortured, and her head wrapped in duct tape. The strange thing was that there were no signs of an apparent sexual component. When Magozzi and Gino discover that there was a similar crime over a thousand miles away and it appeared to be linked to an art show that their victim attended they begin to wonder if this is one coincidence too many. Just when it seems like there are too many coincidences and random occurrences happening with this case, Roadrunner saves the life of one of his neighbors who just happens to be a friend of the psychic who just happens to be the next murder victim. What does this all have to do with the strange and twisted art of one seriously introverted artist? What, if anything, ties all of this to a sadistic war criminal in the former Czech Republic? What does cryptocurrency have to do with any of this? Will Magozzi, Gino, and the Monkeewrench crew be able to figure things out before someone else dies or is this criminal too smart and too fast to be caught?

Grace, Annie, Harley, and Roadrunner have come a long way since the first book in the Monkeewrench series. They are all a bit more trusting of law enforcement and willing to work with agencies across the United States by offering free software to help these agencies stop and capture criminals. Grace is in a stable, romantic relationship and has softened quite a bit since the birth of her daughter, Elizabeth. She still carries a firearm with her at all times, but she’s down to one gun instead of two (massive improvement). Annie and Harley are still at the bickering push-pull stage of their relationship and it is questionable if it will ever develop into anything beyond that. Roadrunner has remained an enigma throughout these books and remains so, but Ice Cold Heart reveals a bit more about his background and softens him quite a bit with his attraction to his neighbor, Petra. Magozzi and Gino are the perfect cop partnership in that they complement one another in almost every way, know each other’s weaknesses, and have one another’s backs when necessary. Ice Cold Heart is the tenth book in the Monkeewrench series and the characters now seem like old friends. I enjoyed the international component to this story with the vicious and sadistic Czech war criminal, the incorporation of the cryptocurrency theft, and of course the ever popular murder, mayhem, mischief, and mystery. For those of you that have read and enjoyed the previous books in the Monkeewrench series, I encourage you to grab a copy of Ice Cold Heart to read. For those of you that have never read the Monkeewrench series but enjoy reading topical mystery thrillers that incorporate a bit of high-tech to spice things up, then I encourage you to add all of the books in this series to your TBR list. I hope there will be more to read in the Monkeewrench series in the future. You know how much I love to reread books, so yes you guessed it, I’ll have to comfort myself by re-reading the entire series from book 1, Monkeewrench through to book 10, Ice Cold Heart while I wait. I only hope you enjoy this series as much as I do. Happy Reading, y’all!

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Guest Post: J.K. Franko – EYE FOR EYE

Eye for Eye

by JK Franko

on Tour July 22 – September 20, 2019

Eye for Eye by JK Franko

Good day, book people. Today’s another beautiful day and I’m pleased to welcome another wonderful book person to visit with us. Mr. J.K. Franko is a lawyer and author, and he’s currently touring online for his recently released book, Eye For Eye. I’m excited for you to hear what Mr. Franko will be discussing with us today as he’s talking about violence in fiction, specifically violence against women in fiction. I hope you’ll visit with us awhile today, follow the blog tour, grab a copy of Eye for Eye, and enter the tour-wide giveaway. 

Thank you, Mr. Franko, for taking the time to stop by The Book Diva’s Reads today. It’s a pleasure to have you here and I’ll now turn the blog over to you. 

Violence Against Women in Fiction: Sunlight or Ostriches?
By J.K. Franko

I was ready to fire my publicist when her press release for Eye for Eye explained that the book handled violence with “sensitivity.”

Cringe… What kind of marketing is that?

Since when does “sensitivity” sell thrillers?

Then we chatted, and I understood.

You see, there has apparently been a growing trend toward graphic violence in writing and film. This has recently become a “thing.” As I was not aware of the extent of the issue, I did some research and discovered that there has also been a strong backlash. But, to be effective, that backlash needs to target the crux of the problem—which is gratuitous violence as entertainment.

Some folks are just missing the mark.

For example, I discovered the Staunch Book Prize. It is a book award established in 2018 for the best thriller “in which no woman is beaten, stalked, sexually exploited, raped or murdered.”

At first blush, I thought, No way in hell I could win that one.

I can tell you this much about Eye for Eye

without any spoilers: Two girls die; another gets raped. And this is by the end of Chapter Three. And then, obviously, there’s the rest of the book…

So, why did my publicist think Eye for Eye is different and—cringe—”sensitive?”

Well, I didn’t find it necessary to use graphic violence as a device to tell the story. There is an audience for that kind of thing. There are also plenty of authors that write it. It’s just not me.

But, Eye for EYE is still a crime thriller and features crimes against women and against men. Crimes happen—in the real world. As adults, we have to deal with them. The ones against men, and the ones against women. And to deal with them, we have to discuss them.

A big part of the problem with sexual assault and violence against women in the past was that no one would talk about it. Isn’t that what the whole #MeToo movement is about? Bringing this sort of stuff into the light of day?

It’s also one of the purposes of fiction—exploring real-world situations to teach a lesson, shine a light on an injustice. As Justice Brandeis said, “Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants.”

That can’t be done without broaching the subject. But we can address the subject in ways that don’t diminish the victims.

I think it would be shameful not to.

To Kill a Mockingbird won a Pulitzer, but could not win the Staunch Book Prize.

Don’t get me wrong. Hats off to Bridget Lawless for taking the initiative to create the award. I like the idea behind the Staunch Book Prize. I think it’s well-intentioned.

But, I think it misses the point. A crime thriller by definition has to involve a crime. And that’s got to be committed against someone. By limiting the award to books that don’t commit crimes against women, this award seems to solicit thrillers that only include crimes against men. It seems to be a sort of “ostrich head in the sand” approach to the issue.

But, maybe not. The lawyer in me thinks there might be a loophole.

The webpage for the award states that they seek submissions of “not just thrillers that feature men in jeopardy instead of women, but stories in which female characters don’t have to be raped before they can be empowered, or become casual collateral to pump up the plot.”


By way of this article, I am letting my publicist know that we submitting Eye for Eye for “The Staunch.”

Eye for Eye definitely falls into the category of stories that come after the “but.”

None of my female characters qualify as “casual collateral.” They would be offended by the label. They are driven, empowered women, in control of their lives (and maybe the lives of others). They don’t hide from violence; they tackle it head-on. And, once you read Eye for Eye, you’ll agree that it’s best not to piss them off.

Eye for Eye

by JK Franko

Eye for Eye by JK Franko


Roy and Susie are on a skiing holiday, trying to take a break from the constant reminders of their daughter, tragically killed by a careless driver. Out of the blue, they meet Deb and Tom, another couple with a tragic past and a shocking proposal to put things right.

As the bodies accumulate, secrets are revealed and alliances crumble. Ultimate survival depends on following the rules for a perfect murder. And the first rule is… leave no singing bones.

Book Details:

Genre: Crime & Mystery

Published by: Talion Publishing
Publication Date: June 22nd 2019
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 1999318803 (ISBN13: 9781999318802)
Series: Talion #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Author Bio:

JK Franko

J.K. FRANKO was born and raised in Texas. His Cuban-American parents agreed there were only three acceptable options for a male child: doctor, lawyer, and architect. After a disastrous first year of college pre-Med, he ended up getting a BA in philosophy (not acceptable), then he went to law school (salvaging the family name) and spent many years climbing the big law firm ladder. After ten years, he decided that law and family life weren’t compatible. He went back to school where he got an MBA and pursued a Ph.D. He left law for corporate America, with long stints in Europe and Asia.

His passion was always to be a writer. After publishing a number of non-fiction works, thousands of hours writing, and seven or eight abandoned fictional works over the course of eighteen years, Eye For Eye became his first published novel.

J.K. Franko now lives with his wife and children in Florida.

Catch Up With JK Franko On:

jkfranko.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Enter The Giveaway!!!:

This is a Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for JK Franko. There will be 6 winners. Two (2) winners will each win (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. Two (2) winners will each win a signed copy of EYE FOR EYE by JK Franko (Open to U.S. addresses only) and Two (2) winners will each win a Knife set (Open to U.S. addresses only).  The giveaway begins on July 22, 2019, and runs through September 22, 2019.  Void where prohibited.

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