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Deep into the Dark

Review

Deep into the Dark

P. J. Tracy is the pseudonym of Traci Lambrecht, who, with her mother P.J. Lambrecht, penned the award-winning Monkeewrench series. Two more Monkeewrench books have been released since P.J.’s death in 2016, and now Traci is back with a brand-new series set in sunny Los Angeles.

The characters in DEEP INTO THE DARK dwell and work not in glitzy Beverly Hills or in the dark underbelly of the city, which is so dominant in today’s popular fiction. Their stories play out where ordinary men and women thrive, but it’s not La-La Land. Romance and struggles to make ends meet roll out just as in everyday life. Of course there’s crime; it wouldn’t be a P. J. Tracy novel without cops and robbers, would it? But to call this book a mystery would be underselling it. This is a thriller to the very last page.

"P. J. Tracy produces such stunning prose that simply reading her words is a joy. She has created a quirky, captivating cast of characters in an intriguing setting that grabs you from the unnerving prologue to the very end."

Detectives Margaret Nolan and Al Crawford of LAPD’s Homicide Special Section are called to the scene of a murder in a motel room. Did the victim die in the grisly serial-killer fashion portrayed on the front page of the news, or is this a copycat? Remy Beaudreau, their colleague who is in charge of the serial killer investigation, is brought into the fold. Something doesn’t fit.

The individual in the motel room once worked with Melody Traeger, the head waitress at Pearl Club, a favorite hangout for show-biz heavyweights and wannabe actors hoping for a break. Melody is working her way through college but keeps her colorful past under wraps, even from her friend and co-worker, Sam Easton.

Sam, who holds an engineering degree, is a recent returnee from Afghanistan with the physical and emotional scars to show for it. He would rather tend the back of the bar at Pearl Club to avoid keeping up a dialogue with the clientele. He needs to get his head straight through frequent visits with his shrink before taking the major step of venturing into the real world and applying his education to a career. A sufferer of PTSD, Sam thinks he’s going crazy with his surrealistic nightmares and has a difficult time separating them from reality.

Crawford considers Sam to be a major suspect, especially when the man Melody has been dating is found dead the day after she rejected Sam’s offer to drive her home. Sam doesn’t have an adequate alibi. Nolan, whose brother recently died serving overseas, doesn’t see him as capable of committing a heinous crime. But as Crawford and Beaudreau burrow in with questions, even Sam begins to doubt himself. 

P. J. Tracy produces such stunning prose that simply reading her words is a joy. She has created a quirky, captivating cast of characters in an intriguing setting that grabs you from the unnerving prologue to the very end. I cannot wait to get my hands on future installments of this winning series.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 22, 2021

Deep into the Dark
by P. J. Tracy

  • Publication Date: January 12, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250754941
  • ISBN-13: 9781250754943