Karen Karbo
April 18, 2005 AT 04:00 AM EDT

The mother-daughter team known as P.J. Tracy has concocted another tart, engaging mystery — Dead Run — featuring the Monkeewrench Gang, oddball software designers-turned-crime fighters. Classy paranoiac Grace MacBride and plus-size beauty Annie Belinsky accompany FBI profiler Sharon Mueller on a road trip from Minneapolis to Green Bay, Wis., to investigate a possible serial killer. When Grace’s Range Rover breaks down in the cell-phone-tower-challenged wilds of northern Wisconsin, they stumble upon a newly minted ghost town. Where is everyone? And why are soldiers guarding the perimeter of minuscule Four Corners? (Hint: It involves an overturned tanker of nerve gas.) After witnessing a horrifying double homicide, our plucky damsels hurtle through a plot that delivers both laughs and a sense of peril.

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