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Showing 1-10 of 82 reviews(Verified Purchases). See all 113 reviews
on December 21, 2016
This is a review of the first four books in the John Ceepak series, Tilt-a-Whirl, Mad Mouse, Whack-a-Mole and Hell Hole. They are a lot of fun. I think the books have gotten successively better. In the first, Tilt-a-Whirl, the narrator, a 24 year-old part-time summer cop in a Jersey shore town, is just a bit too clueless and his clever remarks about the tacky world around him a bit overdone. His partner, the Iraq war veteran with a strict code of conduct, is a bit too mechanical. As the books progress, however, the kid matures, the veteran is humanized, and the interactions between them are more entertaining. The supporting cast is well-drawn. The mysteries are clever, although the solutions can be a bit over-the-top. All and all, very pleasant reading - I found myself picking up the next volume as soon as I finished the last.
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on November 3, 2016
The summer is almost over, and soon-to-be-named a full-time officer of the Sea Haven PD, Danny Boyle, is hanging with the friends he's known since high school. What starts as a prank involving using Danny and his friends as paint gun targets soon evolves to real bullets. With the help of his partner and mentor, Army MP vet John Ceepak, Danny and his friends must figure out who wants them dead before it's too late. This is a fun series that takes place in a little coastal town surrounding an amusement park.
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on February 26, 2016
I read the first 3 books, especially because they were so cheap (~1$ each).
They're basically CSI-like, but on a small scale and a bit more realistic.

They're all quite light, and maybe funny if you like the style.
I was very happy that after the 1st book the author doesn't keep on indirectly inserting summaries about what happened in the previous books.

What I did not like at all was the lack of protagonist's character development - it was alright for the 2nd book, but in the 3rd I got sick of his attitude, so I kind of stopped reading this series for the time being, especially because currently the 4th book is very expensive (~15$) and for me it wouldn't be worth the money - I might continue this series once the remaining books become cheaper.
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on July 18, 2014
When a small group of now-grown-up young men and women find themselves in peril they have to figure out who and why they are being targeted. I like the way these John Ceepak mysteries are told by Danny who has now been made a full-time Sea Haven police officer. Danny is a good person who idolizes his mentor, Ceepak, while realizing that most people (including him) can't quite measure up to Ceepak's code of honesty and doing the right thing all the time. In his somewhat naive and frequently amusing take on how and why things are happening, Danny helps to solve the mystery and learns a little bit more about himself and what being a police officer is all about. I like listening to Danny as he tries to figure out what is happening and what he should do. There is murder and mayhem, but the book is fun to read because it tells the story as Danny sees it, accurate or not.
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on December 31, 2012
I'm hooked on this series. The characters that Grabenstein has created are great.. Ceepak and Boyle make a great duo. This is book two and so if you haven't read book one, there may be a few spoilers in this review, but hopefully not too many. Check out my review of Tilt-a-Whirl for a great introduction.

So continuing on with the series, this book is also a quick read. Not much in the style of writing has changed and a few more characters are added. With the story taking place in such a small town, I was worried it would be limited, but that is definitely not the case. With this book, you get to meet new people in town and visit more shops and restaurants.

This mystery/crime centers around Danny and his friends which gives us more detail about him
and what he does in his time away from work. It will also be decided at the end of this book if Danny gets the full-time position that is available after summer.

The mystery itself was amazing. Not what I expected and definitely deeper than the last mystery Ceepak and Boyle solved. I did not guess who or what, until the end of the book.

I would definitely recommend this book to those that have read the first book and recommend this series to those who like cozy mysteries. I wouldn't classify this series specifically as such. It's definitely not as heavy as Harlan Coben or James Patterson, but just as good. IMO!
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on March 7, 2017
The book doesn't disappoibt, with more twist and turns tgen the MAad Mouse roller coaster, ut keotme guessing until the reveal.Well worth the price and tine for a very enjoyable read.
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on March 19, 2014
This is the second in a series set by the Jersey Shore and I enjoyed this book more than the first one. Told in the first person, the characters are engaging and includes a lot of self-deprecating humor.

Having lived in that area for nearly ten years, I can relate to the culture and the atmosphere and the book is right on, there.

While the narrator is a character by the name of Danny Boyle, the story centers around John Ceepak, a larger-than-life, do-gooder police officer who is someone we would all want on our side, but probably we would not live up to his standards Danny is more human and realistic as a person.

This is light reading at its best, While not as zany as the Stephanie Plum series, just as enjoyable.

I am enjoying the series and will continue to look forward to reading the further adventures of this interesting duo.
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First Line: August 30th is National Toasted Marshmallow Day, so, naturally, we're celebrating.

It's almost Labor Day in Sea Haven, New Jersey, and Danny Boyle is really hoping the new police chief is going to name him the new full-time officer. In the meantime, he's going to spend the evening celebrating National Toasted Marshmallow Day with his friends. Unfortunately the night is spoiled when Danny and his group are targeted by paint ball ninjas.

For a short while, everyone thinks it's "just kids" getting drunk, getting high, and blowing off steam at the end of summer. But there's another attack that includes bullets as well as paint, and one of Danny's friends is rushed to the hospital, fighting for her life. Ceepak doesn't have to convince Danny that someone is looking for revenge on him and his friends-- but Danny's got to figure out why. The big Labor Day celebration in Sea Haven is about to start. Danny and his friends won't be the only ones in the line of fire.

This book has a lot to say about being young, about being thoughtless, about how actions have consequences, about doing what's right... but a lot of that may become obscured by the relentless pace of the plot. "Mad mouse" is a term for a small roller coaster whose sharp turns make the riders feel as though they're being pitched out into space-- and to their deaths. "Mad mouse" could also be an excellent term for the plot of Grabenstein's book. Once this roller coaster has started, there's no stopping it.

it was good to see that John Ceepak is less tightly wound than in the first book in the series, and young Danny Boyle is the perfect narrator-- a rather gawky Every Guy who's smarter than he thinks and is extremely impressionable. His lucky day was when he teamed up with John Ceepak, a man with a strong moral code that he will not break ("I will not lie, cheat or steal nor tolerate those who do"). It's almost impossible not to like Danny when he notices things like this:

"Her eyes tell me she's probably somebody's mom because they look tired, maybe even sad. I figure her kid is a teenager. I remember my mom's eyes when my brother and I were teenagers-- she looked like we never let her sleep. I also figure Rita is a single mom. Maybe it's the way she looks when Ceepak is polite, like maybe her first guy wasn't so nice."

If you put your mind to it, the bad guy isn't all that difficult to figure out, but I didn't care. Besides, Grabenstein throws a curve or two in with the bad guy's identity so you feel as though you're heading for another one of those mad mouse turns.

I know I mentioned reading the first book in the series, but it's not necessary to read it (Tilt-a-Whirl) before reading Mad Mouse. Just enough detail is given to keep things moving without making anyone confused.

When I finished the last page, I had that best of all reader reactions: a stunned (and whispered) WOW. And those last five sentences? They choked me up and put tears in my eyes. It's a good thing I didn't have the rest of the books in this series sitting on a shelf. I would've grabbed them all, put a DO NOT DISTURB sign on the door, and holed up until I'd read every single one.

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on October 28, 2013
If you like reading entertaining detective/mystery stories with lots of action but no real gratuitous violence, raunchy sex or unnecessary bad language, you will want to pick up this or any of Chris Grabenstein's John Ceepak Mysteries. This one happened to be the second one I read. I'd liked the first (Tilt a Whirl) enough to try this second book. And I was glad, because I was instantly hooked by the fun dialogue, the gritty situations, and the very consistent portrayal of local color and characters in each story line. Not unlike a modern-day Holmes and Watson meets CSI, Ceepak and Boyle offer some very entertaining adventures as they unravel whatever mystery situation they face there on the Jersey shore. Plus you gotta like the Bruce Springsteen lyrics woven into each story, too.
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on October 28, 2014
It's fluffy and light like spun sugar. I guess the Ceepak series is starting to grow on me, even though it's not brilliant, I raced though this in under 2 days. It really was fast paced, even though the storyline ended up being somewhat unrealistiic. The writing itself is quite good and you do get a sense of the various characters who inhabit Sea Haven.

The story won't stay with you for any length of time, but if you're seeking an entertaining diversion or taking a break between more weighty reading, this series might do the trick.
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