FFB Review: Tilt A Whirl: The John Ceepak Mysteries Book 1 by Chris Grabenstein
I first told you about this book back
long ago in 2009. I told you again about Tilt A
Whirl: The John Ceepak Mysteries Book 1 by Chris Grabenstein in 2016. Earlier
this week, Aubrey Hamilton told everyone her
perspective about one of my favorite series. It seemed like that was a sign
that I should mention again this read where mystery, humor, and more are at work. For the rest of
the reading suggestions for this date, check out Todd Mason’s Sweet
Sea Haven, New Jersey
is an eighteen mile long barrier island consisting of motels, beach houses,
bait shops, etc. For twenty-four year old Danny Boyle it is home and he works
part time as an unarmed summer cop who helps with the influx of tourists in the
muggy summer months. He just never expected to work a murder scene.
But, that is exactly
what quickly happens because Danny also serves as the driver for John Ceepak.
Ceepak used to be a military policeman, spent time in Iraq, and has been forced
to deal with some really bad guys on more than one occasion. War is hell and
Ceepak has lived it and has the memories. Ceepak is the man you want to follow
into battle and is the man you want on your side. He lives by “The Code” that
few these days can understand let alone follow.
The blonde girl, about
thirteen years old, wearing a blood soaked dress and screaming as she comes up
an avenue towards The Pancake Palace early one morning is a reminder that few
live by Ceepak’s code. She is Ashley Hart, the daughter of Reginald and Betty
Hall Heart. Betty Hall used to be on the local TV as the bubbly weather person.
Reginald Hart was a businessman and real estate developer who did some rather
unorthodox things and was very wealthy. Now, he is very dead having been gunned
down on the Tilt-A-Whirl ride while sitting next to his daughter. The fact that
the ride at the Sunnyside Play Land wasn’t even open yet this Saturday morning
isn’t going to matter to the media or scared tourists. The fact that a crazed
killer is wandering around the area is a chamber of commerce disaster and Chief
Cosgrove wants it solved fast. He puts Ceepak and by extension his driver,
Boyle, on the case. Murder is just the start of a twisting tale that ultimately
leads to a horrifying conclusion.
Told at a fast pace,
this is a read that quickly pulls the reader into the quirks of location and
character. Both elements quickly come to life for the reader as back story is
skillfully woven into dialogue and the occasional flashback. In a departure
from most mysteries, the story is told in the first person from the Danny
Boyle’s perspective while the real protagonist is Ceepak. This allows readers to
get deeper into the Ceepak character because he is being observed while also
getting a good idea of Danny’s character. It also works with the other
characters that are never cardboard cutouts and instead are usually realistic
and sometimes a bit quirky.
As some have noted,
the cover does not remotely do justice to the book. Hot pink in background the
cover prominently features a rollercoaster and not the ride depicted in the
book. Though, there is a rollercoaster ride at the mythical Sunnyside Play Land
so there is a vague link. While the design created by Michael Fusco seems very
wrong, it does bring glances and inquires from folks when the book is out in
public. More than one neighbor came over to see what I was working on now
because they had spotted the cover as I sat reading on my apartment porch.
Sometimes they came over at the most inopportune times.
The bottom line here
is this is a book that fires on all cylinders and takes the reader on a very
good ride. Sometimes funny, sometimes dark, this is a novel that quickly
becomes riveting and one of the best I have read in a very long time. Start of
a series, this is a very good one and a book you simply have to read.
Book provided by the
author in exchange for my objective review.
The latest published read from Barry Ergang is a short story. Originally published in 1982 in Stereophile Magazine , his short story, ...
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