Tuesday, May 30

Tilt a Whirl by Chris Grabenstein

Review by Andrea Maloney

Sea Haven, New Jersey's quiet fun in the sun is suddenly shattered when Ashley Hart comes screaming down the street covered in blood. John Ceepak having newly joined the Sea Haven police and his partner Danny Boyle, a part time summer cop,  rush to help her and find she has been the sole witness to her father's brutal murder on the Tilt a Whirl at the town's seedy amusement park. 

Ceepak, a cop 24/7 who follows his own personal moral code leads the investigation assisted by Boyle.  Soon they find themselves with plenty of suspects in the murder of Ashley's father who was a billionaire real estate tycoon with numerous enemies. Many twists and turns keep Ceepak and Boyle one step behind a ruthless killer until the final shattering denouement.

Chris Grabenstein has written a fast and furious, exhilaratingly different mystery with a touch of humor, a dash of Springsteen and a dose of murder. Stirred together and you have a mystery that grabs you from the very first page and doesn't let go until the unexpected ending.

The characters of Ceepak and Boyle are like a breath of fresh air and a study in contrasts.  Ceepak is strong and steady with his own moral code that he follows at all times while Boyle is just working as a cop for the summer to make money and doesn't look upon it as a career choice. But Boyle will question whether he wants to be a full time cop as he comes to admire Ceepak and all he stands for.

The contrast between Ceepak and Boyle is beautifully handled, the characters have depth and life and the plot twists and turns like an amusement park ride on overdrive. Chris Grabenstein's first novel is a wonderfully written who-done-it that will leave you wanting more.

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