WINNER OF THE ANTHONY AWARD for Best First Mystery 2005!
"ONE OF THE BEST MYSTERIES OF 2005!"*
There isn't much fun in the sun when a billionaire real estate tycoon is found murdered on the Tilt-A-Whirl at a seedy seaside amusement park in the otherwise quiet tourist town of Sea Haven, New Jersey.
John Ceepak, a former MP back from Iraq, has just joined the Sea Haven Police Department. The job offer came from an old Army buddy who wanted to give him at least a summer's worth of R&R to escape the horrors of war.
Instead, Ceepak heads up the murder investigation. He is partnered with Danny Boyle, a 24-year-old, part-time cop who doesn't carry a gun and only works with the police by day so he has enough pocket money to play with his beach buddies by night.
In the first novel in a new series with echoes of Carl Hiaasen and John D. MacDonald, the Tilt A Whirl murder pushes Ceepak's deep sense of honor to the limits as unexpected twists and turns keep the truth spinning wildly in every direction.
"Chris Grabenstein's Tilt A Whirl is a fast-paced thrill ride with lots of twists and turns and good writing from start to finish!"
"There's fireworks down the Jersey shore in this first book in a promising series."
"This impressive debut by New York City advertising executive-turned-mystery writer Grabenstein is set in idyllic Sea Haven, a touristy summer town... and follows cop extraordinaire John Ceepak and his part-time junior partner, Danny Boyle.... The story is related by Boyle, whose youthful inexperience and desire to be a kid are the perfect foil for Ceepak's mature, by-the-book demeanor. Grabenstein's writing is direct and punchy, providing many laugh-out-loud moments. Though a bit surreal, the ending is unexpected and satisfying and wraps up a good pace. Highly recommended."
—Library Journal (Starred Review!)
"From page 1, this debut stands out as refreshingly different. Billed as the first entry in Grabenstein's Jersey Shore series, the story is set in Sea Haven, a town that will stir memories for East Coasters who went "down the Shore" each summer. The story centers on the murder of real-estate tycoon Reggie Hart, who was shot in front of his teenage daughter, Ashley. Danny Boyle, a 24-year-old "summer cop" encounters the hysterical girl while on patrol with his partner, John Ceepak, an ex-soldier who has returned from Iraq with some demons left to exorcise. Although Grabenstein crafts a first-rate mystery, what makes this novel special is its two protagonists. With young Boyle narrating, the reader gets to know Ceepak gradually, through his partner's eyes. At first Ceepak's personal code of honor only amuses or annoys the cynical Boyle. But as he (and we) get to know the former soldier, the portrait of a true hero emerges. Grabenstein brilliantly evokes the endearing seediness of a Jersey Shore town in summer but it's his development of the Ceepak-Boyle relationship that makes this an absolute triumph."
—Booklist (Starred Review!)
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