Title: Mad Mouse
Author: Chris Grabenstein
Narrator: Jeff Woodman
Publisher: Audible Inc 
ISBN: n/a [downloaded from audible.com]
Length: 8 hours 10 minutes
Setting: New Jersey, USA, present day
Genre: Police Procedural
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
My rating: 4/5
One-liner: Great narration of a light-hearted book that does make you think a little too.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
It’s nearly the end of summer in Sea Haven, New Jersey, but one last beach party is planned before the tourists leave for the winter. The party is threatened however when someone starts shooting the good people of Sea Haven, first with paint ball guns but then with real bullets. It appears that the targets of the sniper might be part-time, rookie policeman Danny Boyle and his friends so Danny’s partner John Ceepak has even more than the usual imperative to quickly find the culprit.
I read and reviewed Tilt-A-Whirl, the first book in this series, in October and it’s rare for me to read series books in such quick succession. However, I needed a book with broad appeal for a long car trip with a couple of friends and, frankly, I did wonder if my enjoyment of the first one was a bit of an aberration (it being such a ‘feel-good’ book and me being such a bitter old cynic). Happily I loved Mad Mouse just as much as the first book (as did my two friends, neither of whom read much crime fiction).
Whereas other ‘feel-good’ books drive me to drink and/or mutter under my breath I am quite entranced by this series. I think in part it’s the sense of humour displayed by the narrator, Danny Boyle, which nicely offsets the perfectness of John Ceepak. It’s also partly due to the fact that even though the books are somewhat light they do tackle some tough subjects. Mad Mouse, with its double-meaning title, explores the impact that people’s actions have on those around them, even relatively minor actions that are quickly forgotten by all but one person, and also takes a look at the damage parental expectations can have on their children. The three of us who were listening together talked for quite some time about these issues after we’d finished listening to the book.
The series also has a nicely developing partnership between Danny Boyle and John Ceepak and in Mad Mouse we learn a little more about their personalities . In the weeks since the events of Tilt-A-Whirl Danny has matured a little and is now certain he wants to be a full-time police officer. Ceepak hasn’t changed too much although he does start to poke a little gentle fun at himself and is also sweetly tongue-tied when the teenage son of a woman he’s met tries to convince him to ask his mother out on a date. There’s a nice mentoring role between Ceepak and Danny and I am already wondering what will happen to these two in the next book.
I’m quite chuffed to discover that my enjoyment of the first book in this series was no aberration as there are several more for me still to read. The story was engaging, the characters delightful and the narration superb.