Review: Whack A Mole by Chris Grabenstein

I promised myself I would wait allow six months to pass between listening to Mad Mouse and this book and I nearly* made it but couldn’t wait any longer to get back to this terrific series.

The third book in the John Ceepak series opens with rookie cop Danny Boyle admitting that, at the ripe old age of 25, he’s done the worst thing a human being can do. Leaving us wondering what terrible thing might be Danny then recounts events that begin when John Ceepak finds an old high school class ring while honing his crime scene investigating techniques on a Sea Haven beach. Not long afterwards some more gruesome relics are discovered around the town and Ceepak and Danny are soon on the trail of a multiple murderer who just might be getting ready to kill again.

This series just keeps getting better. Although they retained the traits that make them unique and endearing, John Ceepak and Danny became more realistic in this third instalment. Ceepak is softening a little and becoming less rigid, perhaps recovering slowly from his experiences in the army, while Danny has become a full-time police officer (graduating well from the academy) and is maturing. Their relationship still has a mentoring feel but it’s clear here that the two are becoming friends on a more equal footing.  So many male bonding relationships depicted in fiction involve consuming large quantities of alcohol and/or treating women like objects that it’s quite refreshing to see a healthy relationship depicted without these elements.

Grabenstein does a great job of lulling you into a false sense of security with respect to the pace and direction of the story before taking you in an entirely unpredictable direction. This one was so engrossing and suspense-filled I had to walk an extra 2 kilometres so I could finish listening. As a bonus, although darker in terms of subject matter than the previous two books in the series, this one is actually funnier. Danny Boyle’s narrative voice is delightfully witty and it has lost its slight juvenile quality as Danny has matured.

The only thing more enjoyable than anticipating a new Ceepak and Boyle adventure being read to me by the wonderful Jeff Woodman is having my expectations exceeded. I am completely smitten by this series (as you can tell from my reviews of books one and two in the series) and there’s nothing for me to do now but play all my Bruce Springsteen CDs (his lyrics inspire our two New Jersey heroes) and see how long I can wait until I listen to the fourth book in the series which is already waiting on my iPod.

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

My rating 4.5/5

Narrator: Jeff Woodman; Publisher: Audible Inc [2007]; ISBN: N/A (downloaded from audible.com) Length: 7hrs 56mins Setting New Jersey, United States, present day

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

Whack A Mole has been reviewed at Lesa’s Book Critiques

During a recent discussion on the subject of audio books at the 4 Mystery Addicts yahoo group nearly all of those who spoke in passionate favour of the format mentioned this series read by this narrator among their favourites so you don’t just have to take my word for it that there is something special about this combination of writer and narrator.

*Well, ‘nearly’ is such a vague word isn’t it? I mean is there sooooo much difference between 5 weeks and 6 months?

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One Response to Review: Whack A Mole by Chris Grabenstein

  1. I’m so glad you are enjoying the series. Jeff Woodman does a fantastic job. I have fun listening to the books on my iPod. His acting is so good, he lulls me in and I should know what’s going to happen net!

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