Thanks to Ms Bookish last year I discovered the joy that is Chris Grabenstein’s John Ceepak series as read by Jeff Woodman and the series has become my ‘go to’ recommendation for people new to audio books. In an effort to space out my listening pleasure (there are only 5 books in the series so far though a 6th is on its way) I thought I’d try a book from Grabenstein’s other series for adults (he also writes YA fiction).
One of celebrated FBI Agent Christopher Miller’s neighbours has lost her grandson to a killer terrorising the cab drivers of New York and Miller feels obliged to undertake his own investigation into the case though it is officially the responsibility of the NYPD. Meanwhile, advertising executive Scott Wilkinson gets a ride to Newark airport with the limousine driver from hell. Nearly 12 months later the two men’s lives intersect when Miller is suffering the consequences of carrying out an unauthorised investigation and Wilkinson has cause to regret the complaint he made to the limousine company at the conclusion of his limo ride. Payback’s a bitch.
The machinations that get this story rolling bordered on being too contrived but they were out of the way early on and I enjoyed the rest of the tale. It whips along at a fast pace and involves a very acceptable number of twists, turns and scary moments. Though the ultimate ending is never in much doubt, the good guys are going to prevail, there’s a tension-packed story involving international jewel thieves, stolen matryoshka dolls, a gruesome scene that’ll make you think twice about sliced meat and a Christmas concert full of 6-year olds to get through before the satisfying pay-off.
Grabenstein’s characters are always thoughtfully drawn and rarely as simple as they might appear at first glance. Both Miller and Wilkinson are quite well developed and interesting but in Slay Ride the author seems to have enjoyed exploring the darker elements of personality by creating particularly nasty bad guys. Nicolai Kyznetsoff, the crazy limo driver, is disturbing at its best and Jeff Woodman’s excellent voicing of him added a deliciously creepy element to my listening experience.
Sometimes I like to escape from the real world and visit a place where the bad guys are really bad and the good guys are extra good and it’s blindingly obvious who is in which category. This book fits that bill to a tee and is a fast, funny and entertaining listen to boot.
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
My rating 4/5 (It’s probably a 3.5 for the book with an extra half a point purely for Woodman’s narration).
Narrator: Jeff Woodman; Publisher: Audible Inc , Length 8hrs 6mins
♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦
I have read (and loved) the first three of Grabenstein’s John Ceepak mysteries too.