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The ultimate reason I adore this series as much as I do is the dynamic duo. John Ceepak and Danny Boyle are among my absolute favorite characters in crime fiction. The symbiotic relationship between these two is what makes the series work so well. It is a very effective use of characterization to view Ceepak through the eyes of Danny; Ceepak is, after all, his hero. So when Ceepak stumbles, the effect of seeing that mis-step through the eyes of Danny makes it all the more powerful. When a crime fiction novel makes me laugh, tugs at my heart strings, moves me to cheer for the hero s and challenges me to THINK, I know I've found a top-notch work of art!
Strong characters, a strong setting, and a strong mystery laced with Grabenstein's trademark humor. What's not to like? Although there is humor in the book, it's not as pronounced because the subject matter is serious and our Danny is grieving. Grabenstein knows how to write action scenes as well as strong characters and humor-- and he also knows how to tug on our heartstrings.
There is one thing, however, that I wondered about all through Mind Scrambler.
There are times that the tower of integrity that's known as John Ceepak is almost a cartoon figure with his exaggerated "Just the facts, ma'am" language and his unyielding book of rules. Once-- just once-- I'd like to see a scene of dialogue between Ceepak and his wife Rita when they're alone. Does Ceepak still sound like a stuffed shirt then, or does he actually unwind a little? It will probably never happen, but as I enjoy reading each book in this series, I can always dream.
I always enjoy this series, but I'm having a hard time identifying exactly why. First, I haven't read anything else quite like them, even though I've read quite a range of mysteries. They are more character driven and somehow softer than most procedurals, while clearly having more of an edge than cozies not to mention featuring two police officers.
This book seemed harsher than the previous books, but somehow it didn't cross the line into icky. I give Grabenstein major credit for this, thinking back over the story. The setting on the Jersey Shore is also unusual for me. I enjoy the link to the various amusement park rides the books are named for, particularly this book's Mind Scrambler. This time, the story wanders to Atlantic City, which is more usual mystery stomping grounds or it felt that way, even though I can't think of any specific examples.
The best things about these books are the two lead characters: John Ceepak and Danny Boyle. John Ceepak lives his life by a strict code of honor, and expects the same from those around him. His partner Danny Boyle describes him as the worlds oldest Eagle Scout. He's always perceptive and able to think his way to the right conclusion.
Again, I give Grabenstein credit for making this work, because it could have been very tedious. In this book, his code of honor is tested, more so than we've seen.
Watching him struggle through this adds further depth to his character. Danny Boyle started as a somewhat shallow, carefree young man in search of an easy summer job. Ceepak has had a significant effect on him, and he is maturing very nicely. He has just the right touch of hero worship as he narrates the story, contrasting what he is able to figure out with the conclusions that Ceepak draws.
This time, Danny is drawn into the mystery in a very personal way, even being considered a suspect for a period of time. Watching him balance between Danny the individual and Danny the police officer made for good reading.
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I also want to mention the narrator, Jeff Woodman. He does a fantastic job of bringing these books to life. I recommend reading this series in order, since Danny's growth is such a major part of the books for me. Here at Walmart. This time, Danny is drawn into the mystery in a very personal way, even being considered a suspect for a period of time. Watching him balance between Danny the individual and Danny the police officer made for good reading. I also want to mention the narrator, Jeff Woodman.
He does a fantastic job of bringing these books to life. I recommend reading this series in order, since Danny's growth is such a major part of the books for me. View 1 comment. Mar 06, Michelle rated it liked it Shelves: 3-stars-or-less , read-in , part-of-a-series. In the fifth installment of this series, Officer Danny Boyle finds himself in Atlantic City with his partner and mentor, Officer John Ceepak, to depose a witness in the case against Ceepak's father.
While there, Danny runs into an ex-girlfriend, who is working for the famous illusionist who has a show at the hotel. They agree to meet for breakfast the next day, but she leaves Danny an ominous voicemail and is found dead later that night.
Since they have the week off, Danny and Ceepak offer to In the fifth installment of this series, Officer Danny Boyle finds himself in Atlantic City with his partner and mentor, Officer John Ceepak, to depose a witness in the case against Ceepak's father. Since they have the week off, Danny and Ceepak offer to stick around and help solve the case.
There is a lot going on in this book, maybe a bit too much, hence the title , but overall it was a quick, easy read. Mar 25, Jennifer rated it liked it. Not the best of the series, but okay. The boys step out of Sea Haven to help solve the murder of one of Danny's childhood friends in Atlantic City.
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I did learn the secrets to a few magic tricks, though. View 2 comments. Dec 20, Jen rated it it was amazing Shelves: male-author , police-fiction. In this caper, Danny the book's voice and Ceepak are in Atlantic City deposing a witness set to testify against Ceepak's father. They are doing this deposition purely as a favor to the prosecutor over in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. While they are there, an old friend of Danny's shows up. Danny's friend calls him and tells him she needs to speak with him privately, but before Danny can connect with her, she's murdered. Danny and Ceepak are out-of-towners, but they aren't going to stand by and be wallflowers.
They are still law enforcement agents in the state of New Jersey, so they'll pitch in and help bring the murderer to justice. I honestly do not know how Chris Grabenstein manages to make every Ceepak book better than the one before it. And yet Grabenstein tops himself every time! One of the many reasons I enjoy the John Ceepak mysteries so much is the connection of the title to the book.
Part of the whole puzzle is making the connection with the plot. And the significance of Mind Scrambler is probably the greatest of them all. It ties directly into the illusions Richard Rock is performing on his show as well as the reality that is being manipulated in the murder investigation. And as the reader, your head will be spinning round and round, much like Danny's does. You know when you watch an illusionist that there's a logical explanation for how the "magic tricks" work, but the dizziness comes from taxing your brain to try to figure out HOW they work.
I was dizzy from all the spinning and smoke and mirrors and illusions Grabenstein created that challenged my brain in this plot. This is my kind of thrill ride! But Grabenstein makes use of this new setting working in a number of pop culture references to Monopoly. Combine the references with Danny's sarcasm in the narration, and you have the recipe for Grabenstein's signature humor!