Thursday, July 23, 2015

Mind Scrambler by Chris Grabenstein

First Lines: I bumped into my old girlfriend Katie Landry this afternoon. Six hours later, she was dead.

John Ceepak and Danny Boyle are in Atlantic City when Danny runs into a former girlfriend. Katie's working for a magician, and her life seems to be going great. Danny is happy for her, but his happiness turns to sorrow when Katie is found strangled to death. Ceepak and Boyle will be staying in Atlantic City longer than they'd planned. They have Katie's murder to solve-- and lives to save.

I always enjoy Chris Grabenstein's Ceepak and Boyle mysteries, and Mind Scrambler was no exception. 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.

Mind Scrambler by Chris Grabenstein
ISBN: 9780312382315
Minotaur Books © 2009
Hardcover, 352 pages

Police Procedural/Humorous, #5 Ceepak and Boyle mystery
Rating: B+
Source: Purchased from Book Outlet. 


  1. I've always felt the same way about Ceepak, Cathy! Still, he is a great character, and I do like the Ceepak/Boyle dynamic. The stories themselves are solid, too. Glad you enjoyed this one.

    1. Ceepak is a great character, and the dynamic between him and Danny is wonderful. I'm just hoping that he unwinds when he's alone with his wife! LOL

  2. This one was a little hard because of the death of Katie. And the fact that we already had met her. Danny's grief was so real and I think it causes him to be more 'grown-up' if you will in later books. As to your thoughts about Ceepak, well, it's been a while since I read the books that come after this, but it seems to me that he does loosen up a bit. However, he is Ceepak after all. LOL

    1. Yes, he is Ceepak, and I don't want him to change... I'd just like to have a tiny speck of proof that he's more like you and me when he's alone with his wife. :-)

      And this entire series has been about Danny growing up, I think. It's fantastic that he found such a wonderful role model.


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