First Line: The day starts like so many others with John Ceepak: We bust an eight-year-old girl for wearing high heels.
It's time for the grand opening run of Rolling Thunder, a huge wooden roller coaster on the boardwalk in Sea Haven, New Jersey. Police officers John Ceepak and Danny Boyle are checking out the people standing in line, weeding out those who are trying to cheat the height requirement when Rolling Thunder begins its maiden run, loaded with VIPs. The roller coaster comes to a screeching halt when the owner's wife has a heart attack.
Mrs. O'Malley's death is labeled a tragic accident until suspicions of foul play begin to rise, and when a local beauty's corpse is found, Ceepak and Boyle find themselves searching for a murderer.
If you like wonderful characters, action sequences that can curl your hair, and a delicious sense of humor, you can't go wrong with Chris Grabenstein's Ceepak and Boyle mystery series. Ceepak is the straight arrow, "an ex-military man who looks like he could still jump out of a helicopter with a Humvee strapped to his back." Young Danny Boyle looks up to him as a father figure, and he's the older man's Watson-like sidekick who takes us through their investigations. Danny has been learning and taking on more responsibility with each book, and it's a pleasure to watch him grow. Even Ceepak the Magnificent is slowly being revealed-- mostly through the presence of his no-good father, Joe. Once you learn about Joe, you know why straight-and-narrow Ceepak doesn't contradict people when they denigrate their parents.
Grabenstein is an expert with his fast-paced stories, and Rolling Thunder is no exception. The problem in this installment is the O'Malley clan. Most of the O'Malleys are unpleasant (starting with the father), most of them have a motive for committing the crimes, but it takes time for Ceepak and Boyle to work their way through them-- and that clock is ticking away precious minutes.
New Jersey seems to have its own special breed of mystery writers with a wonderful sense of humor. Chris Grabenstein, Brad Parks, and Jeffrey Cohen immediately spring to mind. Whenever I need a break from the psychologically dark crime fiction that I read, I know I can journey to Sea Haven to experience a fun and exciting investigation with two of my favorite policemen: John Ceepak and Danny Boyle.
Rolling Thunder by Chris Grabenstein
Pegasus Books © 2012
eBook, 294 pages
Police Procedural/Humorous Mystery, #6 Ceepak and Boyle mystery
Source: Purchased from Amazon