07 June 2009

Review: Ceepak Mysteries by Chris Grabenstein

In the years before I started blogging, I kept notes about the books I read. Every once in a while I post mini-reviews of books I read in my pre-blogging days. Enjoy.

Grabenstein's Ceepak series is made for summer. John Ceepak, a former MP serving in Iraq, retired from the army with a slight case of post-traumatic stress syndrome and joined the Sea Haven, New Jersey, police force. Danny Boyle, a Sea Haven native, becomes a temporary daytime cop to earn some beer money and figure out what he wants to do now that he's out of college.

Ceepak is a Dudley Do-Right who lives by a strict code of conduct and is absolutely always prepared. Danny epitomizes the average twenty-something trying to make the transition from party-loving college boy to responsible adult. The interplay between the two personalities is one of the driving forces of the books.

The mysteries themselves are well conceived. The clues are all there but are intertwined with red herrings and incidental facts so it's not that easy to figure out what happened before Ceepak and Danny do. The first two books are the strongest in terms of the mystery, but all the books are terrific in terms of our heroes' stories.

The shore town of Sea Haven is a great backdrop for the novels. We get to know the boardwalk, the locals' favorite cafe, the best beaches, and a handful of recurring local residents. Because the Jersey Shore is a tourist magnet, there is always an influx of new people to keep the plots fresh.

The nature and descriptions of the murders pull this series a bit out of the cozy genre, but the characters and humor keep the books light enough to make them perfect for summer beach reading.

I listened to the entire series, which is read by Jeff Woodman. I can't imagine a better narrator for Ceepak and Danny. In fact, Woodman's work is so amazing that the books are not to be missed in audio. Unfortunately for some of you, I believe the series is an Audible.com exclusive.

The fifth book in the series is coming out on June 23.

Chris Grabenstein has a website with information about the series, including a map of Sea Haven. Grabenstein has written an adult thriller series and a spooky series for middle readers.

Tilt a Whirl won the 2006 Anthony Award for Best First Novel.


Julie P. 6/7/09, 8:04 AM  

These would be perfect for me to read at the shore-- we go to the Jersey Shore every year for a few days!

Nicole (Linus's Blanket) 6/7/09, 8:19 AM  

You read so many great series. I never know where to start. I think I would like to try the P.D. James Adam Dalgliesh series, but I have yet to figure out which is the first one!

Sandy Nawrot 6/7/09, 8:37 AM  

I've become invested in so many series, it's insane. These sound fabulous! Every now and again, I wake up and say "I need a new series to obsess over" (this is not a lie!) and I refer to my list of potentials. This one will go on the list! Thanks for digging up your notes!

Molly 6/7/09, 8:48 AM  

I wish I had the foresight to keep a book reading journal before my blogging days. I love that you share yours with us on occasion!

Louise 6/7/09, 8:59 AM  

I am always on the look out for new thriller-series, and this one sounds good. Its not so much for myself, but for my mother, who only reads mysteries and thrillers and since she and my father found out how to order books online, it has been impossible to find something she hasn't read already ;o)

Thoughts of Joy 6/7/09, 11:34 AM  

Thank you, Beth! You just helped me tremendously. :) I have a million books I want to read housed on my TBR Shelves, but have been swooped up in the world of ARCs these last few months. I keep looking at those shelves and wonder how I'm going to get to any of them until I'm done with the ARCs. I am now going to make it a priority - for one book at least. :)

You said, "Grabenstein's Ceepak series is made for summer." How can I deny the book a read? I can't pass it up when it is designed for summer and it is right around the corner! That would be ridiculous, wouldn't it? So, now I have one book chosen from my TBR Shelves that will (hopefully) be read this summer. Wooooo - I'm excited!

I am so pathetic.

Dorte H 6/7/09, 11:48 AM  

What a good idea to review a whole series in one post!

Anonymous,  6/7/09, 12:13 PM  

These really are great books to listen to! I didn't know another one was coming out soon, I'm happy to hear that.

Pretty much every year, I would start a reading log with comments on the books I read. Pretty much every year, I'd abandon it somewhere around February. I never made it past March.

I think one of the reasons I started my blog was to encourage me to keep going with my notes on the books I read! It's worked for almost 2 months now :-).

The Tome Traveller 6/7/09, 2:03 PM  

In the beginning my blog was meant to BE my reading notes. Hasn't quite turned out that way, I'm thinking I should start some paper notes!

Belle 6/7/09, 4:02 PM  

Thank you! I have three credits sitting in my Audible account (I recently upgraded my account & I guess that was the prize). I've been trying to decide what to use them on. It's always great to know that a book is wonderful on audio. I'm going to give this series a try.

bermudaonion 6/7/09, 7:31 PM  

This sounds like a great series. I wonder how many of your readers know who Dudley Do-Right is. I do!

Literary Feline 6/8/09, 1:14 AM  

I am not familiar with this series, but it does sound good. Perfect for summer reading. :-)

Margot 6/8/09, 1:14 PM  

I'm in on the Dudley Do-Right. I think if I were in a bookstore or a library I'd grab the first three books based on their covers. The series sounds good. I like knowing that all the books in a series are going to be worth the investment of money and time.

Yolanda 6/9/09, 8:30 PM  

I had been wondering aobut these books so thanks for enlightening me. I love your blog.

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