Review

Mad Mouse: A John Ceepak Mystery

by Chris Grabenstein



MAD MOUSE is Chris Grabenstein's second novel featuring Danny
Boyle, the somewhat unlikely protagonist introduced in his debut
novel, TILT-A-WHIRL. Boyle is a part-time summer police officer in
Sea Haven, New Jersey, a resort town that booms in the summer and
more or less rolls up the sidewalks the day after Labor Day. Boyle,
inexperienced in his job and just about everything else, is
partnered with John Ceepak, an ex-soldier who retains a code of
honor that is admirable and an encyclopedic knowledge of a wide
range of topics.

It is not necessary to have read TILT-A-WHIRL before taking on MAD
MOUSE; Grabenstein divulges all you need to know in a few
sentences. Boyle, who is off duty, is hanging with some longtime
friends during Labor Day weekend when someone shoots paint balls at
them. The attack is designed to mask something far more deadly, as
Ceepak soon learns in his investigation of the incident.

A second attack results in more serious consequences, and when one
of Boyle's friends is found murdered, the stakes are much higher
for a number of reasons. Notwithstanding the deadly attacks, the
mayor of Sea Haven is reluctant to call off the Labor Day weekend
festivities due to the financial hit the town will take. The
pressure is on Boyle and Ceepak to determine the identity of the
killer, one who has ties to events in Boyle's distant past. With
some help from an unexpected source, Boyle solves the mystery and
the murderer is apprehended. However, the danger to Boyle and the
town is only beginning.

Grabenstein has fashioned a genuine mystery that is not only
engrossing and entertaining but also challenging, while providing
longtime fans of the mystery genre with what is arguably the
missing link between the Hardy Boys (and Ken Holt) of old and
Robert B. Parker's Spenser. With MAD MOUSE Grabenstein has repeated
the artistic success of TILT-A-WHIRL while simultaneously raising
expectations for his future work --- expectations that no doubt
will not only be met but exceeded.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 7, 2011

Mad Mouse: A John Ceepak Mystery
by Chris Grabenstein

  • Publication Date: May 14, 2006
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Carroll & Graf
  • ISBN-10: 0786717602
  • ISBN-13: 9780786717606