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Hell Hole (John Ceepak Series #4)

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Overview

Hell Hole is the fourth book in the mystery series featuring former hardened military PD and current Sea Haven, NJ police officer John Ceepak and his partner, wise-cracking Danny Boyle. In Hell Hole, Ceepak is confronted with his most personal case yet when he must investigate the alleged suicide of a military corporal who recently returned from Iraq. When it turns out that this "locked stall" rest stop suicide is anything but an open-and-shut case, Ceepak and Boyle realize that the corporal might have been ...

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Hell Hole (John Ceepak Series #4)

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Overview

Hell Hole is the fourth book in the mystery series featuring former hardened military PD and current Sea Haven, NJ police officer John Ceepak and his partner, wise-cracking Danny Boyle. In Hell Hole, Ceepak is confronted with his most personal case yet when he must investigate the alleged suicide of a military corporal who recently returned from Iraq. When it turns out that this "locked stall" rest stop suicide is anything but an open-and-shut case, Ceepak and Boyle realize that the corporal might have been privvy to information that opens up a much larger conspiracy that strikes at the heart of our involvement in the Middle East, and puts them on the wrong side of some very unpleasant people...

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

In bestseller Rendell's superb 21st Inspector Wexford mystery (after 2005's End in Tears), the British police detective investigates first one, then two male bodies that turn up on the old Grimble property in the insular hamlet of Flagford. Who were these men? Are their deaths related? Older people fill this wise and nuanced story—sleepy, bitter and disengaged—since no "current" crime is at stake, just these two literal skeletons from the past. Among the suspects in the bizarre case are dying fantasy novelist Owen Tredown, who lives with two loopy women, Claudia and Maeve, his divorced first and second wives, in a hideous Victorian manor. Outside groups—including members of the Somali community and itinerant fruit-pickers—tantalize with their secrets and idiosyncrasies. The suspense persists until the book's final sentences, when the last pieces of the puzzle click elegantly yet unexpectedly into place. (June)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Kirkus Reviews
Iraq war vet commits suicide...or is it murder?When young police officer Danny Boyle and his temporary partner Samantha (Sam) Starky answer a complaint about excessive noise, they find a group of hard-partying Iraq War vets. Just as Boyle and Starky are leaving, Sgt. Dale Dixon takes an emergency call about one of his men. At a rest area off the Garden State Parkway, Pvt. Shareef Smith is found in a bathroom stall with his brains blown out and drug paraphernalia strewn around, an apparent suicide. Something bothers Boyle, but he can't put his finger on it. It takes his regular partner, rugged John Ceepak, to explode the suicide theory and open his eyes to a wealth of suspects: a pair of chop-shop guys called Nicky and Mr. Shrimp; Smith's fellow grunt Worthington, whose powerful father plans a presidential run; and Dixon, who openly disliked Smith. Dixon gives Ceepak, himself an Iraq War veteran, 24 hours to solve the crime before he and his men raise hell. The methodical Ceepak makes progress, but the unexpected arrival of his alcoholic dad threatens to throw him off course. The key to the mystery may lie in Smith's missing camera. A solid entry in the Ceepak series (Whack a Mole, 2007, etc.). Grabenstein economically limns an array of characters and has a great ear for dialogue, but Boyle's first-person narrative sometimes strains for laughs.
From the Publisher
"Chris Grabenstein has raised the stakes in Hell Hole, the latest offering in the Ceepak mystery series. All the reasons I fell in love with the series are still there: Danny is still the Candide-like character through whom we see the honorable, lie-hating John Ceepak, the writing is still as smooth as glass and as honest as a boy scout, the dialogue still rings as true as a dinner bell. But in Hell Hole, Grabenstein has taken it to a whole new level. Like the boardwalk ride he describes, he drops the bottom out of what we think we know, and gives us a story that's as dark and mesmerizing as the Hell Hole itself. Don't let the sunny weather of Sea Haven fool you, Hell Hole is one spectacular, gripping ride." 

                    -Louise Ure, Shamus Award-winning author of  The Fault Tree

 

"You stand inside a circular chamber with a dozen other sadomasochists, when suddenly, the chamber starts spinning as the floor drops out. Before you know it, the centrifugal force has you pinned to the wall like a sock during the spin cycle of a washing machine. Dare to throw up and the centrifugal force glues your spew to your body.

When the nightmare finally ends, you agree to the ride operator's offer of a second ride at half price."

   —Mitch Lemus from Coney Island, Brooklyn's Playland By The Sea 

"Like its three predecessors, this one is narrated breezily by the cynical Boyle, and Grabenstein again shows his intimate knowledge of Jersey shore towns... But this series offers far more than a beach-book romp; HELL HOLE is taut  and satisfying crime fiction."

   —Booklist 

"[E]ntertaining... As ever, the fun derives chiefly from the comic byplay between Danny, who's young, inexperienced and interested in girls and beer, and Ceepak, a straight-shooter who speaks like a robot and adheres to a strict moral code...even the grumpiest won't be able to resist the occasional smile."

   —Publishers Weekly 

"A solid entry in the Ceepak series. Grabenstein... has a great ear for dialogue..."

   —Kirkus Reviews 

"Required Reading... perhaps the perfect nexus of war, politics and beachside bravado..."

   —New York Post 

"Hell Hole... is every bit as wonderful as the previous books....Grabenstein once again kept me up late with a thrilling novel full of twists and turns. The pacing in these books is perfect and Grabenstein really knows how to grab the reader's attention and run with it. It this book was music I would have the volume all the way up."

   —Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine 

"The wars in the Gulf and Bosnia have made a new generation acutely aware of soldiers' heroism. But, as Chris Grabenstein shows in his highly entertaining HELL HOLE, heroism can be co-opted by politicians and any coward can pretend to be brave.   The serious, by-the-book John Ceepak is a real hero who helped save lives and was honored for his bravery during his tour as a military police officer. Now he's a regular cop, serving in the resort town of Sea Haven, N.J., with his younger partner, the wise-cracking Danny Boyle. The two don't believe a young corporal, fresh from the Iraqi battlefield, committed suicide in a rest stop. Yet the soldier's squad, who are in a party-hearty mood at a local beach house, and a pompous senator are anxious to wrap up the investigation. Classified information, a band of dumb thieves, a drug dealer and a soldier who brags too much about his heroics provide a trail.   Grabenstein excels again at weaving a serious plot about people traumatized by violence with a sometimes light approach and well-placed humor. HELL HOLE —named after an amusement park ride, like his other novels—moves at a brisk pace as Grabenstein also dissects two lousy fathers and the bonds formed by soldiers.  The relationship between John and Danny, how each grows and learns from each other, continues to be the heart of Grabenstein's four novels.  It's not officially the summer without a visit to the New Jersey shore with Grabenstein."

   —Oline H. Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"Grabenstein has the same easy, deft touch, a gift for dialogue and the throw away line that makes you laugh when you are about a paragraph further down the page. He also has a way with a plot...There's a lot of other good material here about politics, the Patriot act, fathers and sons, loyalty and just straight up investigative police work that make this not just a rocket powered, but a textured, read. Grabenstein's prose may be rather straightforward but he relies on the New Jersey poet laureate, Bruce Springsteen, whenever he needs a shot of poetry. Humor, a good police story, and Bruce. To me, this is pretty much a perfect summer read."

   —Robin Agnew, Aunt Agatha's Mystery Bookstore, Ann Arbor

"This is the darkest of the Ceepak mysteries, the most complicated, and the best. HELL HOLE is a complex story, revealing not only how much Danny has changed, but how much it takes for Ceepak to be the man he has become. Grabenstein continues to develop, writing darker, more ambitious stories.

He hits his stride with HELL HOLE, a dark crime story of politics,  drugs, and family."

   —Lesa Holstine, Lesa's Book Critiques 

"Chris Grabenstein has done the impossible: he's created a mythic character who could plausibly walk among us. John Ceepak is what every police officer should be, and Danny Boyle grows with each book. HELL HOLE is typical Grabenstein, which is to say it hooks you with the first sentence and never lets go. I can't wait for the next one,

and the next, and the next..."

   —Jeff Cohen, author of Some Like It Hot Buttered 

"Chris Grabenstein has raised the stakes in HELL HOLE, the latest offering in the Ceepak mystery series. All the reasons I fell in love with the series are still there: Danny is still the Candide-like character through whom we see the honorable, lie-hating John Ceepak, the writing is still as smooth as glass and as honest as a boy scout, the dialogue still rings as true as a dinner bell. But in HELL HOLE, Grabenstein has taken it to a whole new level. Like the boardwalk ride he describes, he drops the bottom out of what we think we know, and gives us a story that's as dark and mesmerizing as the HELL HOLE itself. Don't let the sunny weather of Sea Haven fool you, HELL HOLE is one spectacular, gripping ride."

   —Louise Ure, Shamus Award-winning author of The Fault Tree 

"Dying is easy, comedy is hard. Chris Grabenstein manages to do both so deftly in this utterly enjoyable series it's impossible not to cry, Bravo!"

   —New York Times Bestselling author Ted Bell 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312565619
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 5/26/2009
  • Series: John Ceepak Series , #4
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 1,058,347
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is the award-winning author of four previous novels. Chris lives in New York City with his beloved wife J.J., three cats and a dog.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 25 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(14)

4 Star

(7)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 25 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 27, 2012

    A thrill ride of a read

    This is a great series, and very down to earth, with the Jersey Shore setting. If you like your action mixed with humor, you will enjoy the John Ceepak/Danny Boyle series. The only problem with these books is that most of earlier ones are out of print and only available through booksellers or on kindle.
    I can't wait for the next one!

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted August 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Four Down

    After enjoying tilt A Whirl, I set out to read all of the John Ceepak mysteries. Hell Hole is number 4 and one of my favorites. Boyle and Ceepak make a nice pair.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2008

    Excellent John Ceepak Book

    Yet another witty, mystery by Chris Grabenstein. Sea Haven is getting dangerous and John and Danny are there to keep the peace. This is a great read and lots of fun. Danny, as the narrator, always has the wit and Ceepak always has the wisdom. Can't wait to read Grabenstein's next mystery, next summer, Mind Scrambler. Excellent.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 14, 2008

    Jersey shore ride

    As a librarian, I've put out many of Grabenstein's previous mysteries because of their colorful covers 'Tilt a Whirl, Whack a mole'..but this was the first one I read. Ceepak's moral code lends a different feel than the usual bad cop/moral conflict. I liked the Doyle character, and loved the Springsteen quotes woven in. However: in NJ, you can not buy beer in the supermarket 'in one scene', and the gas on the Turnpike is cheaper,not more expensive because the price is regulated. Other than those points, there were many familiar Jersey settings.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2013

    Hhfghgvcfgggvggbghhh

    This book is a WASTE of your money




    Ps.would give it 0 stars if I could And say yes if you agree

    1 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2012

    Two MCs absolutely delightful. Great series. Hope we get another

    Two MCs absolutely delightful. Great series. Hope we get another soon.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2012

    Great author

    Stories grab you from the beginning.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 1, 2011

    He is always great read

    LOVE this author and all of his books!!!!

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Edge of your seat book!

    Chris Grabenstein has delivered yet another awesome John Ceepak novel. The novels are set in first person present as told by Danny Boyle, Ceepak's partner. If you can get past that then you are good to go. This novel kept me on the edge of my seat, my heart pounding. I want to hope that what occurs in this book does not actually occur in real life. It was scary. I will be reading Ceepak #5 immediately!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2013

    Awesome

    One of my favorite books

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    Stupid

    So much sware words

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2008

    An engaging police procedural

    He place is Sea Haven, New Jersey where young police officers Danny Boyle and Sam Starkey respond to a complaint. They arrive at the scene to find several Iraq War veterans noisily celebrating. The cops ask Sergeant Dale Dixon to keep it down. However, before they can leave, Dale receives a call that one of his men Corporal Shareef Smith is in trouble. Shareef¿s corpse is found in a rest room on the Garden State Parkway his brains blown out and evidence of drug use everywhere.---------------- Iraq War veteran Detective John Ceepak leads the official investigation with Danny as his junior partner. Almost immediately Ceepak tears apart the suicide theory, which leads to a squad of suspects amongst the deceased¿s brothers in arms and a couple of local chop-shop punks. As they work the case, Dixon warns Ceepak to solve it now or he will lead his unit on a rampage against any one he suspects is the killer.----------------------- This engaging police procedural contains an ensemble support cast besides the cops and the vets to include the standard bombastic senator running for president, thieves, drug dealers, and half of New Jersey making for a slack but entertaining story line. As with WHACK A MOLE and TILT A WHIRL, the comparisons between Ceepak and Boyle make the tale fun though at times that is overdone so different in attitude yet have forged a special camaraderie. Readers will appreciate their latest effort as Ceepak struggles with the case and the abrupt arrival of his dad while Boyle whines to solve it so he can chase a skirt instead of a killer.----------------- Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2014

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2012

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

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    Posted January 30, 2012

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