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Tilt-a-Whirl (John Ceepak Series #1)

Tilt-a-Whirl (John Ceepak Series #1)

4.2 110
by Chris Grabenstein

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There isn't much sun in the fun when a billionaire real estate tycoon is found murdered on the Tilt-A-Whirl at a seedy seaside amusement park in the otherwise quiet summer tourist town of Sea Haven. John Ceepak, a former MP just back from Iraq, has just joined the Sea Haven police department. The job offer came from an old army buddy who hoped to give Ceepak at


There isn't much sun in the fun when a billionaire real estate tycoon is found murdered on the Tilt-A-Whirl at a seedy seaside amusement park in the otherwise quiet summer tourist town of Sea Haven. John Ceepak, a former MP just back from Iraq, has just joined the Sea Haven police department. The job offer came from an old army buddy who hoped to give Ceepak at least a summer's worth of rest and relaxation to help him forget the horrors of war. Instead, Ceepak will head up the murder investigation. He is partnered with Danny Boyle, a 24-year-old part-time summer cop who doesn't carry a gun and only works with the police by day so he has enough pocket money left over to play with his beach buddies at night. In the first novel in a new series written in the spirit of Carl Hiaasen's work, the Tilt-A-Whirl murder pushes Ceepak's deep sense of honor and integrity to the limits, as unexpected twists and turns keep the truth spinning wildly in every direction.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Danny thought spending the season as a summer cop in the quiet tourist town of Sea Haven would be a great way to make a little beer money and meet some beach bunnies. But when a billionaire developer is found dead on the Tilt-a-Whirl and his blood-covered daughter runs right into Danny, he must confront the sordid side of Sea Haven head-on. Luckily, Danny has the help of his partner John Ceepak, an Iraqi war veteran whose personal code of honor and stiff morality hides a shrewd analytical mind. VERDICT Grabenstein's Anthony Award-winning debut is a gripping mystery that is like any unforgettable vacation—nice weather, unexpected twists, and colorful characters you'll want to revisit many times. [For the author's ebook edition go to chrisgrabenstein.com/adults/tilt.php.—Ed.] (LJ 9/15/05)
Publishers Weekly
An unusual setting (Sea Haven, a summer resort in an unnamed state that sounds a lot like New Jersey) and two police protagonists with contrasting personalities lift Grabenstein's debut mystery. A former military policeman in Iraq, John Ceepak has brought his considerable physical strength, crime-solving skills and morality to the beachside town; "a cop 24/7," he spends his spare time reading about forensics and watching true-crime shows on TV. Assisting Ceepak is 24-year-old Danny Boyle, a part-time summer cop who joined the force largely to impress college girls. The only thing they have in common is a love for Bruce Springsteen. But the murder of a Trump-like real estate magnate, knifed to death while meeting his young daughter at the town's sleazy amusement park, brings the unlikely pair of police officers closer together. Boyle's first-person narration can occasionally sound too cute for comfort, but his increasing respect for police work in general and Ceepak's combination of abilities in particular provide a good deal of the book's satisfaction. Agent, Eric Myers. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Fireworks down by the shore, and in the amusement park, a good cop almost gets taken for a ride. Just back from Iraq where he served as an MP, and where he experienced enough war horrors to corrode the souls of most, John Ceepak somehow manages to remain surprisingly level-headed. Still, a change would be beneficial, argues old friend and comrade-in-arms Chief Cosgrove of the Sea Haven PD. He hires Ceepak, supplies him with a 24-year-old part-timer, wide-eyed Danny Boyle, as a partner, and for a time things are tranquil in sunny Sea Haven. A 12-year-old girl changes everything. Blood-spattered and distraught, she emerges suddenly from Sea Haven's tiny amusement park, screaming, "He killed my father." When Ashley Hart's father turns out to be Reginald Hart, billionaire, tranquility takes a holiday. Placed by default in charge of the high profile investigation (Sea Haven PD not being rich in homicide experience), Ceepak appears at first to be in over his head, easily misled, sent careening down one unproductive garden path after another to the consternation of young Danny, primed for hero worship. But in a complex case in which almost nothing is what it seems, one thing is: Ceepak's intelligent, principled, get-the-job-done steadiness. This first book in a promising series flounders here and there but is ultimately saved by the strength of Grabenstein's protagonist.

Product Details

Avalon Publishing Group
Publication date:
John Ceepak Series , #1
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

Chris Grabenstein is the Anthony and Agatha Award-winning author of the critically acclaimed thrill reads Tilt A Whirl, Mad Mouse, Whack A Mole, Hell Hole, Mind Scrambler, and Rolling Thunder, plus the young adult chillers The Crossroads and The Hanging Hill. He lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

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Tilt a Whirl 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The story is an honest mystery not a romance book as so many titles are lately. The plot is fresh. The characters seem real--they change and grow. The narrator is a part-time, nonprofessional police officer. The chief investigator is an ex-military police officer who has been recruited by his former military comrade, now Chief of Police. The setting is a small New Jersey beach and tourist community on the ocean. The reported crimes include murder, kidnapping and tricycle theft. I very much enjoyed this story and urge you to read it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story for the money. Characters are interesting, I ended up buying the other 2 John Ceepak mysteries.
canefieldhunter More than 1 year ago
Chris Grabenstein weaves many mysteries in "Tilt-A-Whirl" with the ending being the climax of a wonderful reading experience.
Buffman More than 1 year ago
A fast read with good characters in a decent story. A worthy series keeping you wanting to read more. Definitely a good summer read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fun quick read. Good sense of humor. Great depiction of typical boardwalk shops and summer at the shore.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Tried this new (to me) author and liked his style. I really like thetwo main characters-Danny and Ceepak- and hope he keeps writing for them.
NookloverMH More than 1 year ago
This was a great read. Couldn't put it down. Just when you think everything is tied up and the crime is solved, its like riding the tilt a whirl another spin is put on the case. Will definitely be looking for more books by Chris Grabenstein.
Pandora Luck More than 1 year ago
I can see why this book won an award. Great characters and well written.
modmomma More than 1 year ago
what great characters! it so much reminded me of carl hiaasen's writings.book two has already been purchased.
sul More than 1 year ago
Interesting from start to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this story and all the unexpected twists and turns! Atfer I finished it, I immediately bought the 2nd in the series but, while fun, I found the 2nd one a little more predictable. Im now buying the 3rd in the series. Fun reads and only 99¿.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Stumbled on this series. Bought this one-it is the 1st in the series-and it sounded good, plus it was only .99 so I bought it hoping I'd like it. Well turned out I LOVED it! Gave it to my husband and he did too. The characters are believeable and I thought I had it figured out several times-I was wrong and didnt see the ending coming till it was actually revealed! I am currently half way thru the 4th book Hell Hole, and have l am hooked on this Ceepak Series! Many twists n turns in every book n akways has me guessing. I have bought all 8 books in the series-they are that good! I cannot wait for more! Give Tilt-A-Whirl a chance, its a great book esp for .99 & you wont be able to put it down. I have found another author I love and so will you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author brings an entertaining assortment of characters to life: from the seedy underclass to the ultra-rich; a part-time, inexperienced cop paired with a heroic cop in the John Wayne mold; and the various and sundry citizens that live in a summer resort town in New Jersey. The thread that ties them all together is the story's narrator, who keeps you chuckling with his hilarious descriptions and observations, long after you've turned the pages. Speaking of turning pages, the many plot twists and turns, shocks and surprises will keep you flipping them for more. A very enjoyable read, indeed.
Readerchick64 More than 1 year ago
This book has twists I did not expect and a rather jarring last look at the "victim". Even though I usually don't, I liked the 3rd person narration of the story. I also enjoyed getting to know Ceepak. Hope you do, too.
Cromag More than 1 year ago
Excellent story, believable characters, plot twists that make sense and don't just come out of thin air. The author captures the feel of a typical "Jersey shore" town -- not Atlantic City, but not too run down. A great start to the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was really good. So many twists and turns. I thought I figured out who the killer was, and then it changed over and over. When they revealed who the killer was I was like WHAT? i didn't see that one coming. Good book. I'm going to read his other books as well. Glad my friend got me this book! I recommend it!
BettyG76 More than 1 year ago
Good Read, I enjoy the characters.
123kaci More than 1 year ago
I have read subsequent novels and enjoyed them equally. Light reading and highly entertaining!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Got this book for my nook because I grew up summers on the Jersey shore. It was like being there again. (without the bodies or course) John Ceepak and his rookie buddy Danny are perfect. I got all the other books too. Loved them all. Interesting characters, good mystery and of course the jersey turnpike and the Parkway.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had no problem getting engrossed in this book I love a good series. Tons of humor and a story thatbkeeps you guessing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very well writen,lots of twists and turns
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful light read, and well written. Buy it, you will enjoy it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book -- held my interest from the very first page and I loved the ending.
sls126 More than 1 year ago
If you like Janet Evanovich you'll like this series.