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Whack-a-Mole (John Ceepak Series #3)

Whack-a-Mole (John Ceepak Series #3)

4.3 47
by Chris Grabenstein

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An innocent discovery on the beach in Sea Haven leads to a string of gruesome clues and one chilling conclusion: a long dormant serial killer is poised to strike again.

In another fast-paced thrill ride, Danny and Ceepak, the cop with a strict moral code, race against the clock to undercover a hidden mole with a twisted code all his own. If they don't catch


An innocent discovery on the beach in Sea Haven leads to a string of gruesome clues and one chilling conclusion: a long dormant serial killer is poised to strike again.

In another fast-paced thrill ride, Danny and Ceepak, the cop with a strict moral code, race against the clock to undercover a hidden mole with a twisted code all his own. If they don't catch the killer in time, someone they love may become the next victim.

"Grabenstein has done his homework. His portrait of summer on the Jersey shore, replete with tacky boardwalk arcades, kitschy souvenir and T-shirt shops, manic city folk who bring their attytood on vacation, and hordes of young people awash in hormones, is virtually note-perfect. Another winner in the Jersey Shore series."

"Whack A Mole is as engaging and enjoyable as the debut Tilt-a-Whirl. Certainly more fun when read as part of a series, this title nevertheless stands on its own as a well-written mystery, complete with humor, humanity, a fast-moving plot, and memorable characters. Highly recommended."

"Grabenstein has crafted a solid mystery here. The manner in which the killer taunts the police is very unique—I will never be able to walk into a resort town gift shop again without thinking of this book—and the identity of the murderer, while plausible, will keep you guessing. I was absolutely sure I had his identity pegged and nailed, but I was totally wrong. This series has already won an Anthony Award in the course of its short history; after reading Whack A Mole, it would seem that Grabenstein, who undoubtedly will receive additional accolades, may need to add a trophy room to his domicile if he has not done so already."

"If Agatha Christie was around now, and lived in say, New Jersey, this is the kind of mystery she would weave... Despite all the clues, Grabenstein still managed to hang out enough red herrings to throw me off the track of the killer. Just like Christie, his writing is no frills, but there's enough twists and turns to keep you guessing, right to the end."

"Grabenstein's rapid-fire prose style, clipped dialogue, eye for precise detail, and heady pace generate an enjoyable suspense thriller. The cerebral, buttoned-down Ceepak plays well off the irrepressible, loyal Danny. Excerpts from nine Bruce Springsteen ballads stitched into the storyline add extra appeal for The Boss's fans. The Jersey Shore setting is picturesque and the likeable cop pals are developing into close-knit, effective crime fighters."

"Whack A Mole is one of those mysteries that flows. The pace is unrelenting, and the characters come alive. The plot moves along while keeping the identity of the killer hidden until the final pages. Whack A Mole is a terrific read."
—Steven Sill, I LOVE A MYSTERY

"When Kansas' BTK killer made contact with police after years of inactivity, his downfall followed quickly. Chris Grabenstein takes that premise and spins it forcefully in Whack A Mole, the third installment in his John Ceepak series set on the Jersey Shore. Not long after the story opens, policeman Ceepak—and Iraq war veteran who neither lies, cheats, nor steals, nor tolerates those who do—and his young police partner, Danny Boyle, begin to find body parts labeled by name and dating to the 1980s. But no murders had been reported. So what's going on?

The answers come as fast and twisty as one of Sea Haven's thrill rides, as Grabenstein continues to spin a rich story and to develop his main characters. Here's some perfect summer reading to take to the beach (or if you're heading north, to the shore)."

"Whack A Mole is filled with wonderful characters, is set in a great location, and has a first-rate murder mystery that grabs you, keeps you thinking and hits you with a surprise ending that will tear your heart out. It is a good standalone book, and fans of the series will not be disappointed. Whack A Mole is a fine read for any season."

Product Details

Chris Grabenstein
Publication date:
John Ceepak Series , #3
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
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File size:
761 KB

Meet the Author

Chris Grabenstein did improvisational comedy in New York City with Bruce Willis before James Patterson hired him to write advertising copy.

His first John Ceepak/Jersey Shore mystery TILT A WHIRL won the Anthony Award for Best First Mystery and was followed by MAD MOUSE, WHACK-A-MOLE, HELL HOLE, MIND SCRAMBLER, and ROLLING THUNDER, which is nominated for this year’s Watson Award for “best sidekick.”

Chris became a New York Times Best Selling author with his short story “The Demon In The Dunes,” which appeared in the anthology DEATH’S EXCELLENT VACATION, edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L.P. Kelner.

His fist book for middle grades readers, THE CROSSROADS, won both the 2008 Agatha and Anthony Awards. The second book in the series, THE HANGING HILL, also won the Agatha Award. The third Haunted Mystery, THE SMOKY CORRIDOR, was published by Random House in 2010. THE BLACK HEART CRYPT, will be published in 2011.

Chris’s new middle grades caper series, RILEY MACK AND THE OTHER KNOWN TROUBLEMAKERS (an Ocean’s Eleven starring eleven-year-olds) will be published by HarperCollins in January 2012.

Chris’s dog Fred, however, has better credits: Fred starred on Broadway in CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG.

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Whack a mole 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 47 reviews.
KenCady More than 1 year ago
Working my way through the John Ceepak novels, I found Tilt A Whirl to be a Five, Mad House to be a four, and am happy to report that Whack A Mole is a five. These entertaining beach characters keep the novels going while several new characters and new twists keep things rolling on the Boardwalk.
jb44 More than 1 year ago
I can't get enough of this series by Chris Grabenstein. This book is fun and easy to read. Just wnen you think you know "who done it", there is another twist to the story. The character, John Ceepak seemed a little corny at first but I have grown to admire his total honesty and highly principled way he lives his life. He shows that good guys win out in the end. Whenever I finish one of his books, I always wish that I had another one to read right away. Looking forward to John's next murder case.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The John Ceepak series are pretty fun, this one is no exception. I picked up the first one on discount and it got me hooked.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the third book in the series that I have read in the last 24 hours. It is a good mystery written with humor. I can't say fairer than that, can I?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A good page-turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought the first book because it was cheap, book two and three I bought because the first book was good. I am glad i bought them and you will be too. The author's voice is interesting, the characters well rounded, and the stories believable. Buy the book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amusing and entertaining. The author has a great knowledge of the Jersey Shore, which makes them even more interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it! Amusing and entertaining, kept me reading until I finished
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy the John Ceepak mysteries. They have great characters and storylines and are written with a sense of humor! I plan on reading all of them.
Drewano More than 1 year ago
This whole series (so far) has been wonderful.  It has some fun characters (stereotypical Jersey folks too), in a great setting, the beach, and keeps me guessing on who done it until the end.   From the start the author puts out an easy suspect but then starts to sprinkle in more to make it interesting, then when you think you’ve figured it out it’s time for one last turn.  “Wack A Mole” is a well written ride for the mystery lover who likes to laugh!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
John Ceepak is starting to relax a little in this third book. I am glad. Though I really do enjoy is rigidness, well....he isn't rigid, he is just spit-polished. Anyway, this book has a serial killer in it and the collection of evidence is interesting. This book will keep you guessing until the end. I am buying the next one ASAP!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed this light story
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Good book i think
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Buffman More than 1 year ago
love the characters. like the story. reads fast....... great for summer. the series does a good job of keeping you wanting to come back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
BettyG76 More than 1 year ago
Like the others of the series, loved the read. Was sorry to come to end of the 3 I bought. Looking forward to more.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book and its a great buy for 99¿. However, i didnt think it was as well written and planned out as the first two. The perp was still a surprise. The author is good at distracting you from the real perp with various shady and suspicious characters. But there were some other elements of the story that seemed incongruous.