John Ceepak and Danny Boyle are making the rounds in Atlantic City when Danny runs into his former crush, Katie. She's working for a magician named Rock, and her life seems to be in better order than Boyle could have hoped for. But Ceepak and Boyle soon find themselves on another case when Katie is found strangled to death. It is up to Ceepak and Boyle to find out who killed her. Their lives and the lives of others depend on it.
"Grabenstein's sharply arch prose and steady plotting makes Ceepak's fifth compulsively readable." - Kirkus Reviews
About 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.
Chris Grabenstein is an award-winning author. His debut John Ceepak mystery Tilt-A-Whirl was included on several "Best Mysteries of 2005" lists and won the Anthony Award for "Best First Mystery." Mad Mouse, the second series title, was named one of the ten best mysteries of 2006 by Kirkus. Chris is also the author of the Christmas thrillers Slay Ride and its sequel Hell for the Holidays. Chris lives in New York City with his beloved wife J.J., three cats and a dog.
Read an Excerpt
By Chris Grabenstein
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2009 Chris Grabenstein
All rights reserved.
I bumped into my old girlfriend Katie Landry this afternoon. Six hours later, she was dead.
We met in the lobby of the Xanadu hotel and casino down in Atlantic City.
"Danny?" She had seen me first.
"Hey." I was sort of surprised. I don't think Katie had set foot inside the Garden State for more than a year, not since she took off for sunny California.
As Katie walked across the extremely carpeted lobby, I noticed she still had a slight limp — a souvenir left over from her last summer in Sea Haven, the New Jersey resort town we both used to call home.
She kissed me. On the cheek. The way cousins do — except, you know, in Arkansas.
"It's so good to see you!" she said.
"Yeah. You, too." Then I kissed her cheek and we looked French. Maybe Russian.
She stepped back and gave me the once-over. "Danny Boyle! You look great!"
"Thanks. So do you!"
She did, too. Katie had always been the most beautiful woman in the world, ever since we met in third grade. I think it's her eyes. They're emeralds — all green and sparkly. And her smile? The Mona Lisa gets jealous.
"Where's Ceepak?" she asked. "You guys still partners?"
"Yeah. He's across the street in the bus depot, dealing with the driver."
John Ceepak and I are cops with the Sea Haven PD. It's early October, the off-season down the Jersey shore, so we're on a week of what they call administrative leave, taking care of some loose ends, helping with an out-of-state homicide trial.
"We came down on the Coast City bus," I said. "The driver was doing seventy on the straightaways."
"Is that a code violation?"
"Big-time. Posted speed limit is sixty-five from milepost eighty south to milepost twenty-seven."
A former MP who served in Iraq, John Ceepak lives his life in strict compliance with the West Point honor code: He will not lie, cheat, or steal, nor tolerate those who do. Speeding on the Garden State Parkway? Definitely cheating.
"He got married, you know."
"Yeah. Olivia told me. Rita, right?"
Olivia Chibbs is one of our mutual friends back home. She used to work with Ceepak's wife, Rita, at Morgan's Surf and Turf, this classy restaurant where they fold the napkins to look like birds. Classy birds.
"So what're you doing in A.C?" I asked.
"I was going to call," she started.
"Definitely," I said so Katie wouldn't have to further violate Ceepak's code and tell me another lie.
When last we spoke — oh, maybe fifteen months ago — Katie was working on her master's degree in elementary education at this college out in California. Before that, she had been a kindergarten teacher and worked summers at Salt Water Tammy's.
She had also been my girlfriend for most of August that last summer we spent together.
"So, what's the job?" I asked to avoid all the stuff I didn't want to talk about.
"Mary Poppins," she said, hugging a stack of books close to her chest.
I wished I were a book.
"I'm the nanny and tutor for Richard Rock's kids." She flicked her blazing red hair sideways to indicate an illuminated poster for a show called "Rock 'n Wow!" currently playing at the Xanadu's Shalimar Theater. Richard Rock, the star of the show, was a handsome dude in a tuxedo and cowboy hat.
"He's a magician," Katie explained.
"Actually an illusionist."
A couple months ago, Olivia had told me Katie was dating some new guy out in California. That was fine by me. I had been doing the same thing.
With girls, not guys. Jersey girls. Nothing too serious, but then again, I'm twenty-five and there are plenty of fish in the sea. Jellyfish, stingrays, sharks, electric eels.
"They mostly do Vegas," said Katie.
"Hmm?" I said because I'd drifted off on that whole fishing expedition.
"The Rocks. This is their first gig in Atlantic City. They're based out of LA. Hired me a couple weeks ago. Hey, you should come see the show. It's very wholesome. Good, clean family fun."
Rats. I had been hoping for G-strings and feathered headdresses.
"I'd love to," I said anyway.
"You busy tonight? I could score you guys a couple tickets."
"Cool. I need to check with Ceepak first. We're working on this thing."
"How come you're not in uniform?"
"It's an unofficial thing."
"Nah. We're actually helping out a prosecuting attorney up in Ohio. Taking a deposition from an Atlantic City drifter who's on the witness list because he once shared a jail cell with the accused."
"What's the charge?"
And I left out the juiciest part: the defendant is this bitter old alkie named Joseph Ceepak — my partner's father. The guy we're deposing here in Atlantic City is a migrant con artist named Gary Burdick (aka Barry Gerduck, aka Larry Murdoch, aka various other lame aliases that all sound like his real name). Burdick once shared a drunk tank with Ceepak's old man on a night when Mr. C totally spilled the beans and bragged about how he got away with, well, murder. Burdick knows all sorts of incriminating details, enough to lock up Mr. Ceepak for life, which, trust me, would be a good thing for his son, not to mention the rest of us.
Katie took a quick glance at her wristwatch. If you want to know what time it is in Atlantic City, you need to carry a watch or a cell phone because there are no clocks on the casino walls and no windows to let you know whether the sun is up, down, or sideways.
"Katie?" a little girl hollered from behind a shimmering gold column. "Katie!" She popped out, then hid again. I think she was playing peekaboo. Either that or perfecting her obnoxiousness.
"I need to run," said Katie.
"One of yours?"
"Yep. Britney Rock."
Britney skipped-to-her-lou across the carpet. She was carrying a huge slab of peanut brittle with chomp marks in it — the kind cartoon dogs bite into people's pants. I pegged Britney to be eight or nine. Blond with a mouthful of braces.
"Hi," I said, and gave her a little finger wave.
"Who's this guy?" she asked Katie.
The nine-year-old made a rolling arm gesture to indicate she needed more information. "And?"
"He's an old friend."
"He was never like your boyfriend or anything, was he?"
Katie didn't answer.
"'Cause Jake's cuter."
"Jake?" I said, as nonchalantly as possible.
Katie shook her head. "He's this guy in the show."
"He's a hottie," said Britney. "Total stud muffin."
I bent down to brat level. "Hey, you know what? Katie and I have known each other ever since we were younger than you!" I sounded so much like Mr. Rogers I should've been wearing a cardigan.
The kid crinkled her nose to let me know I had just totally grossed her out.
"Where's your brother?" Katie asked. Her eyes swept across the lobby to the Kubla Khandy Shoppe, so named, I figured, because, according to some poem an English teacher made me memorize once, Xanadu was where Kubla Khan his stately pleasure dome did decree. "Britney? Where is Richie?"
"I dunno. I'm not the nanny."
Katie did not whack the mouthy midget like I might've. She had always been good with kids. Probably why she was so good with me. No matter what, Katie Landry stayed sweeter than pancake syrup sucked out of its tub through a straw, something my buddy Jess and I did one morning at Burger King when we both ordered the French toast sticks.
"Britney?" Katie said patiently. "You promised you'd keep an eye on your brother if I let you guys go into the candy store."
"Whoops. Sorry. Forgot."
"Danny, I've gotta run."
"There he is!" the girl screeched, and pointed at a cute kid who had to be her little brother: blond mop top, blue eyes, and a super-sized smile smudged with fudge.
"Hi, Katie!" the boy waved. His hands looked like he'd been soaking them in chocolate fondue pots.
"Richie!" said his sister. "You are a mess!" She stomped over to harass him.
"Hope the Rocks pay well," I said.
"More than my last teaching job."
"I really need to run, Danny. The kids are in the show."
"Does their father make them disappear?"
"No. They do this quick bit at the beginning."
The boy scampered across the carpet to tug on Katie's belt loops. I pegged him to be about six and already in love.
"Can we go for a ride in a chariot again?"
Katie clued me in: "That's what he calls the rolling chairs out on the boardwalk."
The rolling chairs are these canopied wicker love seats on wheels. Been an Atlantic City fixture since forever. You pay a sweaty person in a polo shirt to push you where you want to go. The boardwalk here is about four miles long. Wheeled chairs are a good thing.
"Not right now, Richie. Maybe later. After you finish your homework."
"Okay." He skipped off to join his sister, who was hunkered down near a burbling fountain contemplating a coin dive.
"What time do you guys go on?" I asked.
"We need to talk."
Katie and I used to talk all the time, even before we started dating. Now, once a year, she sends me a Christmas card. I send her one of those free e-mail deals with the dogs singing "Feliz Navidad."
"They're nice people," Katie said. "The Rocks ..."
Her words just sort of petered out.
"But?" I said.
"I don't want to say anything bad ..."
Her eyes were locked on Britney and Richie.
"Are you okay, Katie?"
"Yeah. Fine. It's just — families. You never know who's telling the truth. We should talk."
"Ceepak and I are heading back to Sea Haven tomorrow afternoon."
"How about breakfast?"
"Do you know a good buffet?"
Katie grinned. "Down the Boardwalk. At Bally's. All you can eat for fifteen dollars. Omelets made to order. Six kinds of sausage."
"Great. I won't wear a belt."
"How's nine?" she asked. "I have to take care of the kids' breakfast first."
"Katie?" the girl screamed. "Richie drank scum water!"
I reached out, touched her arm. "Nine will be fine."
"Great. Gotta go." She dashed over to make sure the kids didn't take a bath in the fountain.
If I had known "nine will be fine" would be the last thing I ever said to Katie Landry, I probably wouldn't have rhymed it like that.CHAPTER 2
I stood in the hotel lobby staring at the poster of the cocky cowboy illusionist and all I could think of was this new Springsteen song called "Magic":
I got a shiny saw blade
All I needs' a volunteer
I'll cut you in half
While you're smiling ear to ear
Plus, Richard Rock didn't look like any magician I'd ever seen. For one thing, he was blond, even blonder than his kids. Magicians are usually dark and brooding. He was also all "aw, shucks" and "howdy" looking — not mysterious or menacing. His smile was more like a smug cowboy smirk coupled with a wide-open-spaces squint of the eyes. All in all, Richard Rock looked like a local TV weatherman from Wyoming, maybe Montana — one of the rectangle states — who thought he was the hottest thing in town. Either that or president of the I Felta Thigh fraternity up at Rutgers.
"Danny?" Ceepak had come into the hotel while I was staring at the poster. "I didn't know you were interested in magic."
"I'm not. Katie's here. Working for this Richard Rock guy."
Ceepak, of course, knew Katie. He's the one who made sure she made it to the hospital that Labor Day weekend we'd all rather forget.
"Is Katie one of the magician's assistants?"
I shook my head. "Nanny for his kids."
"Good for her. I'm quite familiar with Richard Rock," said Ceepak. "Puts on a very wholesome, family-friendly show. His wife is his costar."
I wasn't surprised Ceepak knew more about Richard Rock than I ever cared to. My partner's interests are many, varied, and — sometimes — decidedly weird.
"You've seen his act?" I asked.
"Roger that. His Vegas TV special came on the Discovery Channel one night after Forensic Files. Rita and I enjoyed it immensely. Especially when he moved Mount McKinley from Alaska to the parking lot of the MGM Grand Hotel."
"How'd he do that?"
"Very convincingly. Do we have our room?"
"Yeah." I handed him a plastic card key. We were sharing a standard room. Two beds. If I got lucky with a showgirl, I could hang a tie on the doorknob to alert him. Only, I didn't pack a tie.
Ceepak, however, was wearing one. In fact, he was the only person in the whole lobby not pushing a luggage cart or tapping computer keys who had actually dressed up to come to the Xanadu: natty blue blazer, Brooks Brothers white shirt, sensibly striped tie, and khaki dress pants with a crease so sharp it could thin-slice cheese at a deli. Ceepak thought this Atlantic City casino would be like the ones he'd seen in James Bond movies. Swanky. Sophisticated. Everybody in tuxedos and evening gowns sipping martinis.
Instead, we've got folks decked out in whatever leisure wear has the waistband that currently fits. Most of the people walking across the sea of red-and-gold carpet looked like plus-size models from the Slobs "R" Us catalog. Baggy sweatpants, sleeveless T-shirts, cargo shorts, mismatched plaids, horizontal stripes — nothing tucked in.
I looked like I belonged.
"Katie can get us tickets to the show," I said.
"Awesome. I wish I had brought Rita along."
"You want to call her?" Sea Haven was only about an hour north of Atlantic City.
Ceepak shook his head. "Negative. School night."
Right. His adopted son, T. J. Lapscynski-Ceepak (poor kid, his last name sounded like a disease), is a senior at Sea Haven High this fall. Tomorrow's Tuesday. Mom and Dad can't both be down in Atlantic City gambling away his college fund — not when there's trigonometry homework to be done.
Ceepak checked his wristwatch.
"What time is the next performance?"
"Twenty-hundred hours." I used the military-clock lingo to make it easier on Ceepak.
He kept staring at his wrist, doing the math. "That'll work. We're scheduled to meet with Mr. Burdick in the Starbucks downstairs at fifteen-thirty."
I nodded because, finally, after all this time with Ceepak, I could do the military-to-real-world clock conversions in my head: We were meeting Burdick at 3:30 PM.
"The stenographer will arrive at sixteen-hundred hours."
"We should have ample time to take his deposition and rendezvous with Miss Landry."
"I told Katie I'd do breakfast with her tomorrow at nine."
"That should not pose a problem. I have the court reporter on deck for eleven, should we or the prosecuting attorney have follow-up questions."
"Burdick's cool with sticking around town till we're all done?"
"Roger that. Apparently, Mr. Burdick is not very fond of my father."
I could relate. I met the guy once. Joe "Six-pack" Ceepak has that effect on people.
"Perhaps," said Ceepak, "Mr. Burdick would enjoy seeing the show with us."
"He might. There's a two-drink minimum."
"One can always order orange juice or seltzer, Danny."
Yeah. Seven bucks for bubble water. Viva Las Vegas.
"It's fifteen-ten now. Official check-in time was posted as three PM." Ceepak always knows all the rules. "Shall we take our bags up to the room?" he suggested.
We both packed pretty light for our overnight trip. I tossed together a gym bag with clean underwear, socks, and a shaving kit. I had planned on buying a fresh T-shirt for the bus ride home. Something like I Got Lucky in AC.
"What floor are we on?" Ceepak asked.
"Ten," I said. "The elevators are way over there."
To get to our elevator bank, we needed to hike five miles across a minefield of slot machines.
By the way — you don't have to yank down on a handle to send the cherries spinning anymore. You just sit on a stool and bop a button. The new-style machines don't pay out coins, either. They issue "credits" on a slip of paper. It's a lot like getting a gift receipt at Wal-Mart. If you miss the sound of tumbling quarters when you hit the jackpot, not to worry — hidden speakers simulate the plink and clink of cascading coins in full stereo surround sound.
"Danny?" Ceepak head-gestured up a lane between two rows of nickel-slot machines sporting a Cleopatra theme. These bad girls had five spinning reels, instead of the more traditional three, and about twenty different lines zigging and zagging across the pictograms of pythons and sphinxes and alligators and Nile river fruit that must've meant something to the cranky Italian grandmothers feeding the machines their debit cards.
"Third machine on the left," Ceepak muttered. He saw something. Something besides flashing lights and twirling hieroglyphics. He gave me a slight head bob so I'd see it, too.
Young dude. Pretending to pick up something off the floor very close to a stool where a white-haired lady — who looked a lot like George Washington on a day when his wooden teeth were giving him splinters — sat, eyes fixated on her spinning blurs and flashing lines.
"Purse," Ceepak whispered.
"Accomplice." He tilted his head slightly to the right.
Across from the guy rummaging around on the floor, another guy was opening up a gym bag. I figured the guy working the "oops, I dropped my nickel" scam on the carpet was supposed to snag the handbag, then toss it off to his accomplice, who'd stash it in his Adidas tote and hightail it out of the casino.
Excerpted from Mind Scrambler by Chris Grabenstein. Copyright © 2009 Chris Grabenstein. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
One of my faves!
I love the characters and locations of these books!! It takes me back to vacations on LBI and trips to AC, Steel Pier, etc.
I found this series last month and I'm reading them in order. They keep getting better and better. This is the best (IMO) so far. I really like the interplay between Ceepak and Danny, and the stories are pretty believable. I am looking forward to the next volume.
All of his books have been great reads. You can relate to the main characters.
Since I read the first Ceepak novel, Tilt A Whirl, I have been reading the rest of the series and enjoying each novel. Until this one. Author Grabenstein takes the action to Atlantic City,instead of the cute town of Sea Haven. Big mistake,in my opinion, as Sea Haven added charm to the series. He then embarks on a convoluted tale of a magician and a murder, but somehow we get sidetracked into child prostitution. In my opinion, Mind Scrambler is a mess. I was quite disappointed, having looked forward to another enjoyable novel. I have the next book in the series on hand, but am not as interested in opening it as I was before Mind Scrambler.
another exciting John Ceepak novel with an interesting storyline and its usual twists and turns i enjoy these books and they are a good quick read for the beach or wherever you enjoy reading an entertaining book.
Although opposites in outlook, Sea Haven, New Jersey police partners John Ceepak and Danny Boyle are on leave in Atlantic City. They are not there to gamble, but instead are taking a disposition in hopes of helping Ceepak's estranged dad who has been charged with murder in Ohio. Boyle runs into former girlfriend Katie Landry, who is the nanny of Richie and Britney, the children of Xanadu headliner magician Richard Rock and his wife. Katie is dating a Xanadu bouncer but agrees to go for drinks with Danny. Their case abruptly ends when Ceepak's dad pleads guilty. Rock's manager hires the two cops as extra security due to a rumor that the Milton Berle of magicians (due to stealing their acts) Lady Jasmine is attending. Katie and Jake vanish while Rock performs his final act geared to get people into the casino; Boyle goes backstage to find Katie murdered. The Atlantic City police deputize the two Sea Haven cops as more homicides occur. The latest John Ceepak investigation (see HELL HOLE) is a terrific entry as the by the book cop and his breaking the rules partner may be off duty, but quickly become embroiled in a murder mystery. The story line is fast-paced from the onset, but it is the camaraderie between the two polar opposite cops that once again make for an entertaining tale. Harriet Klausner
I thought it was an excellent installment in the series. Yes, it was a different environment, and the underlying crimes are disgusting, but that's probably what I liked about it - it was much darker and grittier and more bad stuff happens than in the Sea Haven based stories.There were points where I wanted to smack some of the characters for being so frustrating and annoying and full-of-lies. Ceepak and Danny do make it through, but if it wasn't for the fact that they are essential to the series so you know they'll figure it out eventually, you might be worried that the bad guys will get away with their crimes.
I always enjoy this series, but I'm having a hard time identifying exactly why.First, I haven't read anything else quite like them, even though I've read quite a range of mysteries.They are more character driven and somehow softer than most procedurals, while clearly having more of an edge than cozies (not to mention featuring two police officers). This book seemed harsher than the previous books, but somehow it didn't cross the line into icky. I give Grabenstein major credit for this, thinking back over the story.The setting on the Jersey Shore is also unusual for me. I enjoy the link to the various amusement park rides the books are named for, particularly this book's Mind Scrambler. This time, the story wanders to Atlantic City, which is more usual mystery stomping grounds (or it felt that way, even though I can't think of any specific examples).The best things about these books are the two lead characters: John Ceepak and Danny Boyle. John Ceepak lives his life by a strict code of honor, and expects the same from those around him. His partner (Danny Boyle)describes him as the worlds oldest Eagle Scout. He's always perceptive and able to think his way to the right conclusion. Again, I give Grabenstein credit for making this work, because it could have been very tedious. In this book, his code of honor is tested, more so than we've seen. Watching him struggle through this adds further depth to his character.Danny Boyle started as a somewhat shallow, carefree young man in search of an easy summer job. Ceepak has had a significant effect on him, and he is maturing very nicely. He has just the right touch of hero worship as he narrates the story, contrasting what he is able to figure out with the conclusions that Ceepak draws. This time, Danny is drawn into the mystery in a very personal way, even being considered a suspect for a period of time. Watching him balance between Danny the individual and Danny the police officer made for good reading.I also want to mention the narrator, Jeff Woodman. He does a fantastic job of bringing these books to life.I recommend reading this series in order, since Danny's growth is such a major part of the books for me.
MIND SCRAMBLER is book number five in the John Ceepak mystery series. In this caper, Danny (the book's voice) and Ceepak are in Atlantic City deposing a witness set to testify against Ceepak's father. They are doing this deposition purely as a favor to the prosecutor over in Cuyahoga County, Ohio. While they are there, an old friend of Danny's shows up. She's working for Atlantic City's famous Richard Rock, an illusionist, and his wife, Jessica Rock, as their nanny. Danny's friend calls him and tells him she needs to speak with him privately, but before Danny can connect with her, she's murdered. Danny and Ceepak are out-of-towners, but they aren't going to stand by and be wallflowers. They are still law enforcement agents in the state of New Jersey, so they'll pitch in and help bring the murderer to justice. I honestly do not know how Chris Grabenstein manages to make every Ceepak book better than the one before it. I read every one thinking there is NO WAY it gets any better than THIS! And yet Grabenstein tops himself every time!One of the many reasons I enjoy the John Ceepak mysteries so much is the connection of the title to the book. Part of the whole puzzle is making the connection with the plot. And the significance of Mind Scrambler is probably the greatest of them all. It ties directly into the illusions Richard Rock is performing on his show as well as the reality that is being manipulated in the murder investigation. And for Danny, he has a personal connection to MIND SCRAMBLER as his personal reality is called into question when he finds his friend dead in a compromising position. And as the reader, your head will be spinning round and round, much like Danny's does. You know when you watch an illusionist that there's a logical explanation for how the "magic tricks" work, but the dizziness comes from taxing your brain to try to figure out HOW they work. .I was dizzy from all the spinning and smoke and mirrors and illusions Grabenstein created that challenged my brain in this plot. This is my kind of thrill ride!Of course, Atlantic City is a new setting for the Ceepak/Boyle duo. But Grabenstein makes use of this new setting working in a number of pop culture references to Monopoly. Combine the references with Danny's sarcasm in the narration, and you have the recipe for Grabenstein's signature humor!The ultimate reason I adore this series as much as I do is the dynamic duo. John Ceepak and Danny Boyle are among my absolute favorite characters in crime fiction. The symbiotic relationship between these two is what makes the series work so well. In every book they have progressively learned from each other, but in none as blatantly and strongly as in MIND SCRAMBLER. It is a very effective use of characterization to view Ceepak through the eyes of Danny; Ceepak is, after all, his hero. So when Ceepak stumbles, the effect of seeing that mis-step through the eyes of Danny makes it all the more powerful.When a crime fiction novel makes me laugh, tugs at my heart strings, moves me to cheer for the hero(s) and challenges me to THINK, I know I've found a top-notch work of art! MIND SCRAMBLER is all those things and so much more.
A great murder mystery with plot twists that keep you guessing!
An overnight trip to Atlantic City brings a chance encounter between Danny and ex-girlfriend Katie. When Katie dies a few hours later, Danny and Ceepak join the efforts to find her killer. Even for a series that tends to be dark at times (at least by my standards), this one was especially grim. Still, watching the two leads interact is always a treat.
If you like the Ceepak mysteries you’ll like this one as well. Chris Grabenstien does such a wonderful job of painting a picture that you really feel as if you’re visiting the Jersey Shore. It’s a great mix of mystery and quirky fun that you can’t help but enjoy it. This book does turn a little sober at the end which is a bit of a twist but I can’t wait to move on in the series.
Ceepak never gets old. I really love these books. This one was a little raw for me. There are children involved and that gets me. However, Ceepak is awesome and he always gets his bad guy.
Never should have left Sea Haven. This one never rang true. Didn't buy into the characters. Ceepak and Danny going here, going there with a lot of forced busyness without purpose. In that mode, forced myself to finish, and was rewarded by being hit with info-dump explanations. Minor irritant: cramming in political views. Not what I read mysteries for.
Love this series