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

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

by Chris Grabenstein

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"Just like the amusement ride it's named after, TILT-A-WHIRL spins with brisk twists and exciting turns as it veers off into still another plot tendril. This debut hits just the right tone, melding a multilayered plot that is equally action-packed and poignant, hard-hitting and funny, sarcastic and serious, sometimes all in the same paragraph." The Sun-Sentinel

There isn't much fun in the sun when a billionaire real estate tycoon is found murdered on the Tilt-A-Whirl at a seedy seaside amusement park in the otherwise quiet tourist town of Sea Haven, New Jersey.

John Ceepak, a former MP back from Iraq who lives his life by a strict code of honor, has just joined the Sea Haven Police Department. The job offer came from an old Army buddy who wanted to give him at least a summer's worth of R&R to escape the horrors of war.

Instead, Ceepak heads up the murder investigation. He is partnered with Danny Boyle, a 24-year-old, part-time cop who doesn't carry a gun and only works with the police by day so he has enough pocket money to play with his beach buddies by night.

In the first novel in a new series with echoes of Carl Hiaasen and John D. MacDonald, the Tilt-A-Whirl murder pushes Ceepak's deep sense of honor to the limits as unexpected twists and turns keep the truth spinning wildly in every direction.

Tilt-A-Whirl made many Best Mysteries of 2005 lists: The Sun-Sentinel, Detroit Free Press, The Christian Science Monitor, Barnes&Noble.com, BookBitch.com and more!

"Chris Grabenstein's TILT-A-WHIRL is a fast-paced thrill ride with lots of twists and turns and good writing from start to finish!"

"There's fireworks down the Jersey shore in this first book in a promising series."

"From page 1, this debut stands out as refreshingly different. Billed as the first entry in Grabenstein's Jersey Shore series, the story is set in Sea Haven, a town that will stir memories for East Coasters who went "down the Shore" each summer. The story centers on the murder of real-estate tycoon Reggie Hart, who was shot in front of his teenage daughter, Ashley. Danny Boyle, a 24-year-old "summer cop" encounters the hysterical girl while on patrol with his partner, John Ceepak, an ex-soldier who has returned from Iraq with some demons left to exorcise. Although Grabenstein crafts a first-rate mystery, what makes this novel special is its two protagonists. With young Boyle narrating, the reader gets to know Ceepak gradually, through his partner's eyes. At first Ceepak's personal code of honor only amuses or annoys the cynical Boyle. But as he (and we) get to know the former soldier, the portrait of a true hero emerges. Grabenstein brilliantly evokes the endearing seediness of a Jersey Shore town in summer but it's his development of the Ceepak-Boyle relationship that makes this an absolute triumph."
—BOOKLIST (Starred Review!)

"Thoughtful, funny and exciting debut."

"Just like the amusement ride it's named after, TILT-A-WHIRL spins with brisk twists and exciting turns as it veers off into still another plot tendril. This debut from former advertising executive Chris Grabenstein hits just the right tone, melding a multilayered plot that is equally action-packed and poignant, hard-hitting and funny, sarcastic and serious, sometimes all in the same paragraph."
—OLINE COGDILL, THE SUN-SENTINEL (Voted One Of The Best Mysteries of 2005!)

"Funny, smart, and smoothly written, TILT-A-WHIRL is all kinds of twisty fun."
—THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR (Voted One Of The Best Mysteries of 2005!)

"This is a fun and fast-paced tale. The ending is as unexpected and shocking as a ride on the actual contraption, and the denouement is sure to leave readers with a glow. Two thumbs up; You go, Grabenstein!"

"Briskly paced, well plotted, and narrated with a cynical humor that makes it a real joy to read."
—RON BERNAS, THE DETROIT FREE PRESS (Voted One Of The Best Mysteries of 2005!)

"Full of unpredictable twists and turns. There's plenty of fizz in the chemistry between the two protagonists to keep the novel and the reader spinning."

"Grabenstein, a former advertising executive, writes punchy prose, tells a fast-paced story and leavens an essentially horrifying plot with humor... Ceepak and Boyle are likable characters, and Grabenstein's vision of the Jersey shore is priceless."

"A small treasure. A wealth of characters with more depth than the genre often offers."

Product Details

BN ID: 2940012646996
Publisher: Chris Grabenstein
Publication date: 03/03/2011
Series: John Ceepak Series , #1
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Sales rank: 223,951
File size: 770 KB

About 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.

Customer Reviews

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Tilt a Whirl 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 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.