Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fun House

Fun House: A John Ceepak Mystery
Chris Grabenstein
Pegasus Crime
May 1, 2012
ISBN: 978-1605983363
$ 25.00
336 pages
I am fairly certain that law enforcement personnel do not enjoy having a reality show in their community. Between the loyal viewers, fans, and contestants who will do anything to win, keeping within the law is not a high priority. To those people, getting their time, their fifteen-minutes of fame, is the entire purpose while they view this opportunity as having no boundaries with their belief of assured fame.
In the resort suburban town of Sea Haven, near Atlantic City, New Jersey, is the newest location for another reality sensation. This one is called Fun House. It has the typical contestants, busty, tanned, buffed, drunk, and definitely lacking compassion and intelligence. What could possibly go wrong?
John Ceepak is an experienced and ethical police officer who has a reputation for doing the right thing. I see him as a combination of James Bond and Sheriff Andy Griffith. Danny Boyle is Ceepak’s partner who has the advantage of knowing his native town and many of the locals in Sea Haven. Through a chance event involving illegal steroids, Ceepak ends up being an admired policeman who seems to be part of the televised plot of the reality show. However when one of the contestants in murdered, the two also have the almost impossible task of protecting the rest of the cast while investigating at the same time.
Fun House is the seventh John Ceepak/Danny Boyle mystery by Chris Grabenstein. Mr. Grabenstein also has written children mysteries which are outstanding. This series now with Fun House, are all fast-paced with an involved intriguing story line that is somewhat predictable, but still thoroughly enjoyable.
The strength of all these novels is the characterization. As John Ceepak and Danny Boyle grow in their relationship with each other, the readers also get to know each one as a real person with a personality and some depth of the character. Ceepak is the type of person who is a natural hero. His Boy Scout ethics combined with his athleticism and military training makes the reader constantly reassured and yes, makes the storyline predictable. Danny is highly influenced by Ceepak but is more human, even flawed.
Even though Fun House is part of a series, it is also a great standalone novel. From my point-of-view, you could read this novel and then go back to read the other Ceepak novels. Also, everyone definitely needs to read Grabenstein’s children’s novels especially the trilogy featuring Zack Jennings.

Fun House is definitely a fun read for the summer.

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