Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Finished: "Whack A Mole" by Chris Grabenstein

Finished: Whack A Mole by Chris Grabenstein, 2007, 9780786718184.

Pretty good. Another John Ceepak mystery narrated by Ceepak's partner Danny Boyle. The previous two Ceepak books, Mad Mouse and Tilt-A-Whirl, actually involved the carnival rides they were named after but this one did not. The whack-a-mole game gets a few passing mentions by Boyle. Maybe Grabenstein got sick of tying the rides into the story, or maybe he just didn't bother. As before, Grabenstein has nice local color for the New Jersey beach town of Sea Haven and he has two good main characters. Ceepak - who will neither lie, cheat, or steal nor tolerate those who do - does not seem as kooky as before but I am used to him by now.

Boyle and Ceepak come across an unknown, local serial murderer who started killing in runaway teen girls in 1980 but had been inactive for 15 years. While hunting with a metal detector Ceepak finds a high school class ring in the beach sand. Ceepak being Ceepak he investigates the owner to discover that the girl who lost it went missing about 20 years ago. Pretty soon watertight containers are unearthed from the beach sand with victim's skulls inside along with maps directing Ceepak and Doyle to the next container.

Grabenstein does a fair job with the plotting and gives some tricky red herrings for suspects, I was a bit surprised when the killer was identified. He also screwed up and claimed that the BTK killer was from Kansas City. Then, the weirdness that Grabenstein's characters deciding that a Glock model 27 would be a better service weapon than a model 23. Huh? I suppose you can find a retention service holster for a 27 but why? It's a subcompact.

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