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chris grabenstein

John Ceepak Mystery #2

Mad Mouse


It's almost Labor Day, and the end of summer could mean the end of someone's life in this exciting sequel to Chris Grabenstein's Tilt A Whirl.

Young Danny Boyle, the part-time summer cop "down the shore" in Sea Haven, New Jersey, gets taken on a wild ride when he and his longtime beach buddies become the unwitting targets of a mad-man's twisted scheme for revenge. Fortunately, John Ceepak, the cop with a soldier's unshakeable code of honor, stays at Danny's side to help him negotiate the quick twists and turns that threaten to destroy his life, his friends, and everything about the world he loves.

Whipping from the boardwalk to the beach and back again, Mad Mouse, like Tilt A Whirl, keeps zigging and zagging at a breakneck pace, all the way to the surprising finish.

Read the first chapter!
Check out the Reading Group Discussion Questions!


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It's All Good Tank Top

Ceepak Shop

Carroll & Graf Hardcover, August 2006, ISBN: 978-0786717606
Carroll & Graf Paperback, May 2007, ISBN: 978-0786719365



"Promising series."
   —The New York Times

"...quick, sharp, and funny... Highly recommended."
   —Library Journal

"More fireworks at the Jersey Shore when a rookie cop confronts a vengeful paintball gunner in this dandy sequel to Tilt A Whirl... Likable good guys, plausible bad guys, a sensile plot and a supple prose style that moves from breezy to poignant."
   —Kirkus (starred review)

"Set on a colorful Jersey Shore boardwalk, graced with a Bruce Springsteen soundtrack, and starring an aw-shucks charming pair of cop buddies, Grabenstein's second seaside amusement-park-ride mystery lives up to the promise of his smash-hit debut, Tilt A Whirl... With agile humor, neat plotting, unexpected sweetness, and an irresistible duo, Grabenstein offers a hip new form of cozy."

"Like Grabenstein's impressive debut last year Tilt A Whirl, Mad Mouse is named after a ride at the resort. And like that ride, Mad Mouse moves briskly, slowing down occasionally to allow readers to catch their breath before speeding up again with heart-stopping action... We hope there's an endless supply of amusement rides that Grabenstein can draw on for his titles."
   —Oline Cogdill, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

"As he did with his debut novel, Tilt A Whirl, Grabenstein imbues Mad Mouse with a quick pace, dialogue that rings true and a plot with more twists and turns than the rides on the Jersey Shore. He's a writer born to run with the good thing he has created."
   —Richmond Times-Dispatch

"Grabenstein has fashioned a genuine mystery that is not only engrossing and entertaining but also challenging, while providing longtime fans of the mystery genre with what is arguably the missing link between the Hardy Boys (and Ken Holt) of old and Robert B. Parker's Spenser. With Mad Mouse Grabenstein has repeated the artistic success of Tilt A Whirl while simultaneously raising expectations for his future work—expectations that no doubt will not only be met but exceeded."
   —Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter.com (read the full review)

"Mad Mouse is a terrific book and it takes the reader on a wild ride throughout this New Jersey community looking for the madman who is determined to kill Danny, his friends and destroy the holiday party plans. Visit Sea Haven, eat a hot dog, go on some rides, and enjoy meeting the residents. This is a great summer read."
   —Sharon Katz, Reviewing The Evidence (read the full review)

"Could anyone else construct a hard-to-put-down thriller about a vengeful anonymous paintballer? Not many, I reckon, but Grabenstein staked out his unusual turf featuring Sea Haven detectives Danny Boyle & John Ceepak and expands this further with surprising plot twists and affecting character growth. Sure, Ceepak's a bit of a superhero, but we're seeing him through the ever-maturing Boyle's eyes—as it should be."
   —Sarah Weinman, Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind

"Thoroughly enjoyable, Mad Mouse is a nearly perfect read, one probably most appreciated by people familiar with the New Jersey shore and all of its colorful attractions. That's not to say that others won't enjoy Grabenstein's well wrought thriller, only that the experience is enhanced by having actually visited Danny Boyle's stomping grounds—Grabenstein does such a good job evoking the shore, you can practically smell the aroma of fast food wafting from the restaurants and the creosote they use to preserve the planks of the boardwalk. That he does such a great job with his varied cast, and in keeping readers rapidly flipping the pages, is a welcome bonus."
   —Hank Wagner, Mystery Scene Magazine

"Danny Boyle, the part time cop from Tilt A Whirl is back in Mad Mouse, Grabenstein's second book. Set in the resort town of Sea Haven Labor Day weekend is approaching and signaling the end of summer and tourist season. Someone has targeted Danny and his beach bum pals and it will be up to Danny and his fellow officer, John Ceepak to stop the crazy man before it's too late.
  Grabenstein took me by surprise last summer with his debut novel and the follow-up is every bit as good as his first. It quite simply kicks ass. With a terrific narrative Grabenstein tells a story with perfect timing and wonderful characters. The action builds though out the book and it's impossible not to get caught up in the excitement the book generates. Let me just add that if I'm in trouble, I want John Ceepak watching my back. Grabenstein is a terrific writer and you can't afford to miss this great new series from a great talent."
   —Jon Jordan, Crimespree Magazine

"Mad Mouse is a wild zinger of a ride, with characters so vivid they practically splash the pages with Technicolor. Climb aboard!"
   —Tess Gerritsen

"A terrific sequel... Besides the suspense and the humor, you can smell the salt air and taste the taffy, making this the perfect beach read."
   —Stacy Alesi, BookBitch.com

"As with the predecessor book, Mad Mouse has wonderfully realized characters in Danny and Ceepak; the balance between youthful earnestness on the one hand and a strong, upright role model on the other is deftly drawn and maintained... It is a fast-moving and suspenseful read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it."
   —Gloria Feit, Spinetingler Magazine

"Mad Mouse is as fast-paced as the amusement ride it's based on, with twists and turns to the story. Ceepak and Danny are characters revealing more of themselves to the reader, and they're attractive, interesting characters."
   —Lesa Holstine, BookBitch.com

"Grabenstein skillfully draws nice a parallel between Ceepak's expanding horizons and Danny's new found maturity."
   —Woodstock (4 stars!)

"I needed A Guy With A Code And A Well-Intentioned, Slightly Naive, Somewhat Goofy Sidekick. And luckily for me the book I was picking up was Mad Mouse by Chris Grabenstein, featuring John Ceepak, a cop so badass that "GI Joe plays with Ceepak Action Figures"—at least according to his partner Danny Boyle, a kid so non-badass that he drives a minivan he bought from his mother....I see the appeal of a [serial killer] character..., but I'll be over here in the sunshine, quoting Bruce Springsteen and chewing on a Power Bar while John and Danny tidy up..."
   —Shelley Mcgibbon, DorothyL