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Publisher's Summary

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 summer tourist town of Sea Haven.

John Ceepak, a former MP just back from Iraq, has just joined the Sea Haven police department. The job offer came from an old Army buddy who hoped to give Ceepak at least a summer's worth of rest and relaxation to help him forget the horrors of war. Instead, Ceepak will head up the murder investigation. He is partnered with Danny Boyle, a 24-year-old part-time summer cop who doesn't carry a gun and only works with the police by day so he has enough pocket money left over to play with his beach buddies at night.

In the first novel in a new series written in the spirit of Carl Hiaasen's work, the Tilt-a-Whirl murder pushes Ceepak's deep sense of honor and integrity to the limits, as unexpected twists and turns keep the truth spinning wildly in every direction.

©2006 Chris Grabenstein (P)2007 Audible, Inc.

Critic Reviews

  • Anthony Award, Best First Mystery, 2006

  • 2006 Anthony Award, Best First Novel
"A fast-paced thrill ride with lots of twists and turns and good writing from start to finish." (James Patterson)
"From page 1, this debut stands out as refreshingly different....an absolute triumph." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,249
  • 4 Stars
    1,312
  • 3 Stars
    667
  • 2 Stars
    191
  • 1 Stars
    134

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    1,440
  • 4 Stars
    837
  • 3 Stars
    357
  • 2 Stars
    85
  • 1 Stars
    62

Story

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    961
  • 4 Stars
    1,033
  • 3 Stars
    531
  • 2 Stars
    158
  • 1 Stars
    84
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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

the reader makes this book

I'm a huge fan of crime fiction, legal thrillers, etc., and this book wasn't the most challenging story. But two things made it a great listen for me: the reader was outstanding and the author nailed the entire Jersey Shore -- from the peculiarities and vulgarities of Jerseyans language to the tacky and freewheeling world of beach life. As a native of the area, it was just like being there. This book won't enlighten you or change your life, but it is a good listen and a fine bit of mind candy to pass some hours - maybe while you lay on the beach at the Jersey Shore.

74 of 74 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

A Guilty Pleasure

This was a great book, but not great literature. If you are looking for a sophisticated crime drama with deep meaning this book will not please. It is however a a fast paced read with very likeable characters that catch your interest and create a desire to know what is next. It was the first book in a while that I couldn't wait see what was next and found myself making time to finish listening to.

88 of 90 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

All I can say is WOW!

Any additional comments?

I can't tell the readers or author how important this series of books have become to me. I am nearly a senior citizen (74 years old) who recently became a widow after 35 years of being more than happily married. Now I am struggling to find out just who I really am & to try & go forth in life. Reading at least 4 of these books so far they have spoken to me on more than a literary way. John Ceepak & his side kick Danny & all those who deal with them are teaching me something I should have known & followed in Kindergarten. The stories themselves are simple & enjoyable, life like & challenging when I ask myself "Could I do that?" Could I be like J. Ceepak with his code of honor? I had to give that a lot of thought. It is so easy to skip over. Be aware readers, I am 74 yrs old so this is a serious & meaningful question for me. And by the way it is in the ten commandments. Say what? But I am not going there per se. I did realize the "code" was very meaningful to me although I knew it also take compassion, patience & courage. So here is the rub….. what does it take to follow the example of the author Chris Grabenstein's description of being someone 'who does not lie, does not steal or does not cheat,' & more importantly does not tolerate those who do! I know I know what a Pandora's box this can become. & I can see the wall of resistance coming down like Niagara falls. And I agree it isn't for everyone, but I also know life can be much simpler, less stressful & so much less dramatic by taking this code seriously. So as I continue to read this entertaining & enticing series I have decided I am going try to try & do just this. Wish me luck in a world where none of this code is taken very seriously.



.

147 of 156 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • JohnB
  • WILLIAMSBURG, VA, United States
  • 02-15-09

I loved it -- and the whole series!

This book--and the rest of the author's "John Ceepak" mysteries--are hilarious and entertaining visits to the New Jersey shore, where local cops--a former MP and a surfer dude--track down bad guys in fictional Sea Haven. TILT-A-WHIRL, the first in the series, won the 2006 Anthony Award for "Best First Mystery" and will hook you on going back for more (all available here on audible.com). The dialog is crisp and full of sharp humor, made even better by the delivery of the excellent narrator. (If you've spent any time on the "Joisey" shore, you'll appreciate him even more!)

I got such a laugh from this book I visited the author's Website, which is also funny and entertaining. Be sure to download the perfectly believable Sea Haven visitor map, which shows where all the best spots are located! I'm hopping the next installment will be on audible in time for summer!

42 of 44 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Kathy
  • Davis, CA, United States
  • 07-30-17

My Review May Be As Blah As The Book

Although I listened all the way to the end, this book just didn't do it for me. And I really wanted to like i!. Tilt-a-whirl rides were always so much fun, remember? I was expecting more enjoyment to this story and yet, it wasn't there for me.

John Ceepak was a very thin cardboard character. I never felt I knew who he was, what he looked like, what he liked, what he did when he was off work, what history he had. And his behavior, the monotone way of speaking, the roger this, roger that--totally unbelievable and it did not endear me to him in any way. Danny, the narrator, was at least likeable and entertaining but certainly not main character material.

The story-line was just another meh moment. About two thirds in, I realized who committed the crime, although I was hoping to be wrong. The meh came to an end as the story did, when the over-used reveal came with an explanation that was really inappropriate and insensitive for a somewhat humorous book. It angered me--and I am not one to be offended by fiction, usually.

As far as the narrator, I think that although he was great at the different characters, he just went a bit above and beyond in his portrayals. It became annoying to me instead of funny. If I could have spoken to him, I would have told him to tone it down a notch.

I am clearly in the minority here. Perhaps I have become too picky. Or perhaps, I have become more discerning.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Got my husband addicted to audiobooks

When I introduced my husband to the audio format, I knew I needed to hook him with a spectacular narrator. Jeff Woodman's performance of Tilt-a-Whirl was my answer. He captured both of our imaginations with his ability to bring every character (from Jersey Shore gangsters, to rookie cops, to even small children) to life, simultaneously conveying humor and suspense in the process.

Chris Grabenstein's series is fun and thrilling. I find it particularly addictive in the summer months. IMO, Sea Haven is a thinly veiled Long Beach Island, New Jersey, which is where I spent my summers growing up. I love all of the references, but Grabenstein's storytelling abilities make this series enjoyable for non-Jersey Shore aficionados as well.

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Beachy read

You can't exactly call this a cozy detective story, but it's light enough to recommend for a day on the beach. The thing I liked most is also the thing I liked least, the story is narrated by the main character's younger side kick. I liked this because it was different but at times it was too much hero worship. Pack it next to the sunscreen if you don't want the typical summer romance novel.

17 of 19 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Light Listen But Caution to Parents!

This was a fluff story and highly implausible, but okay for some entertainment. Rather like a juvenile book but the content was nothing I'd advise a child to hear! Great narration. 3.5 stars.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Wayne
  • Matthews, NC
  • 08-01-15

The first John Ceepak

Grabenstein's novels are less complex than the best ones, but they are fun to listen to. The John Ceepak character is so straight laced that it is almost painful. Ceepak, and right, always win. Jeff Woodman does a good job as narrator.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • R. Sippel
  • San Jose, CA United States
  • 07-29-09

family listen

When heard the first book I thought it seemed like it was geared to a teen age crowd, but now I'm on my third book. The books are based on telling the truth, they have humor, and are non violent. The books are a refreshing break and can be shared by the non mystery people.

22 of 26 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Melanie Preston Lewis
  • 09-04-17

Loved it!

Loved it! I'm totally smitten by John Ceepak, what an awesome character. Together with his partner in crime, Danny Boyle, they're a great double act. I thought the story was clever, and I was getting confused when they seemed to have it all wrapped up about 3 hours into the audio book, when it's an 8 hour story. Well, I wasn't expecting that to happen! No spoilers here, if you want to know you'll have to read/listen to the book yourself. It's worth it and I highly recommend the investment!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Simon
  • 09-23-17

brilliant book

I wasn't sure what I as getting I to she I first started listening to this story, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and thought it was a well written book. The narrator really brought the book to life.

with the book itself there were so many twists and turns and red herrings that I didn't see who did it until just before the reveal, with the outcome coming as a complete shock to me.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Melanie McQueen
  • 02-01-18

loved it

I wasn't sure at first; but soon got hooked on the story. I felt I Got to know the characters well. normally I can predict an ending, but this one had me doubting myself unroll the very end. great book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Sandy Mac
  • 01-14-18

Enjoyable listen.

A good story, full of twists and turns but full marks goes to narrator. I look forward to listening, also read by Jeff Woodman, to the next John Ceepak episode.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • R Mason
  • 12-05-17

really enjoyed

loved this book, downloaded for free on audible and will definitely be listening to the others in the series. great characters and story, 5 stars from me

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Natalie
  • 11-13-17

Free Book - Surprisingly Excellent

For a free book this was book was surprisingly good infact it was excellent and I'm going to buy and listen to the hole series.
This book was not like the rest of the crime book's, you just didn't know which way the story was going to go there where twists and turns every which way, it was very cleverly written.
I only took a star off because of there was some bad language in it but that's my personal preference.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • MS P WILSON
  • 06-13-18

Entertaining

Very well narrated, every character easily recognised. Ceepak could easily have been a two dimensional character, but us building up nicely. About to order the next in the series.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Jennie Lou
  • 05-21-18

Really enjoyed this book

Bought after reading the reviews & was part of 3 for 2 offer.
So glad I did. The narrator is excellent and brings the tale alive.
It’s a perfect listen and takes you in different directions throughout.
Bought the next 2 books at the same time & am looking forward to listening to them.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • diggerlady
  • 10-27-17

enjoyed this first free book...

good narration...good voices. enjoyed the story .downloaded after having no credits available and I am glad I did!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • The Trog Father
  • 10-14-17

WOW!!

If you enjoy murder mysteries with a healthy dose of plot twists then you'll enjoy this.

The dynamic between the main characters is very well written and thought out. I found myself laughing out loud several times throughout the book (yes youngsters that's how you should be writing lol - lol).

One of the best things about this book is that there were plot twists that I didn't see coming till the moment they were revealed, which I'm finding less and less common the more books I listen to.

The ONLY reason I took a star off the overall rating is because of the amount of bad language in it. Its not prolific and is mainly based on who's talking at the time in the book, but still... more than I would prefer personally.

On the whole, one of the best books I've ever listened to!

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Mari
  • 05-25-14

Terrific Series

I love this series. This first book is a fun read - not in any way heavy. The two main characters are wonderful especially Ceepak who lives by the honour code. The narrator does a fantastic job. I recommend this book as one to read if you enjoy crime but want a change from the more 'darker' novels.