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by Chris Grabenstein
Carroll and Graf, September 2005
304 pages
ISBN: 0786715847

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Danny Boyle is a 24-year-old fun-loving guy who is working as a part-time summer cop in his small beach vacation hometown. He's mainly interested in looking good in his uniform and having a fine time with his friends. He doesn't even carry a gun. This year he's been paired up, mainly as a chauffeur, with a new man on the job, John Ceepak.

An old buddy of the town's Chief of Police from their days in the military, Ceepak is now here in his second career, and he's the epitome of a full-time dedicated cop bursting with physical and moral strength. A little too ramrod straight for his easygoing outlook on life, Ceepak still impresses Danny with his truthful ways.

One morning as they are having their before-work breakfast, a young girl runs into them. She's hysterical and covered in blood, crying that a homeless man has shot and killed her father by the closed ride, the Tilt-A-Whirl. When it turns out that her father was one of the richest men in the country, the community is galvanized to find the killer.

The Chief of Police surprisingly puts Ceepak in charge of the case. Danny learns a lot about solid investigative work from his new partner and even when the facts just don't add up, Danny relies on Ceepak's lead to get to the truth. Then when things turn sour Danny rebels.

Nicely crafted, this murder mystery includes all of the sound clues and misdirection that you hope to find in a good whodunit. Chris Grabenstein shows some great skill and fills the book with fascinating secondary characters, but the main pull of this book is the ongoing relationship between light-hearted Danny as he grows to really get to know Ceepak and understand what fires have tempered his partner and how Ceepak remains true to his own list of rules.

Ceepak and Danny are a great team, an intelligent turn of the overused cliche of the young man learning about the job from an older one. TILT-A-WHIRL is the first of a new series and I'm heartily looking forward to the next installment.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, October 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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