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by Chris Grabenstein
Carroll & Graf, April 2006
320 pages
ISBN: 0786717602

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching Sea Haven, New Jersey and big party plans are in the making. MTV will be there televising the festivities that the seaside community is hosting. The town's businesses are ordering all kinds of food and making arrangements for the thousands of people who will be visiting the area. They are excited about the money that will be made.

Part-time summer cop, 20-something Danny Boyle and his childhood friends are also looking forward to the big celebration. Danny is also hoping that he will be made a full-time police officer for the community after Labor Day.

Danny helped solve a crime earlier in the summer and things look good that he will get the job, that is if he can survive past the holiday. Someone is out to kill Danny and his friends. The group are out on the beach one night and someone starts shooting paintballs at them. Danny thinks that it might have been some local teens starting their Labor Day activities a few days early until the police discover that bullets were also fired.

As the holiday gets closer Danny and his friends are once again shot at with paintballs and bullets. The police now suspect that someone is out to kill Danny and his friends, but why?

On orders from the police chief and the mayor of Sea Haven, Danny and his partner, ex-military man police officer John Ceepak, are told to find the criminal and bring him to justice before the holiday weekend.

MAD MOUSE is author Chris Grabenstein's second novel and I enjoyed this one as much as I did the first. Grabenstein takes the readers to the Jersey Shore and gives us a great tour of the area. Sea Haven is a summer community filled with long-time residents trying to make enough money during the season to last them through the winter. The mayor and police chief are torn between canceling the Labor Day party to ensure public safety and pressures from the community to let the holiday events continue so the winter residents can earn money.

The characters living in Sea Haven are well written. Danny Boyle and his friends are likable but they are far from perfect and the author is not afraid to let the readers know that.

My favorite character is full-time cop John Ceepak. He's a little too perfect, almost like a superman to be considered a real person but Grabenstein adds enough softness and charm to him so you can forgive his superman qualities.

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.

Reviewed by Sharon Katz, May 2006

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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