In Hell Hole, Ceepak is confronted with his most personal case yet when he must investigate the alleged suicide of a military corporal who recently returned from Iraq. When it turns out that this "locked stall" rest-stop suicide is anything but an open-and-shut case, Ceepak and Boyle realize that the corporal might have been privy to information that opens up a much larger conspiracy - one that strikes at the heart of our involvement in the Middle East and puts them on the wrong side of some very unpleasant people.
I've read all of the Ceepak Mysteries and was not disappointed by Hell Hole. The anticipation and mystery unfolds at a nice pace and I really enjoyed the ending. Based on the ending, I'm looking forward to the next book. Of course, I always enjoy Jeff Woodman's narration too.
12 of 12 people found this review helpful
If you are a John Ceepak fan, you have to listen to this book. It isn't as good as the first three books (mainly because there is less Ceepak and more Danny Boyle) but Grabenstein still spins out a smart, funny and dependably entertaining story
8 of 8 people found this review helpful
This is an excellent addition to this series. It has the same tone and humor and setting as the first 3 books but the story has a bit more punch to it (i.e., it's quite "serious" in nature, and believable, and... well, kinda sad too).
It's probably a bit far-fetched in that I don't think so many people in real life would be complicit in such bad goings-on, but it's all believable within the story, and very suspenseful...
It's fast and enjoyable - though I think it has more swearing than the other books so that might put some people off, but it all fit with the storyline. The narration is very well done.
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
Series started well. Antagonists are now too nasty. Little humor left. Lots of crude put downs.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
This is a fun series to listen to -- Jeff Woodman does an amazing job with all of the different voices required and really distinguishes them. I have to laugh when I think of some of them.
I can't remember how I found these -- probably through a Kindle bargain day where I could get a an amazing deal on the audio, too. I listened first to one of the later books from the series, but then wanted to hear them from the beginning, so I am working my way through them. The books are named for amusement park rides found at many Jersey Shore boardwalk amusement piers
Grabenstein does bring the listener into the fold in each book by explaining a bit about the main characters and the setting. The two main characters are straight-arrow John Cepak and his young sidekick Danny Boyle, cops in the town of "Sea Haven" New Jersey, which is a south Jersey town at the shore that's a cross between Seaside Heights, Beach Haven, and Wildwood. So they can be read as stand-alones, but why do that when you can enjoy following the relationship of these two cops and their adventures from their first months on duty?
Hell Hole is a more complex mystery and a bit darker than the first books, and the puzzle here is not so much whodunit but HOW-dunit. The language is not for the faint of heart, because this tale is peopled with a lot of young Army guys who do not mince words and some additional characters who use the F-word as their choice of language for about one third of the words out of their mouths (one of which is a salty older lady, by the way). It's actually pretty funny, if you don't mind that sort of thing, since it helps paint pictures of these characters.
I won't say more about the story except to recommend this one, and tell you if you want to start from the first in the series, it's called Tilt-a-Whirl.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
First, let me put a disclaimer out there that I'm active duty in the military and suicide is not something that I take lightly. Last year we recently loss one of our members to suicide after she separated from active duty due to PTSD. So listening to this was really hard. I found myself getting mad and upset at how Grabenstein was portraying the soldiers: the alcohol abuse, the disrespect, the drug abuse, and all the fraternization that was going on (seriously, an ARMY lieutenant going on vacation with his enlisted command? Taking ORDERS from the sergeant? Especially out of a combat zone?? No, just no.)
I had to detach myself from own emotions and reactions. Grabenstein is a former comedian and advertiser executive--and that's how he writes. Grabenstein is not about deep characterization. He creates caricatures that are easy to relate to but hold no real depth or complexities. The only two characters that have any real semblance of three-dimensional character growth are Ceepak and Boyle and it's taken nearly four books to even get some of that. Therefore, to stop thinking of the soldiers that Grabenstein was describing as real people but a collaboration of the worst characteristics that can be found in men. People being in the military does not make the saints, they are as human and fallible as anyone else, and I think Grabenstein was trying to make that point. That in extreme circumstances extreme misconduct and extreme evil can be created and carried out. History has shown this both in the Iraq War, the Vietnam War, and all other wars. The saving point was that although Grabenstein showed the extreme end of evil that sometimes appears in the military, he also contrasted it with the integrity and honor that is prevalent in the armed forces.
So, despite the gruesome and horrific crimes that are described in this novel (and the very liberal politics in regards to the war) I can't hate the novel. Grabenstein stays true to the characterizations of Boyle and Ceepak. He grows them even more and stares unflinching at an issue that makes me sick to my stomach. This book did not leave me with the good feeling that the other books gave me, but it hasn't turned me off of the Ceepak series for good either. I just need a little break before giving Boyle and Ceepak another go.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
A great mix of intrigue, comedy and jersey shore which helps take the reader to the beach. Chris Grabenstein does an excellent job of capturing the essence of the Jersey Shore in this well written story which takes more turns than a mad mouse. Grab some scrapple and settle in for a fun ride!
The Ceepak series is one of those where the narrator adds another whole dimension. I think this series is so much more enjoyable as an audio book because of Mr. Woodman's excellent performance.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I really enjoyed this one as I did the three that preceded it. I thought it was very well thought out and it left me going until the very end. I think Grabenstein gets better at this with each Ceepak mystery he writes. I highly recommend this. I'm going back to read Hell for the Holidays but hope that Grabenstein releases his next Ceepak mystery real soon!
5 of 6 people found this review helpful
The story line in Woodman's latest effort develops and culminates better than any of the previous books.
Very entertaining and good fun.
Jeff Woodman, again, is absolutely brilliant in his portraying of the characters!
I can enjoy listening pretty much anything if the narrator does it right, and Woodman makes all the right choices - so good I forget he's reading. It's like watching a brilliant actor, forgetting they are reciting a script, and really believing in the character.
If you like a listen for the good narration, this series is a must.
6 of 8 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Chris Grabenstein and/or Jeff Woodman?
Juvenile and obviously biased fairytale about shadowy government and military figures--with plot to cover up war crimes in order to further political career.
What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)
Was Hell Hole worth the listening time?
Not for me.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
I literally finished this in one go. And while I'm waiting to get the next one, I will be listening to them again. xxx
Fast paced, enjoyable story if not a little predictable this time around. Would listen again.