The last thing police officers Danny Boyle and his partner wanted to be were some kind of celebrity jokes. However, thanks to the alcoholic fueled antics of contestants in a The Jersey Shore type reality show that is what they have become. Thanks to a recent widely publicized incident Ceepak and Boyle have not only been on television, but now also have the T-shirts to prove it.


It has also brought them to the attention of the show’s producer Marty Mandrake. Seeking to make his version of good TV while keeping his stars out of trouble, he wants Ceepak and Boyle to head up the security detail. Not only are the contestants clearly a danger to themselves and others as the court charges that will be filed after the show is over make clear, they are also in danger from an outside threat. At least one of the contestants apparently is taking anabolic steroids and is getting them from a very bad guy nicknamed “Skeletor.”


For roughly the last two years Ceepak and the Sea Haven Police Department, as well as a joint federal and state task force have been trying to capture Skeletor. So far he has proved elusive as well almost killing Ceepak and Boyle last summer. Skeletor is a much bigger deal than some punks on a stupid television show so Ceepak and Boyle agree to do what the TV producer Mandrake wants. That also keeps the Mayor and others happy. Ratings will soar, tourism will increase, and dollars will flow into city coffers.


Nobody expected that a couple of murders would happen too.


This is the seventh novel in a good series that is stylistically a bit different from the earlier books.  Officer Danny Boyle is older now and the books, told from his point of view, reflect that older adult viewpoint. Boyle has lost loved ones, seen others die, and isn’t the happy part time summer cop that he was when the series started. As a result, there is far less humor in this book though there are some very funny parts regarding the reality TV show industry and those involved.


Unlike earlier books in the series, foul and very graphic language is highly prevalent here. Not just among the reality show contestants but also with numerous other characters. Just like some folks in real life, many characters in FUN HOUSE seem to have no ability to say anything without graphic and coarse language. The use of the language really stands out in this novel as it hasn’t reached anywhere close to this level before.


Despite the issue with the language FUN HOUSE: A JOHN CEEPAK MYSTERY is another solidly good read.  It deals with some strong themes in both the main storyline and the secondary one and deals with them well. While the young fun loving Danny Boyle of the series is long gone, this Danny Boyle is still pretty good though not quite nearly as laugh out loud fun. You can’t undo the march of time as Danny Boyle knows very well.



Chris Grabenstein

Pegasus Crime

May 2012

ISBN# 978-1-60598-336-3


296 Pages




Material supplied by the good folks of the Plano Texas Public Library System. Again this year the summer reading challenge for adults and kids is now underway. For more information go to



Kevin R. Tipple ©2012

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