Whack A Mole - Chris Grabenstein Third in the John Ceepak series of novels, loosely labeled police procedurals. I read the first two and very much enjoyed their humorous undertone. This one is much, much darker with graphic descriptions of the dismembered victims of a Sea Haven serial killer who buried his victims twenty-plus years ago and is now leaving parts of their bodies, polaroids, and religious hints around the island during the height of tourist season. It sets a very different tone for the series.

Narrated by Danny, the erstwhile summer cop taken under Boy Scout Ceepak’s wings, Danny is a very naive Archie to Ceepak’s ultra-pure Wolfe. Jen has a wonderful review that summarizes all you need to know about the plot.

The characters are what make this series different. Ceepak is morally pure and can’t tell a lie. Danny is less wholesome but a more real sidekick who often runs interference for John, sometimes lying to protect feelings or help someone. Several reviewers have suggested we need more Ceepaks. I would suggest it’s the Danny’s that make life tolerable.