Review: Answering a 911 call, Sea Haven police officer Danny Boyle arrives at the home of the very wealthy Shona Blumenfeld Oppenheimer, where he finds Shona struggling with Christine Lemonopolous, a home health care worker — and a good friend of Danny's — in the employ of the woman, who is apparently trying to kill her. But Shona claims just the opposite, that Christine assaulted her. Danny manages to smooth things over between the two women, but that's not the last of Christine's problems after another man in her care suddenly dies, in Free Fall, the eighth mystery in this series by Chris Grabenstein.
The dead man is Arnold Rosen, DDS. Long since retired — he was, after all, 94 years old — and not in the best of health, it is probably not surprising that time simply caught up with him. But when an autopsy is unexpectedly performed, and it is determined that he did not die of old age but was poisoned, Christine becomes a person of interest to the police. Christine thinks Shona, whose sister was Rosen's daughter-in-law, may have something to do with his death, especially now that the rumor mill, fed generously by Shona herself, identifies Christine as an angel of death. Meanwhile, Chief of Police John Ceepak has his own problems: his father, long since divorced from his mother, is in town managing an ultra-thrilling ride at an amusement park. But it's not the job that brings him to town; it's the hope that he can obtain a million dollar settlement from his ex-wife, despite the restraining order she has on him.
Free Fall is a very engaging mystery, light in tone but with a number of serious underlying issues, not the least of which is elder abuse. The dynamic between Danny and Ceepak, which is really the core of this series, is really quite charming. The action takes place just after Hurricane Sandy devastated the New Jersey shoreline, with the resort island town of Sea Haven still recovering from the damage. The mystery storyline itself is not all that demanding, with the subplot involving the Ceepak familial issues picking up the slack. Overall, this is an entertaining entry in the series, made more so by telling the story without any graphic violence or the use of coarse language.
Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Free Fall.
Acknowledgment: Pegasus Books provided a copy of Free Fall for this review.
Review Copyright © 2013 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Riley Mack and the Other Known Troublemakers
Harper (Hardcover), April 2012
ISBN-13: 9780062026200; ISBN-10: 0062026208
Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library
Random House (Hardcover), June 2013
ISBN-13: 9780375870897; ISBN-10: 037587089X
Location(s) referenced in Free Fall: New Jersey
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Free Fall by Chris Grabenstein — A John Ceepak Mystery
Publisher: Pegasus Books
Publication Date: May 2013
List Price: $25.95
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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