Friday, July 25, 2014

MIND SCRAMBLER by Chris Grabenstein


Chris Grabenstein’s Mind Scrambler (2009) is an extended magic trick.

Someone murders Danny Boyle’s friend Katie. They place her in a compromising position to make it look as if she died of asphyxiation during sexual bondage.

This happens backstage during a magic show in Atlantic City. John Ceepak and Danny Boyle are out of their usual milieu, Sea Haven, New Jersey. 

Mind Scrambler’s title refers to a Sea Haven carnival ride of the same name. That wildly spinning ride uses flashing lights and loud music to confuse the rider. When you finish the ride, you can hardly stand up.

So it is with Ceepack and Boyle. They watch the magic show during which the murder occurs, and they become entranced by the deceptive magic.

These books often deal with brutal, abusive topics, and this book is no exception. 

Mind Scrambler’s strength is its weakness. The elaborate plot makes for exciting action, at least five murders, and mind scrambling deception that keeps the reader guessing.

But what happened takes explaining. I found the explanations tedious.

I enjoy reading about John Ceepak and Danny Boyle. Grabenstein’s plot and characters keep me reading. 

Mind Scrambler was not my favorite book in the series, but it was well worth reading.


Kelly Robinson said...

Ooh, the carnival/magic setting sounds like something I would enjoy.

Joe Barone said...

Kelly, I suspect you would enjoy this book. This author builds each of his books around a ride and the carnival atmosphere of the tourist town where these stories take place.