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FUN HOUSE by Chris Grabenstein

FUN HOUSE

By Chris Grabenstein

Pub Date: May 15th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-60598-336-3
Publisher: Pegasus Crime

How low can reality TV go? Think murder.

After beat cops are unable to keep a lid on a perpetually volatile situation, macho New Jersey police detective John Ceepak and his partner, cheeky narrator Danny Boyle, draw the short straw and are assigned to monitor the personnel involved in the hit reality television show Fun House (think Big Brother crossed with Jersey Shore, with a dash of American Chopper), currently filming at the resort town of Sea Haven. The carnival of dysfunction is overseen by slick, sleazy producer Marty Mandrake. Unfortunately, both clueless Mayor Sinclair and Chief Baines think the detectives' involvement is a great way to minimize danger while bringing helpful publicity to Sea Haven. Set at the "Coin Castle," Fun House features a predictably twisted collection of hard-partying troublemakers like Paulie "The Thing," Soozy K and Paulie's nemesis, steroid-addicted Vinnie, known as Skeletor because of his muscle-and-bone physique. As it happens, Skeletor is a wanted fugitive, part of a biker gang sought by New Jersey police for two years. Ceepak's plans to arrest him cause all kinds of trouble with higher-ups. The issue gets a new dimension when Paulie turns up brutally murdered and Skeletor is tagged as the prime suspect. Predictably, Mandrake wants the production to keep rolling. He has the mayor's ear, which means a tumultuous investigation and more killings before the case is solved.

Ceepak and Boyle's seventh caper (Rolling Thunder, 2010, etc.) moves like lightning as it puts its cartoonish cast through their paces.