Book Review: Last Exit In New Jersey by C.E. Grundler

Title: Last Exit In New Jersey
Author: C.E. Grundler
Genre: Fiction, Thriller
Year Published: 2011
Format: Kindle
Source: I purchased this book.

Last Exit In New Jersey by C.E. Grundler is an intricately plotted thriller that keeps you guessing until the very end. I kept thinking that I knew where the plot was heading – but I didn’t! I was initially intrigued by the settings since I am a Jersey girl and some of the towns and highways are familiar to me. However, it was the plot that drew me in.

Hazel Moran is a tough young woman who knows her way around boats and trucks. The book opens when Hazel and her father are dumping a body from their boat into the water. Hazel’s cousin Micah is also missing, and Hazel is determined to find him – even though there are some very bad people who very clearly do not want her to do so.


The seedy underbelly of New Jersey is something that I really don’t know much about (except by watching The Sopranos), but I certainly learned about it by reading this novel. Part of what makes this book different is the author’s obvious vast knowledge of boats and the denizens of the boating world. It gives the book a distinctive flavor. These are not yachts with millionaire owners, but rather those who use boats in their work – sometimes rather shady work.

The point of view of the novel shifts between several characters, including Hazel, the junk-food addicted and seriously disturbed Hammon, Hammon’s mysterious girlfriend Annabel, and other assorted characters.

I like Hazel because even though she is fearless and brave, she is surprisingly naïve and vulnerable when it comes to men. She just doesn’t like to show it.

My only problem with the book was that it is so long and densely plotted that my interest started flagging about half-way through the book. This might also be because I rarely read thrillers and I rarely read novels with such complex plots. However, after misplacing my Kindle for over a week (while I was totally re-organizing my apartment), I missed the book and was happy to get back to it to find out what happened. The ending is satisfying but will leave you wanting more!

The author is currently writing a sequel, No Wake Zone, that is scheduled to be published in Spring 2012. I can’t wait to read it and continue Hazel’s adventures.

You can read more about the author here.

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It’s Friday — time for Follow My Book Blog Friday, hosted by Parajunkee View and Alison Can Read!

Question: What superhero is your alter-ego?

Answer: I guess my favorite superhero is Wonder Woman! I wish I had her magical powers and I wish I looked like her! She was an early feminist icon, but still gorgeous (of course, she was created by men).

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