LAST EXIT IN NEW JERSEY

Nice young ladies really shouldn’t be dumping bodies at sea. Then again, that isn’t stopping Hazel Moran, and she can’t figure where anyone got the idea she was nice to begin with.

Raised aboard her father’s aging schooner and riding shotgun in their old 18-wheeler, there’s little on the road or water that she can’t handle; it’s her people skills that need work. Normally that isn’t an issue – behind the wheel of a Kenworth most people tend to leave her alone. But when Hazel and her father become the targets of some unsavory characters hunting for her blue-haired cousin, their stolen tractor-trailer truck and a delivery that never arrived, she knows it’s time to heed a lesson learned from her favorite hard-boiled paperbacks: playing nice will only end in tears.

For ten sweltering days Hazel navigates the Garden State’s highways and shorelines, contending with a suspiciously wealthy stranger, white trash, Born Agains, appliance salesmen, an unstable stalker and his curiously troublesome companion. It’ll take all her ingenuity, not to mention some fishing tackle and high voltage, if Hazel hopes to protect her family and unravel this tangle of greed and betrayal. And anyone who gets too close, no matter their intent, will discover just how dangerous Hazel truly is as she sets in motion a twisted plan to uncover the truth, settle some scores, and if possible not wind up dead in the process.

NAMED ONE OF THE TOP THREE MYSTERIES OF 2010
~ Red Adept Reviews Annual Indie Awards
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And what’s next for Hazel, Hammon and the rest of the gang? They’ll all be back on 05/08/12 in No Wake Zone and yet again in Evacuation Route in 2013

UPDATE: Last Exit In New Jersey and No Wake Zone will be released on March 6th and May 8th, 2012 under the Thomas & Mercer imprint. I would like to thank everyone out there who has helped me reach this point, from those of you who have to deal with me first hand as I walk around plotting murders to the growing number of readers who have enjoyed my story. I do wish to apologize; you’ll all have to wait just a bit longer for No Wake Zone. I originally planned to have it out by late fall of 2011, but my publisher (wow, did I just say that?!) will be putting the professional polish on both books for a Spring 2012 launch.

Last Exit In New Jersey’s MYSTERIES FOR MUTTS 2011 Fundraiser raised $400 for the New Jersey Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (www.njspca.org) Thanks to everyone who participated!

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Praise for Last Exit In New Jersey…

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“A mystery in the John D. MacDonald tradition – both in its largely watery setting and tone, the novel also brings to mind Dashiell Hammett in the complexity of its plot, and even Stieg Larsson in its use of a strong young woman with an attitude as a main character. Last Exit In New Jersey is well-paced, densely-plotted story that mystery-thriller fans will enjoy immensely.”
~ Alex Austin, author of The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed
Read the full review

_____________________________

“This is one of the best books I have read in quite awhile. And, with as many books as I read, that’s saying something. The narrative was fast paced and nerve wracking. From the rather passive opening to the nail -biting action scenes, I was held enthralled. Expertly composed, this novel kept me glued to my Kindle. I had question upon question about what was going on and how it was going to end. There was zero disappointment as the ending tied up everything neatly.”

“As noteworthy as the plot, the characters were terrific. Hazel was sassy and strong, yet with a compelling hint of vulnerability. She was completely believable. Hammon was my favorite character. He was insane and confused, but that made him the most fun. His friend Annabelle was my second favorite character. They played off of each other with humor and melancholy in a wonderful mix.”

“I loved the switching of viewpoints and the way it kept me guessing without contrived cliff-hangers. The dialogue was crisp and completely realistic. There was just the right amount of humor injected to give the tale a little lift, without downplaying the gravity of the situations. The descriptions were vivid enough to make me feel like I was watching this book on a movie screen.”
Lynn at Red Adept Reviews
Read the full 5 star review

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“As much as I loathe the phrase “twists and turns” in all its hideous triteness, I can think of no better way to explain the serpentine path that is Last Exit In New Jersey. My mind is still trying to process as I write, but the first word to come to mind is this: wow.”

“Last Exit In New Jersey is a lesson in balance — dramatics without implausibility; suspense sans gratuitous filler; and romance conveyed in half a handful of love scenes. In the end, reading this book is a lot like sailing aboard Hammon’s boat, the Revenge: the pacing is efficiently done, even if part of you irrationally wishes it were a faster ride.
~  Alice at Stimulated Outlet Book Reviews  
Read the full review

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I am going to blame last night’s lack of sleep completely the intensity of this book. Every page brought a new twist and turn, and you are left constantly wondering what you will be learning next. All the pieces do not settle into place until the very end, but once they do settle in, you will shocked at what the final picture shows. There is certainly more than enough to draw readers in to this book- action, romance, intrigue. Men will like it, women will like it. I certainly liked it, and I think you will too.”
Tiffany Harkleroad at Tiffany’s Bookshelf
Read the full review

_____________________________

The Last Exit in New Jersey is an action packed story that deftly weaves unconventional characters into a darkly intriguing thriller. Grundler’s intricate plot is tightly constructed as Hazel Moran finds herself caught in a deadly tangle of smugglers, thieves and killers. The story moves forward at a brisk pace with moments of brutal and explosive action as Hazel tries to evade the shadowy figures targeting her family while hunting for her missing cousin. The plot is intricately layered and while, if at times I was frustrated by the possibilities, I was never confused by the twisting threads of the premise. The author builds the connections between the seemingly disparate events and characters with care and skill. I thought the plot clever and challenging, requiring engagement with the characters and story.”

“I found the psychological disquiet of the characters the most compelling and unique aspect of the novel. It becomes clear as the story progresses that Hazel is an unusual heroine. Her motivations are transparent, but she has an edge of violence and instability that is disconcerting. Otto is obviously struggling with sanity and while his behaviour is consistently motivated by his obsession with Hazel/Annabelle, the potential for him to fall apart with spectacular consequences is always present. In regards to the other characters it’s not always obvious whom means harm and whom means to help, and this contributes to the complexity and tension of the story. Grundler’s experience with trucking and boating in New Jersey gives her work authenticity, and her imagination provides for an original, entertaining thriller with fascinating characters. The Last Exit in New Jersey is a well written, impressive debut novel.”
~  Shellyrae at Book’d Out

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C.E. Grundler deserves fireworks and comets as well as stars for this fast-moving page-turner. I am reading it now and agree with this review wholeheartedly. An excellent story with characters that get into ones’ heart and mind and stay there.”
~ Leslie

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“I am so happy to be able to say Grundler and her book are shining examples of what self-published books should look, read, and behave like.”

“The story grabs you from the first page. Hazel is one of the best characters I’ve come across in a long time. She’s fearless, slightly psycho, but has this sweet vulnerable side that draws the reader into her life and refuses to let go. The whole book reads like you’re watching a movie. You see everything just as the author wants you to, in HD detail! I can honestly say it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. Hazel is just the coolest heroine. Stuck in the middle of a conspiracy, she finds herself doubting everyone she knows and trusts, sometimes with tragic results. It’s hard to say much because a lot of the twists are out of nowhere and breath-stealing.”

“Last Exit has everything—a bit of romance, horror, mystery, drama, and lots of dark humor. The characters are weird, but completely believable. Otto is so crazy, but sympathetic enough that you will love him, once you figure out what his goals are. It’s a little bit heartbreaking when you find out about Annabel, but once you follow through on that twist, it’ll leave you with a smile on your face.”

“Hazel is an ingenious protagonist—she’s smart and funny and dead-set on saving Micah. When she sets her sights on revenge, she will turn hell upside down to make sure she gets it. She’s not above using boobytraps and switchblades to exact revenge.”

“The book is a double mystery. The main question, the one that sets up the entire situation, is “Who set Micah up?”. The plot evolves, and we had in “Who is Otto?” and “Who is Stevenson, and what does Otto have to do with him?”. Even deeper into the book, and we open up more cans of worms.”

“Last Exit is chock full of story—there isn’t a page that turns without something happening. The great thing about this book is that every event moves the story forward until you’re flying along, trying to figure out what the hell is happening to Hazel. Grundler is an excellent writer with amazing potential. If you like dark, twisted stories and fresh, exciting characters, you’ll love it.”
Ash Arceneaux at Fangirltastic
Read the full review

_____________________________

While Last Exit in New Jersey might be considered noir, if you don’t read noir-type books, don’t let that discourage you. While dark with flawed characters, I would consider this the type of book that noir lovers and non-lovers alike would love.”

“She (Hazel Moran) reminds me somewhat of Lisbeth in the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larrson without as much baggage. She’s tough like Lisbeth, there’s some baggage but not as much, but she’s shy and she’s vulnerable but she will do all she can to protect those close to her.”

“The suspense is wonderfully done and this book has to be one of my favorites of the year because of the great suspense and the different feel to the book as a whole. You honestly don’t feel like you are reading a typical book when you read Last Exit in New Jersey. It’s fresh, it’s suspenseful and has great characters.”
~ Crystal at MyReadingRoom
Read the full review

_____________________________

I have never had a problem reviewing self-published works, but like everyone, have read works that have ranged from the banal to the really good. I have to say that Last Exit in New Jersey is a great example of how self-publication does not have to be poorly done. This novel had me hooked right from the beginning and pretty much did not let go until the very end.”

“Hazel is an amazing character and I loved her. She is brash, courageous, determined, and deceptively lethal. I loved her fierce determination to protect her family no matter the cost, and yet, there was a vulnerability to her that I found endearing. She was like a tornado and whenever she was around, chaos and destruction seemed to follow her everywhere, but it was so much fun to read. Hazel had no idea whom to trust, and because you are following her story, you had no idea who to trust either, and as the story twisted and turned around the various facts and suppositions, it left you unsure, wondering exactly what was going on. It wasn’t until about halfway through the book that I started getting an idea as to what was really happening and I loved that about this book.”

“This story has everything you could want in a thriller; it has romance, mystery, intrigue, suspense, action, drama, and a lot of dark humour, which I loved. I can’t say the characters were normal, as Hazel was somewhat psychotic, and Hammon was beyond weird, but they grow on you and it’s what makes them so much fun to read about. Furthermore, they are completely believable in their own way. And Ms. Grundler has a style to her writing that makes you feel a connection to the characters, that allows you to understand them, even if you don’t necessarily understand their actions or their drives and desires. And Hazel is the type of female character, building booby traps, driving during car chases, being skillful with a knife, that I like to see in females, not the squeamish females that we often see in novels who faint when anything goes wrong. It’s nice to see tough, strong female characters who can handle themselves well.”

“I really enjoyed this novel and Ms. Grundler had no problem capturing my interest from beginning to end. There were a lot of twists and turns in this novel, which kept me guessing the true nature of the villain, and some surprises too. The action scenes were deftly interwoven into the romantic scenes and I truly enjoyed Ms. Grundler’s literary voice. I am looking forward to reading more novels from this author.
Stephanie at Curling Up by the Fire
Read the full review

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Just when you think you figure out who you can trust and what’s really happening, the story twists, reverses, and turns and you still don’t know. Hazel is a solid and likable character, with her own strengths and weaknesses that lend credence to the story. A heart-thumping, thrilling page turner that will keep you guessing, Last Exit to New Jersey is a deftly blended thriller.”
~  Wendy at mindingspot
Read the full review

_____________________________

This is memorable genre fiction, a crime mystery ennobled by a love story between a homicidal heroine and a suicidal hero. If you’re looking for a good Indie tale, this is definitely one you should try.”
Dick at The Texas Scribbler
Read the full review

_____________________________

A story you won’t forget. A week on, and two other fiction reads later, I’m still thinking about this one. And looking forward to whatever Grundler comes up with next.”
Amazon Review:

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The promotional copy for Last Exit in New Jersey starts Nice young ladies from the Garden State really shouldn’t be dumping bodies at sea. Then again, 20 year-old Hazel Moran is anything but your typical Jersey girl. Those events start in Chapter 1, and that’s a fairly good indication of what you’re getting in C. E. Grundler’s first novel. The work, available only electronically, is a modern hard-boiled / noir novel with a serious fixation on boating.”

“The characters spend ten days in late June and early July running up and down the Jersey coast in various boats, trucks and fast cars. For reasons unknown, a group of people is desperately trying to find Hazel’s cousin and best friend Micah, and they are perfectly willing to carve the information out of Hazel. The first problem is that Hazel has no idea where Micah is, and the second problem is that Hazel can drive or sail just about anything smaller than an aircraft carrier, which makes finding her difficult. But Hazel’s no Woman of Steel – she’s remorseful, rebellious and moody, basically pitch-perfect for her age. Last Exit is well-written and fast-paced, and has high production values. It’s definitely worth the read. I found Last Exit in New Jersey to be a fast, well-written and entertaining story. I hope to see more from Ms. Grundler.”
Chris at PodPeople 

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I stayed up last night to finish Last Exit in New Jersey, and all I can say is WOW! The ending was perfect, and I am in awe of the way you brought those characters to life and let them tell the story. I figured Last Exit would be interesting because of the local color. I was drawn in immediately by the story and kept on the edge of my seat throughout the book. The pacing, the quality of the writing — all of it — just top notch. I thought your book would be good, but it was even better than I expected. I can’t wait for the next one!”
LG 

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Hazel Moran doesn’t know who to trust. Someone is trying to kill her, and she doesn’t know why. Staying alive and trying to protect her family takes all of her resourcefulness. This book will take you on a wild ride. Well-written and tightly-plotted, the characters carry the story through unexpected twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. They’ll stay with you long after you read the final page. Don’t miss this one!”
Smashwords Review

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I really, really liked the book. Hazel and Hammon (Otto) make a truly compelling set of parallel protagonists, such that alternating between the two meant double the reading pleasure. Moreover, Grundler has created quite a bit of suspense of exactly why(the “villain”) Stevenson is so interested in Hazel, as well as the backstory with him and Hammon. To round things out there’s also Hammon’s … sidekick … Annabel, who serves as a sort of Greek Chorus.”
Goodreads Review

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I was hooked from page one – a body is being dumped into the Atlantic – and the tension keeps rising from there. This is one dark and twisted story, though I often found myself laughing as the author has a way of slipping subtle humor in at the most unexpected and blackest moments. The dialog is sharp and real, the characters believable and genuine – even the ones you hate.”
Amazon review

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The Last Exit in New Jersey is a book that grabbed my attention from the first page and did not let go until the last sentence. Hazel Moran is a girl on the run and to make matters worse she is not sure who she should be running from. Who can she trust? Who is looking to destroy her and her family? Just as Hazel (and the reader) thinks that she has found answers to these questions, her story takes another twist and she is thrown back into uncertainty. The author has created a world where enemies masquerade as friends, love comes in a very unexpected package, and very little can be taken at face value. If you enjoy stories which keep you on edge of your seat, I’d encourage you to spend some time in the place she has created.”
Amazon review

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“I was attracted to the title and not disappointed. I know that sign very well, I used to live in the area. I found the book great fun and very interesting. Not your usual wimpy girl heroine but a “don’t mess with me” girl. If you want something with a great plot and many twists you won’t be disappointed. I’ll be waiting for the next book.”
Amazon review

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If you love twists and turns in your reading check out LAST EXIT IN NEW JERSEY by C.E. Grundler- http://amzn.to/azW0k7″
Twitter:

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I’m not usually a fan of thrillers, preferring my mysteries on the “cozier” side, but once I got into the book, I was completely hooked! In a nutshell, South Jersey girl Hazel finds herself involved with some nasty characters when she starts looking into the disappearance of her cousin Micah. Stevenson, an mysterious outsider from Up North, appears on the scene at that point, with a job hauling a boat (Hazel’s family business) up to the NYC area; her father readily agrees to get her out of the area. Then, the storyline alternates with Otto, a rather … non-conformist young man, mixed up with Stevenson, though unclear exactly how. Action shifts up and down the Garden State Parkway as Micah’s situation grows increasingly intense.”

“For the record, Hazel’s not a cross between Nancy Drew and Stephanie Plum, but a gal from an overlooked part of the Garden State, resourceful enough to get the answers she’s looking for (though not expecting!) in the end. To be honest, I appreciated the scenes with Otto, and his … sidekick Annabel, more, but the book’s so well-written it’s all good.”

“Last Exit is available at Smashwords and Amazon for a price that’s a fraction of what it should be going for (ebook only, there’s currently no print version). Disclaimer: I am neither a friend, nor relation, of the author. I wrote this post because I felt the story was truly outstanding.”
~ Mobilereads Forum, ‘Recommended Reads’ Post

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This book kept me hooked from the start. The plot moved along at a steady pace and the characters were beautifully portrayed and came to life on each page. My head was spinning as I tried to figure out who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. This was no easy feat. More often than not, I turned out to be wrong.”

“I love a book that gives me much to think about and keeps me on my toes. There was a little mix of everything in this story from suspense, adventure, mystery, a dash of romance and a bit of black humor all tossed together to make one exciting book. C.E. Grundler is an author I’ll be looking for in the future. I’d love to read more from this author.”
~  Yvonne at Socrate’s Book Reviews
Read the full review

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Feeling nostalgic for the old ‘Dodge on the Parkway’ cover?  I couldn’t delete it entirely!

Last exit in nj

Alex Austin, author of The Red Album of Asbury Park Remixed said: A mystery in the John D. MacDonald tradition – both in its largely watery setting and tone, the novel also brings to mind Dashiell Hammet in the complexity of its plot, and even Stieg Larsson in its use of a strong young woman with an attitude as a main character. Last Exit In New Jersey is well-paced, densely-plotted story that mystery-thriller fans will enjoy immensely. Read the full review

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Red Adept’s Annual Indie Awards named Last Exit In New Jersey as one of the top three mysteries of 2010! Lynn at Red Adept Reviews gave Last Exit In New Jersey 5 Stars! – This is one of the best books I have read in quite awhile. And, with as many books as I read, that’s saying something. The narrative was fast paced and nerve wracking. From the rather passive opening to the nail -bitin
g action scenes, I was held enthralled. Expertly composed, this novel kept me glued to my Kindle. I had question upon question about what was going on and how it was going to end. There was zero disappointment as the ending tied up everything neatly.

As noteworthy as the plot, the characters were terrific. Hazel was sassy and strong, yet with a compelling hint of vulnerability. She was completely believable. Hammon was my favorite character. He was insane and confused, but that made him the most fun. His friend Annabelle was my second favorite character. They played off of each other with humor and melancholy in a wonderful mix.

I loved the switching of viewpoints and the way it kept me guessing without contrived cliff-hangers. The dialogue was crisp and completely realistic. There was just the right amount of humor injected to give the tale a little lift, without downplaying the gravity of the situations. The descriptions were vivid enough to make me feel like I was watching this book on a movie screen. Read the full review

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My friends always worried that it was just a matter of time, but now I’ve gone and done it. I’m making headlines for Murder and Mayhem!

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Tiffany Harkleroad at Tiffany’s Bookshelf said: I am going to blame last night’s lack of sleep completely the intensity of this book. Every page brought a new twist and turn, and you are left constantly wondering what you will be learning next. All the pieces do not settle into place until the very end, but once they do settle in, you will shocked at what the final picture shows. There is certainly more than enough to draw readers in to this book- action, romance, intrigue. Men will like it, women will like it. I certainly liked it, and I think you will too. Read the full review

_____________________________

Shellyrae at Book’d Out said: The Last Exit in New Jersey is an action packed story that deftly weaves unconventional characters into a darkly intriguing thriller. Grundler’s intricate plot is tightly constructed as Hazel Moran finds herself caught in a deadly tangle of smugglers, thieves and killers. The story moves forward at a brisk pace with moments of brutal and explosive action as Hazel tries to evade the shadowy figures targeting her family while hunting for her missing cousin. The plot is intricately layered and while, if at times I was frustrated by the possibilities, I was never confused by the twisting threads of the premise. The author builds the connections between the seemingly disparate events and characters with care and skill. I thought the plot clever and challenging, requiring engagement with the characters and story.

I found the psychological disquiet of the characters the most compelling and unique aspect of the novel. It becomes clear as the story progresses that Hazel is an unusual heroine. Her motivations are transparent, but she has an edge of violence and instability that is disconcerting. Otto is obviously struggling with sanity and while his behaviour is consistently motivated by his obsession with Hazel/Annabelle, the potential for him to fall apart with spectacular consequences is always present. In regards to the other characters it’s not always obvious whom means harm and whom means to help, and this contributes to the complexity and tension of the story. Grundler’s experience with trucking and boating in New Jersey gives her work authenticity, and her imagination provides for an original, entertaining thriller with fascinating characters. The Last Exit in New Jersey is a well written, impressive debut novel.

_____________________________Leslie said: C.E. Grundler deserves fireworks and comets as well as stars for this fast-moving page-turner. I am reading it now and agree with this review wholeheartedly. An excellent story with characters that get into ones’ heart and mind and stay there.

_____________________________Ash Arceneaux at Fangirltastic said: I am so happy to be able to say Grundler and her book are shining examples of what self-published books should look, read, and behave like.

The story grabs you from the first page. Hazel is one of the best characters I’ve come across in a long time. She’s fearless, slightly psycho, but has this sweet vulnerable side that draws the reader into her life and refuses to let go. The whole book reads like you’re watching a movie. You see everything just as the author wants you to, in HD detail! I can honestly say it’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long, long time. Hazel is just the coolest heroine. Stuck in the middle of a conspiracy, she finds herself doubting everyone she knows and trusts, sometimes with tragic results. It’s hard to say much because a lot of the twists are out of nowhere and breath-stealing.

Last Exit has everything—a bit of romance, horror, mystery, drama, and lots of dark humor. The characters are weird, but completely believable. Otto is so crazy, but sympathetic enough that you will love him, once you figure out what his goals are. It’s a little bit heartbreaking when you find out about Annabel, but once you follow through on that twist, it’ll leave you with a smile on your face.

Hazel is an ingenious protagonist—she’s smart and funny and dead-set on saving Micah. When she sets her sights on revenge, she will turn hell upside down to make sure she gets it. She’s not above using boobytraps and switchblades to exact revenge.

The book is a double mystery. The main question, the one that sets up the entire situation, is “Who set Micah up?”. The plot evolves, and we had in “Who is Otto?” and “Who is Stevenson, and what does Otto have to do with him?”. Even deeper into the book, and we open up more cans of worms.

Last Exit is chock full of story—there isn’t a page that turns without something happening. The great thing about this book is that every event moves the story forward until you’re flying along, trying to figure out what the hell is happening to Hazel. Grundler is an excellent writer with amazing potential. If you like dark, twisted stories and fresh, exciting characters, you’ll love it. Read the full review

_____________________________Crystal at MyReadingRoom said: While Last Exit in New Jersey might be considered noir, if you don’t read noir-type books, don’t let that discourage you. While dark with flawed characters, I would consider this the type of book that noir lovers and non-lovers alike would love.

She (Hazel Moran) reminds me somewhat of Lisbeth in the Millenium trilogy by Stieg Larrson without as much baggage. She’s tough like Lisbeth, there’s some baggage but not as much, but she’s shy and she’s vulnerable but she will do all she can to protect those close to her.

The suspense is wonderfully done and this book has to be one of my favorites of the year because of the great suspense and the different feel to the book as a whole. You honestly don’t feel like you are reading a typical book when you read Last Exit in New Jersey. It’s fresh, it’s suspenseful and has great characters. Read the full review

_____________________________Stephanie at Curling Up by the Fire said: I have never had a problem reviewing self-published works, but like everyone, have read works that have ranged from the banal to the really good. I have to say that Last Exit in New Jersey is a great example of how self-publication does not have to be poorly done. This novel had me hooked right from the beginning and pretty much did not let go until the very end.

Hazel is an amazing character and I loved her. She is brash, courageous, determined, and deceptively lethal. I loved her fierce determination to protect her family no matter the cost, and yet, there was a vulnerability to her that I found endearing. She was like a tornado and whenever she was around, chaos and destruction seemed to follow her everywhere, but it was so much fun to read. Hazel had no idea whom to trust, and because you are following her story, you had no idea who to trust either, and as the story twisted and turned around the various facts and suppositions, it left you unsure, wondering exactly what was going on. It wasn’t until about halfway through the book that I started getting an idea as to what was really happening and I loved that about this book.

This story has everything you could want in a thriller; it has romance, mystery, intrigue, suspense, action, drama, and a lot of dark humour, which I loved. I can’t say the characters were normal, as Hazel was somewhat psychotic, and Hammon was beyond weird, but they grow on you and it’s what makes them so much fun to read about. Furthermore, they are completely believable in their own way. And Ms. Grundler has a style to her writing that makes you feel a connection to the characters, that allows you to understand them, even if you don’t necessarily understand their actions or their drives and desires. And Hazel is the type of female character, building booby traps, driving during car chases, being skillful with a knife, that I like to see in females, not the squeamish females that we often see in novels who faint when anything goes wrong. It’s nice to see tough, strong female characters who can handle themselves well.

I really enjoyed this novel and Ms. Grundler had no problem capturing my interest from beginning to end. There were a lot of twists and turns in this novel, which kept me guessing the true nature of the villain, and some surprises too. The action scenes were deftly interwoven into the romantic scenes and I truly enjoyed Ms. Grundler’s literary voice. I am looking forward to reading more novels from this author. Read the full review

_____________________________Wendy at mindingspot said: Just when you think you figure out who you can trust and what’s really happening, the story twists, reverses, and turns and you still don’t know. Hazel is a solid and likable character, with her own strengths and weaknesses that lend credence to the story. A heart-thumping, thrilling page turner that will keep you guessing, Last Exit to New Jersey is a deftly blended thriller. Read the full review

_____________________________Dick at The Texas Scribbler said: This is memorable genre fiction, a crime mystery ennobled by a love story between a homicidal heroine and a suicidal hero. If you’re looking for a good Indie tale, this is definitely one you should try. Read the full review

_____________________________Amazon Review: A story you won’t forget. A week on, and two other fiction reads later, I’m still thinking about this one. And looking forward to whatever Grundler comes up with next.

_____________________________Chris at PodPeople said: The promotional copy for Last Exit in New Jersey starts Nice young ladies from the Garden State really shouldn’t be dumping bodies at sea. Then again, 20 year-old Hazel Moran is anything but your typical Jersey girl. Those events start in Chapter 1, and that’s a fairly good indication of what you’re getting in C. E. Grundler’s first novel. The work, available only electronically, is a modern hard-boiled / noir novel with a serious fixation on boating.

The characters spend ten days in late June and early July running up and down the Jersey coast in various boats, trucks and fast cars. For reasons unknown, a group of people is desperately trying to find Hazel’s cousin and best friend Micah, and they are perfectly willing to carve the information out of Hazel. The first problem is that Hazel has no idea where Micah is, and the second problem is that Hazel can drive or sail just about anything smaller than an aircraft carrier, which makes finding her difficult. But Hazel’s no Woman of Steel – she’s remorseful, rebellious and moody, basically pitch-perfect for her age. Last Exit is well-written and fast-paced, and has high production values. It’s definitely worth the read. I found Last Exit in New Jersey to be a fast, well-written and entertaining story. I hope to see more from Ms. Grundler.

_____________________________LG said: I stayed up last night to finish Last Exit in New Jersey, and all I can say is WOW! The ending was perfect, and I am in awe of the way you brought those characters to life and let them tell the story. I figured Last Exit would be interesting because of the local color. I was drawn in immediately by the story and kept on the edge of my seat throughout the book. The pacing, the quality of the writing — all of it — just top notch. I thought your book would be good, but it was even better than I expected. I can’t wait for the next one!

_____________________________Smashwords Review: Hazel Moran doesn’t know who to trust. Someone is trying to kill her, and she doesn’t know why. Staying alive and trying to protect her family takes all of her resourcefulness. This book will take you on a wild ride. Well-written and tightly-plotted, the characters carry the story through unexpected twists and turns that will keep you on the edge of your seat. They’ll stay with you long after you read the final page. Don’t miss this one!

_____________________________Goodreads Review: I really, really liked the book. Hazel and Hammon (Otto) make a truly compelling set of parallel protagonists, such that alternating between the two meant double the reading pleasure. Moreover, Grundler has created quite a bit of suspense of exactly why(the “villain”) Stevenson is so interested in Hazel, as well as the backstory with him and Hammon. To round things out there’s also Hammon’s … sidekick … Annabel, who serves as a sort of Greek Chorus.

_____________________________Amazon review: I was hooked from page one – a body is being dumped into the Atlantic – and the tension keeps rising from there. This is one dark and twisted story, though I often found myself laughing as the author has a way of slipping subtle humor in at the most unexpected and blackest moments. The dialog is sharp and real, the characters believable and genuine – even the ones you hate.

_____________________________Amazon Review: The Last Exit in New Jersey is a book that grabbed my attention from the first page and did not let go until the last sentence. Hazel Moran is a girl on the run and to make matters worse she is not sure who she should be running from. Who can she trust? Who is looking to destroy her and her family? Just as Hazel (and the reader) thinks that she has found answers to these questions, her story takes another twist and she is thrown back into uncertainty. The author has created a world where enemies masquerade as friends, love comes in a very unexpected package, and very little can be taken at face value. If you enjoy stories which keep you on edge of your seat, I’d encourage you to spend some time in the place she has created.

_____________________________Amazon Review: “I was attracted to the title and not disappointed. I know that sign very well, I used to live in the area. I found the book great fun and very interesting. Not your usual wimpy girl heroine but a “don’t mess with me” girl. If you want something with a great plot and many twists you won’t be disappointed. I’ll be waiting for the next book.

_____________________________
Twitter: If you love twists and turns in your reading check out LAST EXIT IN NEW JERSEY by C.E. Grundler- http://amzn.to/azW0k7

_____________________________Mobilereads Forum, ‘Recommended Reads’ Post: I’m not usually a fan of thrillers, preferring my mysteries on the “cozier” side, but once I got into the book, I was completely hooked! In a nutshell, South Jersey girl Hazel finds herself involved with some nasty characters when she starts looking into the disappearance of her cousin Micah. Stevenson, an mysterious outsider from Up North, appears on the scene at that point, with a job hauling a boat (Hazel’s family business) up to the NYC area; her father readily agrees to get her out of the area. Then, the storyline alternates with Otto, a rather … non-conformist young man, mixed up with Stevenson, though unclear exactly how. Action shifts up and down the Garden State Parkway as Micah’s situation grows increasingly intense.

For the record, Hazel’s not a cross between Nancy Drew and Stephanie Plum, but a gal from an overlooked part of the Garden State, resourceful enough to get the answers she’s looking for (though not expecting!) in the end. To be honest, I appreciated the scenes with Otto, and his … sidekick Annabel, more, but the book’s so well-written it’s all good.

Last Exit is available at Smashwords and Amazon for a price that’s a fraction of what it should be going for (ebook only, there’s currently no print version). Disclaimer: I am neither a friend, nor relation, of the author. I wrote this post because I felt the story was truly outstanding.

_____________________________Yvonne at Socrate’s Book Reviews said: This book kept me hooked from the start. The plot moved along at a steady pace and the characters were beautifully portrayed and came to life on each page. My head was spinning as I tried to figure out who were the good guys and who were the bad guys. This was no easy feat. More often than not, I turned out to be wrong.

I love a book that gives me much to think about and keeps me on my toes. There was a little mix of everything in this story from suspense, adventure, mystery, a dash of romance and a bit of black humor all tossed together to make one exciting book. C.E. Grundler is an author I’ll be looking for in the future. I’d love to read more from this author. Read the full review

_____________________________If you’d like to read Last Exit In New Jersey (and any other e-books) but don’t have an e-reader, not to worry! There are plenty of free aps out there from assorted sources designed to run on a wide range of devices, from your standard PC or Mac to iPhones, iPads, Blackberries, Androids, PDAs and beyond. Check out e-book reading software from eReader , Mobipocket Reader and Amazon for a variety of free reading aps.

3 responses to “LAST EXIT IN NEW JERSEY

  1. Pingback: The shark is not working… | Write On The Water

  2. Pingback: C.E. Grundler: “Last Exit in New Jersey” | alive with words

  3. Hi Cheoy Lee Trawler Restorer

    I am restoring a 36 ft Cheoy Lee. When finished I will keep her in the Last Exit in NJ. Seriously, but first I need a rudder. The old one is at the bottom in some other harbor in NJ. Do you have photos or drawings of your rudder ?

    Mark P

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