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Animal Instinct: A K Team Novel


Animal Instinct: A K Team Novel

David Rosenfelt's latest suspenseful and witty mystery is ANIMAL INSTINCT, the second in what surely will be another long-running hit series. It features the "K Team," three human investigators plus a very important canine operative: former police dog Simon Garfunkel. Yes, that is his name, which I cite here in full because I laugh so hard every time I see it.

The first twist in the mystery is that the first-person narrator and lead investigator in this unique case, former police officer Corey Douglas, is also the primary target of the investigation. They're quite sure he's the murderer. We readers, of course, know that he has been framed, but the real perpetrators are slippery, brilliant, sly and merciless.

"The traditional Rosenfelt humor still graces every page --- the dialogue, the narration and the characters themselves produce smiles and laughs galore."

Rosenfelt follows his usual M.O. at the very beginning. He introduces a character named Lisa Page on page one. By page three, she's dead. Corey suspects that the killer is her former boyfriend, Gerald Kline, whom he believes had been abusing Lisa. Kline is a rather evil fellow, and Corey expresses his opinion of him to a police officer acquaintance. However, Kline places a phone call to Corey and begs the investigator to come to his house and meet him. Corey arrives there, only to find a slain Kline lying on the floor. But all kinds of phony clues have been planted at the scene, and they all point to Corey as the murderer.

From this point on, the investigation plot and process take shape. The police carry on a relatively shallow investigation because they believe they already have their man. And the K Team simultaneously carries out a much more careful investigation in order to find the real killer and restore Corey’s stellar reputation. So off they go --- Corey; Simon; Laurie, the ex-cop and present wife of incorrigible defense attorney Andy Carpenter; and Marcus, the team's enforcer, who has never lost a fight. Also along for the bumpy ride is the ubiquitous Sam Willis, who can hack anybody or anything, and anything legal or not-so-legal. And Andy will represent Corey in court.

Their investigation turns up many potential clues and leads, all of which end up exactly nowhere. Our heroes are stumped, and additional murders abound. But they eventually make some hard-won headway; they become convinced that these crimes are performed via a cleverly constructed conspiracy involving several peripheral but significant characters. They conclude that with every new murder, Corey looks less and less guilty, but they still must prove to the cops and the jury that he is innocent.

As usual, Rosenfelt mixes in third-person-omniscient narrative chapters in addition to Corey's view of the proceedings, so we know more about the villains than the "cast" does. But also as usual, though we meet in those third-person chapters a man who is obviously a guilty party, we are as mystified about the specific elements of the conspiracy as are Corey and his friends. When the web is unraveled, Rosenfelt produces a kind of solution that is NOT usual for him: he hits us smack-dab in the face with a truly existential crisis that confronts us now and likely will prove even more shocking, dangerous --- and even deadly --- in the future.

But have no fear. The traditional Rosenfelt humor still graces every page --- the dialogue, the narration and the characters themselves produce smiles and laughs galore. And to top everything off in style, check out the delicious Acknowledgements, two pages worth of tasty giggles. Rosenfelt strikes again.

Reviewed by Jack Kramer on April 9, 2021

Animal Instinct: A K Team Novel
by David Rosenfelt

  • Publication Date: February 22, 2022
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250829429
  • ISBN-13: 9781250829429