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Deck the Hounds: An Andy Carpenter Mystery


Deck the Hounds: An Andy Carpenter Mystery

Andy Carpenter, attorney for the innocent dog-loving downtrodden of America, is back with a Christmas-themed courtroom novel.

DECK THE HOUNDS is the 18th installment in David Rosenfelt’s series, which offers readers a character who shares quite a bit in common with its author. Rosenfelt spent many years as the president of marketing for TriStar Pictures. He and his wife then moved to Maine, where they created the Tara Foundation to help find homes for sick or injured dogs. In these books, Andy also heads such a foundation, although he came to his work by a much different path. The fictional lawyer inherited a substantial estate from his attorney father. He began a highly specialized legal practice, taking only clients he believed to be innocent. Along the way, he added to his fortune by winning large settlements against the law enforcement officials who participated in the wrongful convictions of his clients.

"One hopes that Andy Carpenter will continue to be called out of retirement to defend the innocent and entertain readers for a few more cases."

Andy has been doing this for so long that he is contemplating retirement. When his wife, Laurie, asks him to take on a new case, Andy announces that he is retired. Laurie, an investigator and former police officer, responds that she will work on the case whether Andy accepts it or not. So he reluctantly agrees to represent Don Carrigan, who has been charged with murder. Andy has come out of retirement more times than Michael Jordan.

Andy feels a certain responsibility to Carrigan because he unintentionally set in motion a chain of events leading to the ex-soldier’s arrest. The homeless man was mysteriously attacked; his dog, Zoey, came to his defense and bit the assailant. Rather than allow the canine to be quarantined, Andy puts Zoey and her owner in an apartment above his garage. When this act of kindness receives news coverage, Carrigan’s outstanding warrant is discovered, and he is arrested for murder.

As always, once Andy is on the case, he assembles his legal team. His associate, Hike Lynch, is the polar opposite of Andy as an attorney. An eternal pessimist who finds gloom and despair in every aspect of these cases, Hike does the legwork and research, while Andy is the courtroom warrior. Other members include his secretary Edna, whose primary assignment seems to be complaining, and Sam Willis, an accountant and extraordinary investigator. Sam can find anything, and often does through means that Andy cannot fathom. Some of his tactics are less than legal, but Andy prefers not to speculate. This is the fictional legal world, and often it is better to simply not ask how or why. Finally, Andy has Marcus Clark, his security man. Strong and silent do not properly describe Marcus, who is always protecting Andy and Laurie in ways that Andy does not even recognize until after the fact.

The Rosenfelt formula in this series is consistent. Early in each book, the author makes clear that Andy’s client is innocent. As trial preparation progresses, a parallel story of the actual offender is presented in incremental pieces. When the trial begins, readers wonder if Andy can identify the actual murderer before the jury returns its verdict. The concluding pages of an Andy Carpenter novel are always a race to the finish line to see if justice will triumph. Rosenfelt makes the race interesting with humorous courtroom scenes. As Andy admits, his courtroom demeanor is not the best: “Where judges are concerned, to know me is to dislike me, since I don’t always do everything by the book.”

But what about Christmas? you might be asking. Laurie loves the holiday, which for the Carpenter family begins around Thanksgiving and ends long after the New Year. Andy and Laurie have a son, Ricky, who enjoys the lengthy celebration, unlike Andy, who tolerates Christmas as long as there are football games he can watch after placing a wager on the outcome.

It is a rollicking group brought together once again by David Rosenfelt. One hopes that Andy Carpenter will continue to be called out of retirement to defend the innocent and entertain readers for a few more cases.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on October 19, 2018

Deck the Hounds: An Andy Carpenter Mystery
by David Rosenfelt

  • Publication Date: October 16, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books
  • ISBN-10: 1250198488
  • ISBN-13: 9781250198488