First Sentence: It has been almost fourteen years since Kristen McNeil's body was discovered.
A tag on a Christmas charity wish tree leads attorney Andy Carpenter and his wife Laurie to a young boy wanting his father Noah Traynor to be brought home. The murder, for which Noah has been arrested, was a cold case until his DNA is identified on the victim's body. In the meantime, K-9 officer Sergeant Corey Douglas is about to retire, but his dog, Simon, still has time left to work. Corey wants Andy to help him get Simon released to retire with him. Andy agrees to represent Simon on the basis of species discrimination.
How refreshing when characters defy stereotype. Laurie, Andy's wife, is the type of person one aspires to be; kind, generous, compassionate toward people. She is an ex-cop, and very capable of taking care of herself and Andy. Andy, on the other hand, is a lawyer who keeps trying to retire from the law and is passionate about dogs. As a self-described weakling, he depends upon Laurie and the indomitable Marcus to protect him. There are interludes of Andy at home with his family and friends, yet they avoid the over-sentimentality such interaction can bring about.
Rosenfelt's courtroom scenes are a pleasure to read. They are well presented and honest, even when the client is decidedly unusual. He creates an excellent analogy likening a court case to a mountain climb such as Mt. Everest, and through it introduces the rest of Andy's quirky and memorable team.
It is always tragic when someone young dies. It is appreciated when Rosenfelt acknowledges one of the great sorrows of such a death--'It also once again highlights the terrible loss that occurred when her best friend died; Kristen might have gone on to bring other people into the world or cure some disease or just do kind things for people that needed kindness."
The story includes alternative POVs but only when needed to move the plot forward by characters other than the protagonist. Rosenfelt creates a plot which seems simple but grows into something more complicated and more dangerous as it progresses. Be aware; despite the cute dog on the cover, this is not a cozy. Rosenfelt does like his body count, but the scenes aren't particularly gory. He is also very good at the unexpected, and very effective, plot twist, and a fun mention which lightens the situation.
The dialogue is so well written, the courtroom exchanges come alive. Along with the on-going outside investigation, in which there is a very nice escalation of suspense, plot twist, and an excellent red herring, one feels the anticipation of awaiting the jury's decision.
DACHSHUND THROUGH THE SNOW - VG
Legal Mys-Andy Carpenter-New Jersey-Contemp
Rosenfelt, David – 20th in seriesMinotaur Books - Oct 2019