Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Deck the Hounds by David Rosenfelt

First Sentence:  I've come up with a solution to the homeless problem.
Semi-retired attorney Andy Carpenter can never pass up a dog, especially when it's the companion of a homeless man.  The dog, Zoey, bites a man in defense of an attack on his owner, and the dog is quarantined. Laurie, Andy's former-cop wife, decides they should help by taking Zoey into their kennels and his owner, Don Carrigan into the apartment over their garage.  When Andy accidentally mentions Don's name in an interview, they learn that he is wanted for a murder from two years ago, of which Don has no knowledge.  It's up to Andy to prove Don innocent.
Rosenfelt created an opening which not only touches the heart but makes one wish to be in a position to commit similar acts.  However, it may also cause one to search the internet for corn crème brûlee recipes.  The short summary of Laurie's background is just enough.  Andy's friends and co-workers are a diverse and interesting group who appear throughout the series, although one can become a bit annoyed with a couple of them over time.  Carrigan, however, is a character who reminds one not to make assumptions about people based on their appearance or their situation.  That is very well done.
The story starts fairly low-key.  Then the switch flips and the risk factor becomes higher.  However, an element Rosenfelt uses, often to lighten the mood, is Andy's internal narrative—"The door is opened by a woman who is clearly some kind of housekeeper/maid.  She is wearing a sort of uniform, mostly white with some dark blue trim.  The skirt looks like one enormous doily; I shudder to think how many normal-sized doilies were killed in the making of that garment."
Rosenfelt's plots remind one of complex Venn diagrams with numerous overlapping circles.  What's nice is how well it all works, and the overlaps never feel like coincidences.  That Andy isn't one's usual macho protagonist is a refreshing change.  That Marcus, the muscle, works with Andy's wife Laurie is even better.  As the chain of evidence builds, the center of the diagram becomes clear.  Even the identity of the killer is a very effective twist.
Following the trial is always interesting.  Rosenfelt clearly explains the process along the way, including what can, and cannot, be done.  At the same time, there is a nice balance between the case and Andy's home and family life, which makes the characters more real.
"Deck the Hounds" has plenty of bodies and a very twisty plot which is anything but boring. One will appreciate that the author doesn't do the expected or go for the easy solution.

DECK THE HOUNDS (LegMys-Andy Carpenter-New Jersey -Contemp) – G+    
      Rosenfelt, David – 18th in series
      Minotaur Books – Oct 2018


  1. I like the Andy Carpenter character, and the New Jersey setting for this series. And I have to admit, as a dog owner/lover, I like the canine theme of the series, too. Glad you enjoyed this.