Review

New Tricks

by David Rosenfelt

The pun is simply too obvious and alluring to avoid, but with
apologies to all, David Rosenfelt’s writing is going to the
dogs. Rosenfelt is the author of an entertaining courtroom mystery
series featuring New Jersey attorney Andy Carpenter, a criminal
defense lawyer with a unique law practice. Andy inherited a small
fortune from his father. This wealth allows him the independence to
practice law when and for whom he chooses, and his small coterie of
co-workers includes several unique and talented individuals.

Andy is a dog lover. Previous books in the series have involved
canines as central figures in his cases. Even his own golden
retriever, Tara, has played a prominent role. In NEW TRICKS, Andy
has another canine client, Waggy, a Bernese mountain puppy who he
must shepherd through a custody battle in court.

Waggy’s custody is the subject of a courtroom battle
between the heirs of the recently murdered Walter Timmerman, a
multi-millionaire pharmaceutical baron. Timmerman’s homicide
has caused a rift between his widow Diane and Walter’s son
Steven, a prime suspect in Walter’s murder. After accepting
the assignment as guardian of the dog, Andy proceeds to the
Timmerman estate to take custody of his client. Shortly after his
arrival, an explosion rocks the house killing Diane. Steven is now
more than a suspect; he is the defendant in a double-murder case.
Fortunately for him, Andy believes he is innocent.

The Carpenter regulars all make appearances in NEW TRICKS. His
hypochondriac associate, Kevin Randall, does the heavy legal
lifting while fighting off every disease known to man. Edna, his
office assistant, makes work avoidance an art form. Every lawyer
must have sources in law enforcement and journalism, and Andy has
Lieutenant Pete Stanton of the Patterson, New Jersey Police
Department, and Vince Sanders, editor of the local newspaper. My
favorite of the Carpenter clan is Marcus Clark, the part
investigator, part bodyguard who protects Andy during his frequent
moments of peril. Marcus is unlike any man, and Rosenfelt’s
humorous descriptions of this gentle muscleman make for
entertaining adventures.

Last, but certainly not least, is the love of Andy’s life,
Laurie Collins. Laurie served as an investigator for Andy, then a
client, and eventually left New Jersey to become chief of police in
a small Wisconsin community. Andy and Laurie’s romantic
relationship has had its ups and downs. Returning to New Jersey for
a brief visit, Laurie is shot by an assassin whose intended victim
is Waggy. As Laurie’s life hangs in the balance, Andy
discovers that the case against Steven is far more complex than he
originally thought. Rosenfelt always keeps his plots topical, and
NEW TRICKS is no exception. There is an interesting discussion of
DNA research and technology woven through the novel, which may well
prove to be a motive for the murders.

Rosenfelt writes wonderful courtroom scenes, laced with humor
and sarcasm. Andy gets away with quite a bit in court, as he often
baits prosecutors, judges and police officers. The quirky humor is
endearing and enjoyable. Along the way, there are also some unique
and unforeseen plot twists and turns. Rosenfelt keeps the action
moving both in court and in Andy’s personal life. NEW TRICKS
is a great read whether you are a fan of the series or a
newcomer.

Reviewed by Stuart Shiffman on January 12, 2011

New Tricks
by David Rosenfelt

  • Publication Date: August 6, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Mystery
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • ISBN-10: 0446505870
  • ISBN-13: 9780446505871