Hounded: An Andy Carpenter Mystery
“The State of New Jersey wants to put you away for the rest of your life, you're stuck in the house wearing an ankle bracelet with a guard outside your door, your lawyer is getting nowhere, and you're just starting to get worried? You should have hit full-fledged panic days ago.”
Andy Carpenter has a way with words that serves him well as a defense lawyer and also as the central character in 11 previous mysteries. He is the star of the diverse cast that David Rosenfelt has assembled --- a cast that is not only capable and reliable but also dedicated and likable, a cast that could be dropped on the “Seinfeld” set and become permanent players on the show. The dialogue and easy banter that are unique to the Northeast move the story along at a fast pace, never giving the reader a moment of boredom. When conferring with a police lieutenant, Andy asks, “You're sure it was him?” The Lieutenant replies, “Who do you think you're dealing with, Barney Fife? Fingerprints match his army records.” Like that.
"Investigations, legal maneuvering, lively dialogue, short chapters that keep the pace moving: What more could you ask for? Add in a couple of dogs, a cute kid and a comfortable romance, and you're in reader’s Nirvana."
When Andy receives a call from his friend, Lieutenant Pete Stanton (the only cop in Patterson, New Jersey, who wouldn't like to shoot him), he is soon drawn into a deadly game that threatens to put Pete behind bars for the rest of his life. A parolee, who Pete arrested and then helped to rehabilitate, has been found dead, and all the evidence points to Pete as the prime suspect. While it is obvious to everyone who knows him that the evidence has been planted, it nonetheless is evidence, and Pete is arrested.
Once Andy and his team begin investigating, they discover that the victim, Danny Diaz, had once worked for crime kingpin Dominic Petrone. By following up on that lead, he is able to form a peculiar alliance with Joseph Russo, a powerful man who agrees to help with the case. When it's a few weeks before a murder trial and all you have is a hunch, you take all the help you can get --- even though Andy thinks to himself ...he's a scary guy that radiates danger. As someone who was scared of the cookie monster until I was seventeen, it's intimidating to me.
What Andy discovers are seemingly unrelated murders that have a common thread. Not only have otherwise healthy people been dying of heart failure, those who are questioning the deaths are also being attacked. The fact that Pete was investigating one of these deaths as a possible homicide may be the key and connection. However, despite all of his grueling work and endless hours spent by his technical team, Andy knows that the connection remains a theory and would be inadmissible in court.
Little by little, new details are revealed, and the dots are laid out in such a way that the avid mystery fan can begin to guess at the conclusions. But no matter how skilled an amateur sleuth you may be, the final dot will elude all but the most adept. That's the one that takes a story over the top, setting it in the “above average” category.
Investigations, legal maneuvering, lively dialogue, short chapters that keep the pace moving: What more could you ask for? Add in a couple of dogs, a cute kid and a comfortable romance, and you're in reader’s Nirvana.
Reviewed by Maggie Harding on August 1, 2014