3.8 10
by David Rosenfelt

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Judge Daniel Brennan is only days away from achieving a seat on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals bench when he’s brutally stabbed to death in his garage. An army of media and law enforcement descend on the case, and thousands of tips pour in from the public. When one tip leads New Jersey policeman Luke Somers to Steven Gallagher, things quickly go


Judge Daniel Brennan is only days away from achieving a seat on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals bench when he’s brutally stabbed to death in his garage. An army of media and law enforcement descend on the case, and thousands of tips pour in from the public. When one tip leads New Jersey policeman Luke Somers to Steven Gallagher, things quickly go wrong, but Luke is instantly glorified for solving the case.

But to one man, Luke is no hero. Chris Gallagher raised his brother, Steven, almost single-handedly, and, certain that Steven is innocent, he won’t rest until he sets the record straight. Thanks to Luke’s newfound fame, he’s an easy man to find, and Chris quickly makes it clear that Luke’s own brother will die if Luke refuses to help clear Steven’s name. So begins Luke’s desperate attempt to find another suspect—any other suspect—in Judge Brennan’s death. But Luke’s investigation might open the door to powerful forces even more dangerous than Chris Gallagher.

From David Rosenfelt, author of the beloved Andy Carpenter series, comes Airtight, a high-octane thriller of murder, revenge, and family loyalty.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lt. Luke Somers, of the New Jersey State Police, faces a critical deadline in this solid stand-alone from Edgar-finalist Rosenfelt (Heart of a Killer). When an anonymous tip names drug addict Steven Gallagher as the killer of Judge Daniel Brennan, who was about to sentence Steven in court, Somers confronts Steven and winds up shooting him in self-defense. Steven’s Marine brother, Chris, tells Somers he has one week to clear Steven’s name and find Brennan’s real killer, or else Chris will kill Somers’s brother, whom he has kidnapped. Somers’s desperate search for another explanation for Brennan’s murder takes him to Brayton, a town bitterly divided by a lawsuit over a plan to extract natural gas by fracking, with a major landowner in favor and the mayor against. Somers may be forced to cross ethical lines to save or avenge his brother. Rosenfelt’s cat-and-mouse game doesn’t rank high on the thrill meter, but Somers is a protagonist with series potential. Author tour. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (Feb.)
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"The tension is palpable, and the pages fly by in this riveting stand-alone thriller from the author of the Andy Carpenter mystery series. The voice here is every bit as engaging as in the Carpenter novels, with enough humor to lighten the story without diminishing the suspense. And the ending is a real shocker. Sure to appeal to fans of Harlan Coben and Robert Crais."—Bookliston Airtight

“Rosenfelt still weaves a compelling narrative that will stump even the expert Perry Mason fan.” —The Associated Press on Leader of the Pack

“A gripping plot careens around myriad twists and turns, avoiding clichés but keeping the surprises coming. . .Rosenfelt keeps a firm hand on his plot as he escalates the story from a legal thriller to the kind of action adventure that would star Bruce Willis. Despite the infusion of ramped-up action, Heart of a Killer remains a believable, often chilling story with appealing, realistic characters. Rosenfelt also balances this with his trademark dry humor.” —Oline Cogdill, Kansas City Star on Heart of a Killer

“Rosenfelt has crafted another terrific thriller that will keep the reader up late at night.” —Huffington Post on Heart of a Killer

Kirkus Reviews
If a New Jersey state cop can't prove within a week that the murder suspect he shot dead was innocent, his brother will pay the price. When a knife attack ends rising legal star Daniel Brennan's rise just before he's scheduled to move up from the Superior Court bench to the Court of Appeals, Lt. Lucas Somers catches the case. The judge's murder is so high-profile that Luke's boss gives him extra resources, extra leeway and extra pressure. The very first lead Luke pursues--three-time drug offender Steven Gallagher, whom Brennan had promised a stiff sentence--turns up trumps for Luke, though not so much for Steven, whom Luke shoots three times as Steven, cornered in his Paterson apartment, raises his gun. It's clearly a righteous shooting, and Luke is rewarded with congratulations, television interviews and the kidnapping of his brother, Bryan, by Steven's brother, Chris, a Marine who flew home from Afghanistan to help Steven face his legal woes and now intends to deal with his death by taking the life of his killer's brother, whom he's chained in an underground shelter with a TV, a computer, some food and enough air for seven days. Can Luke rise to Chris Gallagher's challenge and collect enough evidence of Steven's innocence to save his own brother's life? Acting on another hunch, he quickly satisfies himself that the real reason for Judge Brennan's death was a civil suit concerning fracking in upstate New York. But Luke will need every one of his enviable law enforcement contacts in order to determine just which of the many interested parties was determined to tip the scales of justice. This latest stand-alone from the chronicler of attorney Andy Carpenter (Leader of the Pack, 2012, etc.) is two-thirds perfectly controlled suspense, one-third scrambled windup.
From the Publisher

“The tension is palpable, and the pages fly by in this riveting stand-alone thriller…The voice here is every bit as engaging as in the Carpenter novels, with enough humor to lighten the story without diminishing the suspense. And the ending is a real shocker. Sure to appeal to fans of Harlan Coben and Robert Crais.” —Booklist

“As usual, there is plenty of irony, humor, suspense, and affection here…Rosenfelt is, indeed, one of a kind; you will burn through this novel--like all his others--non-stop and totally rapt. It's an airtight cinch.” —

“Perfectly controlled suspense.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Keep[s] you on the edge of your seat.” —Criminal Element

Product Details

St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
Edition description:
First Edition
Product dimensions:
6.56(w) x 9.36(h) x 1.04(d)

Read an Excerpt





The tabloids called it “The Judge-sicle Murder.”

It was a ridiculous name for an event so horrific and tragic, but it sold newspapers, and generated web hits, so it stuck.

In the immediate aftermath, very little was known and reported in the media, so they compensated by detailing the same facts over and over. Judge Daniel Brennan had attended a charity dinner earlier that evening at the Woodcliff Lakes Hilton. Judge Brennan generally avoided those type of events whenever he could, but in this case felt an obligation.

The Guest of Honor was Judge Susan Dembeck, who was at that point a sitting judge on the bench of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals. Since Judge Brennan’s nomination to that court was before the Senate and he was replacing the retiring Judge Dembeck, he made the obvious and proper decision to support his future predecessor by attending the event.

Others at the dinner estimated that Judge Brennan left at ten thirty, and that was confirmed by closed-circuit cameras in the lobby. He stopped at a 7-Eleven, five minutes from his Alpine, New Jersey, home, to buy a few minor items. The proprietor of the establishment, one Harold Murphy, said that Judge Brennan was a frequent patron of the store. He said it on the Today show the following morning, in what the network breathlessly promoted as an exclusive interview, which aired seven minutes before Good Morning America’s breathlessly promoted exclusive interview with Mr. Murphy.

Among the items that Murphy described Judge Brennan as buying was a Fudgsicle. It was, he said, one of the Judge’s weaknesses, regardless of the season. As was the Judge’s apparent custom, Murphy said that he started opening the Fudgsicle wrapper while walking to the door, such was his desire to eat it. Murphy seemed to cite this as evidence that the Judge was a “regular guy.”

Murphy didn’t mention, and wasn’t asked, the time that Judge Brennan arrived at the store. It was eleven forty-five, meaning the ten-minute drive from hotel to store had apparently taken an hour and fifteen minutes.

It was ten minutes after midnight when Thomas Phillips, who lived four doors down from Judge Brennan, walked by the Judge’s house with his black Lab, Duchess. In that affluent neighborhood, four doors down meant there was almost a quarter mile of separation between the two homes.

The Judge’s garage door was open, and his car was sitting inside, with its lights on. This was certainly an unusual occurrence, and Phillips called out the Judge’s name a few times. Getting no response, he walked towards the garage.

In the reflected light off the garage wall, he could see the Judge’s body, covered in blood that was slowly making its way towards where Phillips was standing. The Fudgsicle, melting but with the wrapper around the stick, was just a few inches from the victim’s mouth, a fact that Phillips related when he gave his own round of exclusive interviews.

The murder of a judge would be a very significant story in its own right, especially when the victim was up for a Court of Appeals appointment. But the fact that this particular judge was “Danny” Brennan elevated it to a media firestorm.

Brennan was forty-two years old and a rising star in the legal system. It was a comfortable role for him to play, as he had considerable experience as a rising star.

He was a phenom as a basketball player at Teaneck High School, moving on to Rutgers, where he earned first-team All America status. Rather than head to the NBA as a first-round draft choice after one season, which he could certainly have done, he chose instead to stay all four years. He then pulled a “Bill Bradley,” and went on to Oxford as a Rhodes scholar.

When his studies had concluded, he finally moved on to the NBA, and within two years was the starting point guard for the Boston Celtics. It was during a play-off game against the Orlando Magic that on one play he cut right, while his knee cut left. He tore an ACL and MCL, which pretty much covers all the “CLs” a knee contains, and despite intensive rehab for a year and a half, he was never the same.

Confronted with physical limitations but no mental ones, Daniel Brennan went to Harvard Law, and began a rapid rise up the legal ladder.

A rise that ended in a garage, in a pool of blood and melted Fudgsicle.


Copyright © 2013 by Tara Productions, Inc.

Meet the Author

DAVID ROSENFELT is the Edgar and Shamus Award-nominated author of five stand-alones and ten previous Andy Carpenter novels, most recently Leader of the Pack. He and his wife live in Maine with the twenty-seven golden retrievers that they’ve rescued.

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Airtight 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
tedfeit0 More than 1 year ago
This standalone by the author of the popular Andy Carpenter series is so unlike the humorous dog-centered novels that the reader might think it was written by someone else. But it only proves that a good writer can create excellent fiction on a variety of levels. “Airtight” is a complicated story involving murder and mayhem, good police work, and family loyalty. The plot revolves around the murder of a judge nominated to sit on the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, knifed to death in his garage. A tip leads Lt. Luke Somers to the alleged murderer’s home. When the drug user Steven Gallagher raises a gun, Somers puts three bullets in his chest. Gallagher’s brother, Chris, does not believe he was responsible for the murder, and sets up a challenge for Somers to reinvestigate the Brennan killing to prove Steven’s innocence by kidnapping the policeman’s brother, Bryan, and entombing him in a bomb shelter with only seven days worth of air [very early on in the story – no spoiler here]. The book moves at a rapid pace, with considerable action, enhanced by greed and explosions. What will be the outcome is never really clear until the final pages, with no prior groundwork to set the stage for the conclusion. Nevertheless, the novel is very enjoyable, and is recommended.
Kataman1 More than 1 year ago
I have read all the Andy Carpenter books and the five or so previous one-off books that Rosenfelt has put out and have never been disappointed having always given a four or five star rating for each. I can't say that for this book. Judge Brennen is about to rule on an important case involving fracking (a means of getting oil) and is found dead. A tip leads detective Luke Somers to Stephen Gallagher's place. When he gets there he sees Gallagher with a gun and yells at him to put it down. When he gets no response, Luke fires three bullets, killing Gallagher. A bag of bloodied clothing is found and it appears that Gallagher was the judge's killer. Unfortunately, Gallagher's brother Chris doesn't think so. Chris is back on military leave and has a history of violence against "bad" people who had wronged his brother in the past. Chris thinks that Luke went in to Stephen's place with the intent of murdering him. So to get even, he kidnaps Luke's brother Brian and hides him underground with a week's air supply. He then confronts Luke and tells him to re-open the investigation and find the judge's "real" killer or his brother will die when his air supply runs out. That is the premise of the book and it may sound more interesting than it is. For me it wasn't. I struggled with this book. Firstly, Rosenfelt makes it blatantly obvious that Stephen may have been set up with his chapters on the fracking and the people that will benefit from it. I had problems with Luke. Firstly, Luke is not so likeable as most of Rosenfelt's heroes are, having wronged his brother. I found it real hard to find much to like about Luke. I am a bit claustrophic and do not like tales about people stuck in tight spaces with no air. I felt that the story just "hobbled" along and unlike prior books, had no compulsion to pick the book back up once I had put it down. This book in no way influences me getting future Rosenfelt books, as he is still one of my favorite authors. But even great authors sometimes put out "turkey." Read Heart of a Killer instead or one of the author's excellent prior books.
P-king More than 1 year ago
I eagerly awaited David Rosenfelt's new release, AIRTIGHT, but was terribly disappointed. It was a laborious read. It was boringly lengthy due to the undeveloped, flat charterers, simple and disingenuous dialogue, and an implausible and confusing storyline. By the middle of the book, I didn't even care who was the antagonist. I kept reading hoping it would redeem itself, but it did not. This book was substandard compared to all of Mr. Rosenfelt's past publications. I miss the author's Andy Carpenter series!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with Rosenfelt's other stand-alone novels, Airtight is both witty and suspenseful. It's easy to relate to his lead characters and to get heavily involved with the snappy plot after just a few pages. This is a story filled with plenty of twists. I always look forward to Rosenfelt's novels, as they reflect his wry sense of humor. This is a definite must-read!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
David Rosenfelt's books were a wonderful find. They are entertaining and a fast read. Have read everyone of this books now and have enjoyed them all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Have read 11 of Rosenfelt's "Andy Carpenter" series; this is my first look at his stand-alone stories. Enjoyed every minute of this fast-paced thriller! Glad I tried "Airtight", will read the others. Very entertaining.
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