Dead Center (Andy Carpenter Series #5)

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Overview

Edgar( Award finalist and author of "Bury the Lead," a "Today" show Book Club pick, returns with a tale of murder and deadly secrets in an ultra-secretive religious community.

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Dead Center (Andy Carpenter Series #5)

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Overview

Edgar( Award finalist and author of "Bury the Lead," a "Today" show Book Club pick, returns with a tale of murder and deadly secrets in an ultra-secretive religious community.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even if Rosenfelt's novels about multimillionaire New Jersey defense attorney Andy Carpenter didn't hit all the right mystery novel notes, the intimacy of their hero's breezy, subjective, present-tense narration would make them ideal subjects for audio adaptation. Adding to the ear appeal of book five in the series is reader Gardner, an inspired match for the amusingly self-deprecating, sarcastic, animal-loving, freewheeling, wisecracking, wily lawyer. The inventive story finds Carpenter being lured by a recently lost love to the snow- and sausage-filled wilds of Wisconsin. There, accompanied by his faithful golden retriever, Tara, he reluctantly agrees to defend a 21-year-old local against overwhelming evidence that he savagely murdered two young women from a nearby hamlet inhabited exclusively by members of a religious cult. Using a voice and sensibility reminiscent of Nathan Lane (complete with verbal eye-rolls), Gardner smartly unfolds Rosenfelt's yarn, in which Carpenter is at his hilarious best-a Jersey boy out of his element in the frosty Midwest, motor-mouthing about having to put up with bone-chilling cold, unfamiliar food, a half-rekindled romance, an impossible defense and a possibly homicidal cult. Simultaneous release with the Mysterious Press hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 20). (June) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
New Jersey-based defense attorney Andy Carpenter is having a hard time forgetting his former lover Laurie Collins. Four months earlier, Laurie returned to her hometown of Findley, WI, where she has become the acting chief of police. Now, making matters worse (or better, perhaps), Laurie calls asking for his help with a murder case. She has arrested a young man for the stabbing deaths of two girls but believes he may be innocent. The victims were both from nearby Center City, a secretive community controlled by a bizarre cult. As Andy prepares to defend the accused by trying to find the real killer, one of his assistants is murdered. And then, a material witness, the ex-boyfriend of one of the victims, is found hanged. In his fifth Andy Carpenter novel, Rosenfelt (Sudden Death) tells a fast-paced story that's hard to put down, a mystery spiced with interesting characters and brightened by the flames of a rekindled love affair. Recommended for all mystery collections.-Ronnie H. Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Only true love, not a murder case, could lure attorney Andy Carpenter (Sudden Death, 2005, etc.) from his beloved Paterson, N.J., to the frozen north. Acting Chief Laurie Collins, who fled Paterson for her childhood home of Findlay, Wisc., is holding Jeremy Davidson for killing of two coeds. The official story is that Jeremy stabbed Elizabeth Barlow because she broke up with him, and her friend Sheryl Hendricks because she happened to be on the scene. But even Laurie doesn't believe the official story, and she wants her ex-lover to drop everything and defend him. The case is a mess. No sooner does Andy, second-chaired by one-legged local counselor Calvin Marshall, get in a few good licks at District Attorney Lester Chapman than the finger points toward a neighboring religious community called Center City, followed by a sudden tsunami of suspicion cast on Elizabeth's ex-boyfriend, Eddie Carson, and Eddie's convenient suicide. Or is it murder? Either way, Jeremy's soon off the hook, and although Andy vows to stay local till the bitter end, the febrile suspicions of Eddie, the Centurions of Center City and a drug-smuggling operation don't generate much mystery or suspense. Andy and Laurie eventually come to an accord about their relationship, which upstages a case starved for suspects, clues and twists. This is the most disappointing of ebullient Andy's five cases to date.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892960026
  • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
  • Publication date: 8/22/2008
  • Series: Andy Carpenter Series , #5
  • Pages: 324
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

DAVID ROSENFELT was the marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures before becoming a writer of novels and screenplays. His debut novel, OPEN AND SHUT, won Edgar and Shamus award nominations. FIRST DEGREE, his second novel, was a Publishers Weekly selection for one of the top mysteries of the year, and BURY THE LEAD was chosen as a Today Show Book Club pick.

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Read an Excerpt

Dead Center


By David Rosenfelt

MYSTERIOUS PRESS

Copyright © 2006 David Rosenfelt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-892-96002-7


Chapter One

DO YOU GET SPIRITUAL credit for celibacy if it's involuntary?

This is the type of profound question I've asked myself a number of times during the last four and a half months. This is the first time I've asked it out loud, which may say something about my timing, since the person hearing it is my first date in all that time.

Actually, "date" may be overstating it. The quite beautiful woman that I am with is Rita Gordon, who when she's not dressed in a black silk dress with an exceptional cleavage staring straight at me, spends her days as the chief court clerk in Paterson, New Jersey. Rita and I have become fairly good friends over the last few years. No small accomplishment, since her daily job is basically to ward off demanding and obnoxious lawyers like me.

We're in one of North Jersey's classier restaurants, which was her choice entirely. I have absolutely no understanding why certain restaurants succeed and others don't. This one is ridiculously expensive, the menu is totally in French and impossible to understand, the portions are so small that parakeets would be asking for seconds, and the service is mediocre. With all that, we had to wait two weeks to get a reservation on a Thursday night.

The extent of my relationship with Rita until now has basically been toengage in sexual banter, an area in which her talents far exceed mine. She has always presented herself as an expert in dating, sex, and everything else that might take place between a man and a woman, and has volunteered to go with me on this "practice date" as a way to impart some of that knowledge to me.

I can use it, as evidenced by my celibacy question.

"There's an example of something you might want to avoid asking a date," says Rita. "Celibacy can be a bit of a sexual turnoff."

I nod. "Makes sense."

"On the other hand, swearing off sex increases your dating possibilities, since you could also go out with guys."

I shake my head. "Finding dates is not my problem; there are plenty of women that seem to be available. The problem is my lack of interest. It's the ironic opposite of high school."

Rita looks me straight in the eye, though that doesn't represent a change. She's been looking me straight in the eye since we sat down. She takes eye contact to a new level; it's like she's got X-ray vision and is looking through to my brain. I've never been an eye-contacter myself, and I almost want to create a diversion so she'll look away. Something small, like a fire in the kitchen or another patron fainting headfirst into his asparagus bisque.

"How long has Laurie been gone?" she asks.

I must be healing emotionally, since it's only recently that a question like that doesn't hit me like a knife in the chest. Laurie Collins was my private investigator and love of my life. She left to return to her hometown of Findlay, Wisconsin, where she will probably fulfill her dream and become chief of police. I had always wanted her dream to be a lifetime spent with me, Andy Carpenter.

"Four and a half months."

She nods wisely. "That explains why women are coming after you. They figure you've had enough time to get back into circulation, to get your transition woman behind you."

"Transition woman?"

She nods. "The first woman a guy has a relationship with after a serious relationship ends. It never works out; the guy's not ready. So women wait until they figure the guy's had his transition and he's ready to get serious again. The timing is tricky, because if she waits too long, the guy could be gone."

I give this some thought, but the concept doesn't seem to fit my situation, so I shake my head. "Laurie was the first woman I went out with after my marriage broke up. And she transitioned me; I didn't transition her."

"Have you spoken to her since she left?"

Another head shake from me. "She sent me a letter, but I didn't open it." This is not a subject I want to be discussing, so I try to change it. "So give me some advice."

"Okay," she says, leaning forward so that her chin hovers over her creme brulee. "Call Laurie."

"I meant dating advice."

She nods. "Okay. Don't do it until you're ready. And when you do, just relax and be yourself."

I shift around in my chair; the subject and the eye contact are combining to make me very uncomfortable. "That's what I did with Laurie. I was relaxed and myself ... right up until the day she dumped my relaxed self."

For some reason, on the rare occasions when I talk about my breakup with Laurie, I emphasize the "dumping" without getting into the reasons. The truth is that Laurie had an opportunity to fulfill a lifetime ambition and at the same time go back to the hometown to which she has always felt connected. She swore that she loved me and pretty much begged me to go with her, but I wanted to be here, and she wanted to be there.

"You've got to move on, Andy. It's time ..." Then the realization hits her, and she puts down her wineglass. "My God, you haven't had sex in four and a half months?"

It's painful for me to listen to this, partially because it's true, but mostly because the waitress has just come over and heard it as well.

I turn to the waitress. "She meant days ... I haven't had sex in four and a half days. Which for me is a really long time."

The waitress just shrugs her disinterest. "I'm afraid I can't help you with that. More coffee?"

She pours our coffee for us and departs. "Sorry about that, Andy," Rita says. "But four and a half months?"

I nod. "And I have no interest. The other day I found myself in the supermarket looking at the cover of Good Housekeeping instead of Cosmo."

"Pardon the expression," she asks, "but you want me to straighten you out?"

The question stuns me. She seems to be suggesting that we have sex, but I'm not sure, since I can count the number of times women have propositioned me in this manner on no fingers. "You mean ... you and me?"

She looks at her watch and shrugs. "Why not? It's still early."

"I appreciate the offer, Rita, but I'm just not ready. I guess I need sex to be more meaningful. Sex without love is just not what I'm looking for anymore; those days are behind me." These are the words that form in my mind but don't actually come out through my mouth.

What my mouth winds up saying is, "Absolutely." And then, "Check, please."

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Dead Center by David Rosenfelt Copyright © 2006 by David Rosenfelt. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 27 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 27 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2013

    Loved it!!

    I am from Wi, nailed it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Good mystery

    Wealthy Patterson, New Jersey attorney Andy Carpenter picks and chooses cases that fascinate him, but lately nothing captivates his interest as he misses his beloved Laurie Collins, who moved back to Findlay, Wisconsin to become the acting chief of police in her hometown.---------------- Laurie arrests twenty-one years old college student Jeremy Davidson for the murders of two coeds, Elizabeth Barlow and her friend Sheryl Hendricks. Though the evidence is overwhelming that he committed the homicides, her gut says otherwise. She calls Andy to come to Center City to defend Jeremy only for Laura would Andy accompanied by his canine Tara travel to Wisconsin. In Wisconsin, the case spins from his client¿s love life to a religious cult, but the means, motive, and opportunity still points at Jeremy.------------ The fifth Carpenter legal thriller starts off as a terrific tale with the hero depressed over his beloved leaving home for the Midwest and continues solidly as he defends Jeremy in a courtroom. When the tale spins in the direction of a cult, it loses a bit of its steam. Still fans of the series will enjoy DEAD CENTER as Andy struggles with the defense including the role of the religious order, trying to reassemble his love life, and even more difficult finding a decent pizza for Tara.---------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2013

    Lots of fun!

    Lots of fun! Witty and suspenseful. Consistently enjoyable series. Have purchased the next one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2012

    Kept me guessing to the end

    Read this on a trip with my sisters. After relating some of the funny things in the book my sisters demanded daily updates on the story. They all had to know how it ended. Entertaining and intriguing. Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2007

    I JUST COULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!!

    David Rosenfelt gets better and better. His characters are so real you think you know them. His sense of humor comes through in every book so that it's so much more enjoyable to read his books than ones with gross murder after murder after murder. I will remain his number 1 fan for a long, long time!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 6, 2006

    Irresistible!

    I just love Andy Carpenter, the New Jersey lawyer with the self-deprecating sense of humor and a huge inheritance that allows him the luxury of working - or not. When his ex-girlfriend Laurie calls to say she thinks she's arrested the wrong guy for murder and needs some help, Andy and his beloved dog Tara are on their way to Findlay, Wisconsin to lend a hand. Laurie dumped Andy and moved back home when she was offered the job as Findlay Chief of Police, but Andy still has feelings for her. Nevertheless he gets to work, investigating the victims who were both members of a religious sect called the Centurions. Smart, engaging characters, lots of laughs, some nice plot twists and simply superb storytelling make Dead Center irresistible.  

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