Hounded: An Andy Carpenter Mystery

Hounded: An Andy Carpenter Mystery

4.6 16
by David Rosenfelt
     
 

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Andy Carpenter isn't sure what to think when he gets a mysterious phone call from a good friend, policeman Pete Stanton, asking him to drop everything, drive to an unfamiliar address, and bring his girlfriend, Laurie Collins. He certainly isn't expecting to show up at a crime scene. But that's exactly where he arrives--at the house where Pete has just discovered

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Overview

Andy Carpenter isn't sure what to think when he gets a mysterious phone call from a good friend, policeman Pete Stanton, asking him to drop everything, drive to an unfamiliar address, and bring his girlfriend, Laurie Collins. He certainly isn't expecting to show up at a crime scene. But that's exactly where he arrives--at the house where Pete has just discovered the body of ex-convict Danny Diza. Upstairs are Danny's now orphaned eight-year-old son and basset hound. And that, Andy discovers, is why he and Laurie were called to the scene--Pete wants them to take care of the boy and the dog so they won't get thrown into the "system." This is already asking a lot, but soon Pete needs another big favor from Andy. Pete himself has come under suspicion for Danny's murder, and he needs defense attorney Andy to represent him…and to find out what really happened in Danny's house that day.

David Rosenfelt has done it again. Told with his characteristic humor and wit, Hounded is at once a heartfelt story about family and a page-turning legal thriller.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
05/19/2014
In Edgar finalist Rosenfelt’s heartwarming 12th Andy Carpenter mystery (after 2013’s Unleashed), the DA and his partner, Laurie Collins, agree to foster eight-year-old Ricky Diaz, a murder victim’s son, and his dog, Sebastian. Then Andy’s friend and respected Paterson, N.J., police captain Pete Stanton is arrested for killing Ricky’s father, Danny, an ex-con turned police informant. Danny had reported Pete for dealing drugs, and the case solidifies when investigators find $100,000 worth of heroin in Pete’s home. Pete believes that several apparently natural deaths are really contract murders, and Andy, certain that Pete is being framed, plans his friend’s legal defense while searching for the killer. Meanwhile, Laurie asks Andy to consider adopting Ricky and Sebastian, who have adjusted to life with them and their dog, Tara. Despite a few plot holes, this is an entertaining, feel-good read, populated with Jersey gangsters, ruthless criminals, and likable protagonists. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be charmed by wise-cracking, canine-loving Andy. Agent: Robin Rue, Writers House. (July)
From the Publisher
Praise for Hounded

"David Rosenfelt deftly works in wry humor, a love of dogs and New Jersey gangsters in Hounded, his highly entertaining 12th legal thriller featuring attorney Andy Carpenter."—Associated Press

"Heartwarming…This is an entertaining, feel-good read, populated with Jersey gangsters, ruthless criminals, and likable protagonists. Longtime fans and new readers alike will be charmed by wise-cracking, canine-loving Andy."—Publishers Weekly

"Hounded [is] great summer entertainment, a page-turning mystery with a lot of good laughs along the way."—Portland Press Herald

Associated Press Staff

David Rosenfelt deftly works in wry humor, a love of dogs and New Jersey gangsters in Hounded, his highly entertaining 12th legal thriller featuring attorney Andy Carpenter.
Portland Press Herald

"Hounded [is] great summer entertainment, a page-turning mystery with a lot of good laughs along the way."

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781250024756
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
07/22/2014
Series:
Andy Carpenter Novel , #12
Sold by:
Macmillan
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
9,841
File size:
1 MB

Read an Excerpt

Hounded


By David Rosenfelt

St. Martin's Press

Copyright © 2014 Tara Productions, Inc.
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-250-02475-6


CHAPTER 1

Pete Stanton figured he was the poorest person in the room.

Of course, it was always possible that he was wrong. Maybe the servants had been allowed to attend, since it was their boss who was being eulogized. Having had no experience with servants, Pete was not in a position to venture an educated guess about that. And if he asked the guys at the precinct, chances are they wouldn't know either.

One after another the speakers spoke about what a wonderful woman Katherine Reynolds was, and what a caring and compassionate life she led. She was a philanthropist, and a litany of charities that benefitted from her largesse were cited. Jokes were told about her eccentricities and unique character traits, but all were gentle and ultimately meant to praise.

This was a memorial service, not a roast. The deceased had died weeks earlier, and the funeral had been small and private. This was a chance for everyone else to pay their respects.

Based on the speeches, Katherine Reynolds was a woman without a flaw, and Pete figured that's how it should be. If you're not coming back, you should get a good send-off.

Pete looked over at Katherine's husband, Carson Reynolds, stone-faced as he listened, dabbing occasionally at his eyes. He was trying to read something in Reynolds's face, but there was nothing there to read. Certainly Pete had no way of knowing that Carson Reynolds was the happiest man in the place.

The happiest woman, also undetected by Pete, was actually sitting just three rows away from him. Her name was Susan Baird, and she herself was less than a year a widow. Having known Katherine Reynolds quite well, she knew that at least seventy percent of the spoken praise was total bullshit, and the rest hyperbole. But her death moved Baird up the ladder from mistress to girlfriend, so she was fine with whatever might be said at this service.

Pete had already decided that there was nothing for him to learn when he felt his cell phone vibrate. He saw that it was a text message from Danny Diaz, and it was marked "urgent."

He got up and left the service.

No one seemed to notice or care.


"We have to leave," Danny Diaz said.

He was trying to say it as casually as he could, but he knew that his son, Ricky, would see through it. Ricky was just eight years old, but it had been at least three years since Danny was able to fool him.

"Where are we going?" Ricky asked.

"I'm not sure. On a trip, like a vacation."

"When?"

"Now. Right now." He was trying to keep his voice calm; there was no reason to transfer his anxiety to his son.

"We going to see Mom?"

Danny didn't know how to respond to that; he certainly didn't want to get Ricky's hopes up if things didn't work out. "I'm not sure yet, Rick. You know where your suitcase is?"

"In the closet."

"Okay. Well, put as many of your clothes in it that can fit, all right? Can you do that for me right away?"

"Can I take some toys?"

"Just a couple. We want to keep room for clothes."

Ricky pointed. "Can Sebastian come?"

He was referring to their six-year-old basset hound, sleeping soundly on a doggie bed against the wall. While Ricky was sensitive to increased energy levels in the house, Sebastian was unmoved by it, or pretty much anything else.

Danny had forgotten about Sebastian. "We'll come back for him," he said, with no conviction whatsoever.

Ricky saw through the lie and shook his head. "I'm not going without Sebastian."

"Okay. Sebastian can come."

Ricky began to gather his things, throwing a couple of Sebastian's toys into the bag as well. He instinctively knew that they were not coming back, though he had no idea why. Danny went down the hall to his own room to do the same.

Ricky heard the doorbell ring, and for some reason it worried him. Moments later, Danny came into the room. "You okay in here?"

"Yeah, Dad. Who's at the door?"

"I'll see. But meanwhile, you stay in the room, and don't make a sound, okay?"

"Why?"

"Just do this for me, Ricky. Not a sound, and don't come out until I tell you to."

"Dad ..."

But Danny was gone, closing the door behind him.

It was probably just three minutes, though it seemed much longer, before Ricky heard the two really loud sounds. They sounded like firecrackers, the ones he heard last July Fourth, when he and his mom and dad had gone to the park. These sounds were so loud that they even woke up Sebastian, who looked around, puzzled, and then nodded off again.

Another five minutes went by, and Ricky didn't hear anything, though he had his ear pressed against the door. His father had told him not to come out of the room, but that was an edict that couldn't last forever, could it?

So Ricky waited five more minutes, and then opened the door slowly, and went to the top of the steps, looking down. "Dad?"

No answer, no sound, no sign of his father. So he took another few steps down, calling out again, but not getting a response.

So Ricky went down a little farther, and peered around the landing. He was only eight years old, but what he saw then would stay with him if he lived to be a hundred.

And like any eight-year-old would do in that situation, he ran back upstairs, and started to cry.


"It's all come down to this," says Edna. "All the hours ... all the work ..."

I could, if I were so inclined, point out the irony of that statement. Edna has been in my employ for fourteen years, and "work" is something she has successfully avoided for fourteen of those years.

But I don't mention that, because I am Andy Carpenter, The Considerate One, and because Laurie Collins is staring daggers at me, knowing what I'm thinking.

The truth is that even if Laurie wasn't sending me this silent threat, I wouldn't say anything. This is too important to Edna, and I don't want to do anything to spoil her moment.

We are in the coffee shop at the Brooklyn Marriott Hotel, home of the American Crossword Puzzle Championship. The entire hotel has been taken over by the people running the tournament, the participants, and the friends and family of both. It is one of those rare sporting events that I didn't know existed, probably because bookmakers don't take bets on it.

There are four of us at the table: Edna, Laurie, Sam Willis, and myself. Sam is my accountant, and he also helps me on cases that require his considerable computer expertise. I am somewhat lacking in that area; until recently I thought rebooting a frozen computer meant twice kicking the damn thing across the room.

We've only been here for three hours, but it's been a long three hours. Spectators are only allowed in the back of the room while the competition is going on, so we opted to stay here. It turns out that even though watching people doing crosswords ranks somewhat below a Springsteen concert as exciting entertainment, waiting in a coffee shop for it to end has got to be worse.

Edna has entered the tournament for the first time this year, and the evening session ended about twenty minutes ago. She has introduced us to some of her competitors, and I've been impressed by their smarts and dedication. You really need a vast knowledge base, sort of Jeopardy on steroids. And there is considerable pressure; the clock is always running, and a mistake can be devastating. These people have an expertise and a talent, and what they do is not at all easy.

Edna repeats her oft-stated frustration that the prizes and media interest aren't greater. "Hockey players make millions, and there are only 500,000 of them in this country. There are fifty million people who do crossword puzzles. And what you have here, right here in this room, is the cream of the crop."

I don't point out that the number of people who do something doesn't necessarily make it a spectator sport, or generate a fortune in salaries. If it did, then instead of the Super Bowl, we'd all be watching the World Procrastination Championships, and instead of the World Series, we'd be tuning in to the International Masturbation Invitational. Actually, that might get a huge Nielsen rating.

Edna is tired and stressed, having been at it all day, and she is actually in eleventh place out of two hundred contestants. She feels she has a chance to move up in tomorrow's final day. "At this point, it's all about stamina and handling the pressure," she says.

"Mmmm," I say, since I'm not really paying attention. I'm looking toward the bar, which is unfortunately far away. The table we got was the only one open when we came in, and it's on the other side of the room from the bar. That wouldn't be a big deal, except for the fact that the only TV in the room is behind that same bar.

"Something wrong, Andy?" Laurie asks.

She's having fun with me, since she knows why I'm staring over there. The NBA final between San Antonio and Miami is on, and even though I'm not from Texas or Florida, I'm interested in the game for three reasons:


1. I bet on it.

2. I bet on it.

3. I bet on it.


I didn't bet a lot, just two hundred dollars. Since last time I looked I had thirty million of those dollars, I'm doing it more for the competition, to demonstrate that I know more than the odds makers. For the last decade, it has not been going well.

"I'm just looking for crossword celebrities," I lie. "Hey, you guys look thirsty. Anyone want a drink?"

I've been heading back and forth to the bar to get drinks for almost two hours now, so I could catch the score of the game on the television. This is not the place to get sloshed, so we've been having Diet Cokes. But by lingering at the bar each time, I've been able to catch quite a few plays.

Since everyone has already taken in so much liquid that they're about to float away, they finally draw a line and decline another drink. "How about pretzels?" I ask. "They've got some great-looking pretzels over there."

At that moment, a group of three people comes in to the coffee shop, and as they are walking past our table, one of the men sees Edna and stops. "Great job, Edna," he says. "Good luck tomorrow."

She just smiles nervously and nods, and he walks on. "Do you know who that was?" Edna asks. Then, not waiting for an answer, she says, "That was Norman Thomas."

"Wow," I say. I don't have a clue who that is, but Edna is obviously impressed, so I pretend to be as well.

Laurie, who is somewhat less into pretending than I am, asks, "Who is Norman Thomas?"

"The best puzzler in U.S. history; the Babe Ruth of crosswords. And he just told me I did a great job."

"That's terrific, Edna. Now kick his ass tomorrow," I say. "I'm going to the restroom."

I start to walk toward the restroom near the bar, when Laurie stops me and points to one much closer to our table. "There's one over here, Andy."

Since my goal is to get another look at the television, I shake my head. "I tried that one. The urinals are a little high. You wouldn't understand ... it's a guy thing."

I head toward the restroom, which is actually a necessary stop because of all the Diet Cokes, stopping briefly at the bar to check out the status of the game. On the way back, I make a longer stop, and while I'm watching, my cell phone rings.

The caller ID says "Paterson Police," which means it's my friend Lieutenant Pete Stanton. He's the only Paterson cop who would call me, all the others would prefer to shoot me. As an obnoxious defense attorney, I'm not a department favorite.

"Hey, Pete," I say.

"Where are you?"

"At a crossword puzzle tournament."

"Wow, life in the fast lane."

"At some point I need to slow down," I say. "But right now I'm having too much fun."

"Laurie with you?" he asks.

"Yup."

"I need you both down here."

"Where?"

"Thirty-third. Between eighteenth and nineteenth. Leave now."

"What's going on?"

"Danny Diaz got himself killed."

"Shit, I'm sorry," I say. "But what do you need me for?"

"I'll tell you when you get here. Just make sure you bring Laurie."

Click.


I don't know much about Danny Diaz.

All I know is that Pete arrested him, probably five years ago, on an assault charge. He served some time in prison, but when he got out he was fairly successful in turning his life around. Pete took an interest in him, and I think he works as a mechanic, or something like that.

Pete actually mentioned him a few months ago, when Diaz's wife left him. I'm not sure of the details, and I really had no reason to be interested. But I do know that Pete liked him a lot, and has a pretty close relationship with Diaz's son.

What I don't know is why he wants me to come down to the scene. "It doesn't make sense," I say to Laurie in the car. "Even if they've arrested someone, why would Pete want me to represent the suspect? If he thought the person was innocent, why arrest him in the first place?"

"We'll know soon enough," Laurie says.

"And why would he make it such a point that you come, unless you're going to be involved as well?" Since Laurie is a former cop and my private investigator, perhaps Pete thinks that I'll need her expertise for whatever he has in mind for me.

It's fair to say that I'm not happy about this. I sure as hell don't want a client, but I have trouble saying no to friends, and Pete is a good one. "No," I say.

"What are you talking about?" Laurie asks.

"I'm practicing saying 'no' to Pete."

"Maybe he won't be asking you to do anything. A friend of his died; maybe he just wants another friend there to comfort him."

"You think he wants me around for comfort? For moral support? Me?"

She thinks for a few moments, then, "You're right. Keep practicing."

"No, Pete," I say. "Pete, no, I just can't. No means no. Pete, which part of no don't you understand?"

We arrive at the Thirty-third Street block that Pete directed us to, and it's not hard to tell which is Danny Diaz's house. While the houses are all basically the same size and shape, and are separated only by narrow driveways, one stands out from the others. This is mainly because there are at least ten police cars, lights flashing, in the street in front of it.

As is the case in all major crime scenes, a whole bunch of cops are outside, standing around and waiting for something to do. A number of them are handling crowd control, though the neighbors that have gathered seem to be standing peacefully behind barricades.

But the real action must be going on inside, and that's where Laurie and I start heading, at least until we run into one of Paterson's finest. His name is Sergeant William Costello, a genial guy who has a smile for pretty much everyone but me.

I embarrassed him on the witness stand about four years ago. He deserved it, but he sort of never saw it that way, and mentioned to me about six months later that he was pondering ripping my eyes out and feeding them to his cat. Somehow, a close friendship never sprang from that.

"Where do you think you're going?" he sneers. Then, when he sees Laurie, he brightens. They know each other from back when she was on the force. "Pete called and asked us to come down," she says.

He looks at us both, then says to Laurie, "You. Not him."

Laurie looks at me, as if for guidance, and I say, "Go ahead. I'll wait out here with Wyatt Earp."

Laurie goes inside, and I wait there for five minutes, with Costello frequently looking over at me as if he's afraid I might take one of the barricades, slip it into my pocket, and walk off with it.

Laurie finally comes out, and she's with Pete. She waves to me, but they don't head in my direction; instead they go next door to another house, with Pete carrying what looks like a small suitcase. I don't know what is going on, but it's a safe bet that whatever it is, I'm not a crucial part of it.

Costello looks over at me again, and I say, "You are doing one hell of a job. I've never felt safer."

After another ten endless minutes, Pete comes out of the house next door, and walks over to me. "Come on," he says, and as I follow him past the barricades, I offer Sergeant Costello my sweetest smile.

"What's going on?" I ask Pete.

"I need you to do me a favor."

"What is it?" I say, as we're approaching the house. Before he can answer, I hear a dog barking.

"Did Diaz have a dog?" I ask.

"He did."

"And you want me to take it?"

"I do."


(Continues...)

Excerpted from Hounded by David Rosenfelt. Copyright © 2014 Tara Productions, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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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