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Open and Shut (Andy Carpenter Series #1)

Open and Shut (Andy Carpenter Series #1)

4.2 98
by David Rosenfelt

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Defense attorney Andy Carpenter manages to sail through any tough situation, whether inside the courtroom or in his personal life. But this all changes when his marriage breaks up and his father suddenly dies, leaving him distraught-and 22 million dollars richer. Andy doesn't know how his father accumulated this fortune or why his father begged him to take on the


Defense attorney Andy Carpenter manages to sail through any tough situation, whether inside the courtroom or in his personal life. But this all changes when his marriage breaks up and his father suddenly dies, leaving him distraught-and 22 million dollars richer. Andy doesn't know how his father accumulated this fortune or why his father begged him to take on the appeal of a death row prisoner. With the help of his newfound love, P.I. Laurie Collins, and the support of his golden retriever companion, Tara, he discovers a link between three of the most prominent men in New Jersey, including a senator, and his new client, Willie Miller. Willie was framed, there's no question about it, and Andy soon learns how far powerful men will go to protect their secrets.

Editorial Reviews

Margaret Maron
... a terrific debut...writes like a seasoned professional ...once I opened this book, I couldn't shut it till I finished the last page.
Harlan Coben
Wow, what a great book...all around terrific. I loved every page and hated to see it end... is the best debut I've read this year. Case closed.
Donald E. Westlake
...fast and funny. For some reason New Jersey brings out some dark streak of comedy in writers and I'm grateful to the state for that. A terrific debut.
Publishers Weekly
It's no surprise to find Harlan Coben giving a blurb to Rosenfelt's debut mystery, an homage to Coben's popular Myron Bolitar series. Like Bolitar, lawyer Andy Carpenter lives in suburban New Jersey, has strong bonds with his father, is a sports nut and has a refreshing lack of respect for wealth and power. Andy also has Myron's self-deprecating sense of humor, which allows him to make fun of his personal shortcomings. But Rosenfelt lacks both Coben's powerful narrative engine and gift for bringing weird minor characters to credible life. Andy, a flamboyant district attorney who dazzles the onlookers in Paterson with cute courtroom antics that probably wouldn't last a New York or L.A. minute, stumbles through a couple of plots that just don't ring true. When his father, Nelson, a straight-arrow DA, asks him to defend a death row rapist/murderer seeking a new trial, Andy reluctantly agrees. When the older man dies (spectacularly, at a Yankees game), a totally unexpected $22 million estate surfaces. On the side, Andy works to restart his failed marriage to an important politician's daughter while also pursuing his no-nonsense female chief investigator. Then Andy finds much too conveniently an old photograph linking his father and a bunch of boyhood friends to the original crime. We never learn enough about Nelson to understand or care about his guilt. Loose ends that a Coben would never have left to dangle undermine the ending. Hopefully, a more seasoned Rosenfelt will do better next time. (May 9) Forecast: Additional plugs from Donald E. Westlake and Margaret Maron, plus the author's status as former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures, will ensure plenty of media attention for this Mystery Guild Featured Alternate. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Defense attorney Andy Carpenter just might be the biggest wiseacre to hit the genre since Archie Goodwin. His courtroom antics have already ticked off judges and juries throughout Passaic County, and he'd probably be in jail himself if not for the New Jersey legal system's tremendous respect for Andy's late father, ex-DA Nelson Carpenter. But now Andy's become an irritant to someone still more dangerous than trial judge Walter "Hatchet" Henderson—someone willing to use threats, beatings, and bullets to keep Andy from inheriting his father's strange legacy: $22 million in an account no one knew about, a photo of Nelson in his 20s with three other young men, and a case that he prosecuted successfully seven years ago, now due for retrial on a technicality. And since Andy promised his father he'd defend Willie Miller in what looks like an open-and-shut case—the murder of Denise McGregor, whose body Willie was found standing over in an alley behind a bar, whose fingernails were lined with traces of Willie's skin, and whose blood was smeared on a knife with Willie's prints all over it—he'll do just that, even if it imperils his shaky reconciliation with his wife Nicole, his livelihood, his reputation, and his life. The new-love subplot with his female investigator, perhaps meant to lend manic Andy some gravitas, is just a distraction from the brisk dialogue, careful plotting, and solid spadework in Rosenfelt's series opener.
Cleveland Plain Dealer
"Splendid...intricate plotting."
From the Publisher
"A great book...gripping...all around terrific."—Harlan Coben"

Splendid...intricate plotting."—Cleveland Plain Dealer

Product Details

Grand Central Publishing
Publication date:
Andy Carpenter Series , #1
Product dimensions:
6.24(w) x 9.22(h) x 0.95(d)

Read an Excerpt

Open and Shut

By David Rosenfelt

Warner Books

Copyright © 2002 David Rosenfelt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-446-61253-7

Chapter One

The Lincoln Tunnel is a scary place. Especially now, at the end of the workday. I'm one link in an endless chain of drivers, all moving our cars through an atmosphere of one hundred percent pure carbon monoxide. Tunnel workers patrol walkways along the walls; I assume they are there to make sure no car achieves a speed above three miles an hour. Their lungs must have a life expectancy of an hour and a half. Surrounding us all are thousands of tons of dirt and water, just waiting for a crack to come crashing through.

I usually avoid this tunnel. It is one of three main passageways between New York City and Northern Jersey, where I live. I prefer the George Washington Bridge, where oxygen is plentiful and it doesn't feel like I'm driving through an enormous MRI machine. The fact is, I don't come into New York that often, and when I do it's rarely during the absurdly misnamed "rush" hour. But I needed to go to the NYU law library to do some research for an appellate case I'm handling, and I was stuck in court all day, so here I am.

I have two choices. I can ponder my impending death by suffocation under all this mud and water, knowing my loved ones will forever wonder whether my final resting place was in New York or New Jersey. Or I can think about the case, and what my strategy will be if the Court of Appeals turns us down. I go with the case, but it's a close call.

My client is death row inmate Willie Miller, a twenty-eight-year-old African-American convicted of murdering a young woman named Denise McGregor in the alley behind the Teaneck, New Jersey, bar where he worked. It's a case my father, Nelson Carpenter, prosecuted seven years ago, when he was the State District Attorney. Ironically, it's also my father's fault that I'm on the case now.

I think back almost two years to the day I was at home watching the Giants play the Redskins on television. It was a frigid, windy, December Sunday, the kind of day that passing would be difficult, so each team would try to run the ball down each other's throats. My father had come over to watch the game with me. He was never a big football fan, and my fanaticism about the Giants was clearly learned elsewhere. But he had been joining me to watch the games with increasing regularity since my mother died a year before. I don't think it's that he was liking football any more; I just think he was liking loneliness even less.

It must have been halftime that he brought it up, since if it were during the game I never would have heard him. "Do you remember the Willie Miller case?" he asked.

Of course I did. My father had sought and received the death penalty; this was not something I was likely to forget.

"Sure. What about it?"

He told me that some information had recently come to his attention. He wouldn't tell me how, or even what the specific information was, but he said that he had learned that a juror lied in voir dire, a significant lie that could result in a new trial if revealed to the court.

He was grappling with what to do with the information, since revealing the specifics would amount to breaking a privilege. Yet as an officer of the court he felt uncomfortable with concealing it, since Willie Miller was entitled to have the truth come out.

"How would you feel about representing him on an appeal?"

"Me?" I'm sure my mouth was stuffed with potato chips, so it probably came out "Mnnpphh?"

"Yes. You could have an investigator look into it, find out the facts without me having to tell you, and then go to the appeals court."

The case, as I remembered it, was open-and-shut. Willie Miller, even when seen through my skeptical defense attorney's eyes, was a murderer. I was not about to get involved in an appeal based on a technicality. What if it succeeded? I'd have to go through a trial I was bound to lose.

"No thanks."

"It would be important to me."

There it was, the sentence from which there was no defense. In my family, when you asked a favor of someone, it was acceptable to refuse. But once the person said that it was important to them, it crossed a line and became an absolute imperative. We did not use those words frivolously, and they carried an awesome weight.

"Then I'll do it."

"You've got no chance, you know."

I laughed. "Then why the hell is it so important to you that I enter the swamp?" That is how we referred to legal cases that dragged on forever with little or no chance of ultimate victory. "Because the man is on death row."

The Giants kicked off to start the second half, the Redskins drove the length of the field for a touchdown, and I was on a case that might well leave me forever stuck in the Lincoln Tunnel.

But, no! Suddenly, without warning, a burst of speed by the cars ahead lets me gun the accelerator to almost five miles an hour. At this rate, there's a chance I might make it home in time to leave for court tomorrow morning.


Excerpted from Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt Copyright © 2002 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.

What People are Saying About This

Harlan Coben
A great book...gripping...all around terrific.

Meet the Author

DAVID ROSENFELT is the former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures and lives in Southern California.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Open and Shut (Andy Carpenter Series #1) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 98 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
An easy reading book that doesn't bore you with mundane details. Whenever I read a crime story, I know that clues are left for us to try to figure out the ending.... but this time I never saw it coming. Andy is so down to earth and a nice guy that if he didn't grow up with the senator's daughter, they probably never would have gotten married. I am glad this didn't get in the way of the truth.
JT05 More than 1 year ago
I happened to pick up Open and Shut when my current list of "must read" authors had nothing new. I found an enjoyable story with characters-both two and four legged-that held my attention through the entire read. Many of us wish we had Andy Carpenter's lifestyle but the way he decides to deal with his windfall is both touching and enviable. Andy comes across as a good guy with a sense of humor about himself and life and is refreshing to read. I enjoyed my first Andy Capenter story enough to go back and purchase two more in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely could not put this book down! Andy Carpenter's sense of humor is what made the book. As soon as I finished it, I went out and ordered his other 4 books. David Rosenthal is now one of my favorite authors along with James Patterson, Stuart Woods, Phillip Margolin, Janet Evanovich. Harlan Cobin, Robert Crais and Sue Grafon. That's a pretty high ranking for a first book. I do hope the rest are just as great.
jdee01 More than 1 year ago
Just finished #1 & 2 in the series and rate both 4 stars. I just added all the rest (except cannot find #4) to my list to buy. Fast reads, witty, and informative. Gets right to the point and does repeat things over and over. Will recommend to my friends. J.Dee
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book very much. I consider it a perfect summer read. Not so heavy that you need to think a lot, but still with enough suspense to keep you going.
NYer More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book at the airport and found my cross country flight was the fastest ever. I loved the story and the writing. I have recently purchased all of David Rosenfelt's books and love them all. I am so happy to find a new author that I enjoy.
Vic7 More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Can't wait to finish the last one. Hope there is more coming, really loved Andy.
doggies More than 1 year ago
David Rosenfelt does an excellent job of pulling you into the story of OPEN and SHUT! My book club chose this for an "easy" read, but now we call it an "Excellent" read. Rosenfelt has you wondering "who did it" through out the book. You think you have it solved and then there is a new twist. The ending is SO unexpected. Great read!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a great book if you enjoy courtroom mysteries,witty main characters, and a storyline that grabs you from the first page to the last. I loved every page and just wish it had lasted longer. I can't wait for Mr Rosenfelt's next book.
1unicorn2many More than 1 year ago
I've been looking for another series that would stay interesting and not just rehash the previous story so I started with this one - I love the characters, especially the way the dog is worked in but doesn't take over - terrific!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked this murder mystery and upon finishing it, I went on to read five more David Rosenfelt novels! Hs style is great! I love it when Andy goes against the grain of legalese and still comes out the winner! The dialogue is very refreshing and brought many laughs--not something I find in many courtroom dramas!
bearkram More than 1 year ago
i loved this debut book and i plan to start the others in the series soon. writing style was not too heavy but just right
harstan More than 1 year ago
In New Jersey judicial circles, the name Nelson Carpenter is legendary as the former District Attorney earned the respect of the entire state. In Passaic County, Nelson¿s oldest born, defense attorney Andy Carpenter abuses that reputation that enables him to avoid contempt charges due to his questionable courtroom antics that irritate judges and prosecutors, but frees his clients.

Nelson asks Andy to defend Willie Miller in the felon¿s appeal of a murder conviction that the older Carpenter prosecuted. Witnesses stated that they found the accused standing over the murdered corpse of Denise McGregor and Willie¿s fingerprints and blood were all over the murder weapon. When Nelson dies while attending a baseball game with Andy, the latter knows he must honor his father¿s last wish of him. As he begins to become more familiar with the Miller case, Andy is stunned to inherit a fortune and find a seemingly incriminating photo of his dad. Soon someone threatens to kill Andy if he insists on working the Miller appeal.

OPEN AND SHUT is a fabulous legal thriller that is at its best when Andy stays on center stage as a loose cannon attorney. When the subplot involves Andy¿s personal relationships with his wife and his private investigator, it loses an edge though having the sleuth capable of kicking butt is a nice gender bender twist. Overall, the story line is fast-paced providing readers a thrilling ride through the New Jersey judiciary system. Jurors will discover David Rosenfelt¿s debut is quite appealing and sentence the author to providing more tales starring Andy.

Harriet Klausner

Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Delightful! Well-plotted whodunit with witty protagonist; wry, dry humor is great in any season. Glad I tried this series; bought more.
Shar-Pei-Man More than 1 year ago
Fast paced, easy reading, funny, and griping tale.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Witty and entertaining, whodunit read with the added "realism" of a great Golden Retriever, Tara. Since we also have a Golden, we can identify with Andy's love for a great dog and enjoy the humor of the author in his twisted tales, full of dry and not so dry, humor. Find ourselves reading funny excerpts out loud to each other. Very entertaining!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written. Includes truly gem-oneliners and lol dry humor throughout, sometimes when least expected which makes it even more funny. Rosenfelt is a joy to read. Plot has suspense, strategy, engaging characters, terrific dialogue. The characters and plot evoke thoughtfulness and emotion from the reader. Rosenfelt draws you in completely and gives you a very satisfying read. This is the first book of his I've read and now I will be looking to read All his books!
stunning More than 1 year ago
It was an okay book. It had many unexpecting events take place. The plot took a while to really pick up speed. I have to admit my favorite character is Tara, the golden retriever. :) I hope the next book is better than this one.
scoda More than 1 year ago
When the latest Rosemfelt book made the best seller list, I decided to start at the beginning of the series with #1 first. I immediately ordered the remaining 6 of the series and can't wait for the newest one to be published. Each book is a page turner with a surprise ending. Great reading! It doesn't hurt to have a Golden Retriever of your own!
KathyK More than 1 year ago
I have been looking for different authors to read, since many of my favorite authors are deceased, seem to have retired or are not writing books as frequently as they did. After reading this book, the first in the Andy Carpenter series, I have now purchased three more -- guess no more needs to be said as to how much I enjoyed this book!
Jani8 6 months ago
I have never read any of David Rosenfelt’s books before, but I plan to do so as quickly as I can. This book is just what I like in a mystery – intricate plot, well developed characters, and humor. The hero is a lawyer, Andy Carpenter, who takes on an appeal case that his father asked him to do before he died. How he works it from a chance that the client might be innocent until he firmly believes he is innocent is an amazing journey. It is well worth reading.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Have only been able to locate this one in paperback but it was so worth reading. Recommended to everyone no matter what genre you like this is pretty good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm finding this book humerous and human, well written and un-disguised.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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