Play Dead (Andy Carpenter Series #6)

Play Dead (Andy Carpenter Series #6)

4.4 39
by David Rosenfelt, Grover Gardner

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Edgar-finalist Rosenfelt's riveting sixth legal thriller (after 2006's Dead Center) brings independently wealthy Paterson, N.J., lawyer Andy Carpenter to the defense of a very special domestic violence victim, Yogi, a golden retriever alleged to have bitten its owner. Andy uses the court system to spring Yogi from an animal shelter's death row and adopt him,


Edgar-finalist Rosenfelt's riveting sixth legal thriller (after 2006's Dead Center) brings independently wealthy Paterson, N.J., lawyer Andy Carpenter to the defense of a very special domestic violence victim, Yogi, a golden retriever alleged to have bitten its owner. Andy uses the court system to spring Yogi from an animal shelter's death row and adopt him, adding the dog to a small family that includes longtime pet golden Tara. But when the gang goes for a walk that leads to a joyful reunion between Yogi and a woman named Karen Evans, Andy learns Yogi is actually Reggie, presumed dead five years earlier after the conviction of Karen's brother, U.S. Customs Inspector Richard Evans, for the murder of his fiancée, Stacy Harriman. Suspecting Richard's innocence, Andy tackles the case like a dog on a chew toy, undeterred by an intricate web of deception involving a possible government coverup. No shaggy dog story, this puppy's alive with reliable Rosenfelt wit and heart.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Gardner's breezy, slightly sarcastic delivery is just what's needed for Rosenfeld's breezy, slightly sarcastic mysteries featuring multimillionaire New Jersey lawyer Andy Carpenter. The yarns, told in first-person, present tense by the attorney, often have the feel of standup comedy routines, and this latest is no exception. ("She wanted to get me before I went to work," Carpenter says of an early wakeup call. "She must think I'm a dairy farmer.") Happily, Gardner possesses a comedian's timing and knows exactly where the laughs are. The plot centers on a golden retriever that was thought to have perished at sea five years ago along with its murdered mistress. Following the animal's lead, Carpenter winds up constructing a new defense for the man imprisoned for the murder. Gardner's vocal interpretations of the other characters all sound a little like him. This is appropriate, since, after all, Carpenter is supposed to be the one telling us this witty, well-plotted, highly entertaining shaggy dog story. Simultaneous release with the Warner hardcover (Reviews, Feb. 26). (July)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Library Journal

The latest mystery featuring Paterson, NJ, defense lawyer Andy Carpenter is a blast. After adopting a dog from an animal shelter, Andy learns the dog may be the clue to solving a five-year-old murder of a customs inspector's fiancée. Andy decides to conduct his own investigation, which leads to meetings with the mafia, multiple attempts on his life, and some explosive courtroom scenes. But the minimalist plot is secondary to the excellent protagonist; his relaxed perception of his job and life is amusing and appealing and will draw in even the most jaded mystery fan. Play Deadlisteners will garner plenty of laugh-out-loud moments as well as trite one liner-induced groans. Reader Grover Gardner is worthy of the myriad awards he has won; his laid-back, humorous approach will win over new listeners and surely please old fans. Recommended.
—Jesse Light

Kirkus Reviews
Andy Carpenter rescues one client from prison and another from Death Row in his most ambitious case yet. During a torrential rainstorm five years ago, Coast Guard officers boarded a boat four miles off the New Jersey Coast to find one occupant, U.S. Customs inspector Richard Evans, comatose from an overdose of sleeping pills and the other two, Richard's fiancee Stacy Harriman and his dog Reggie, missing. Long before they identified Stacy's body, washed ashore three weeks later, they'd already arrested Richard for murder, and he was tried and convicted. But a startling new piece of evidence emerges when Andy (Dead Center, 2006, etc.) tries to save Yogi, a golden retriever who bit his abusive owner, from being put down: Richard's sister Karen identifies Yogi as Reggie. She proves his identity to Andy, who in an amusing courtroom sequence proves it to a judge. Presumably Reggie got off the boat because somebody took him off. Who was that somebody, what was his or her role in Stacy's murder and Richard's near-death, why haven't the authorities found any trace of him or her, and how can Andy do better? The stakes are raised but the answers obscured by the news that both the FBI and the New Jersey mob are so interested in the case that one is bugging Andy's phone and the other shooting at him. A steadily absorbing journey through layers and layers of deception. Only the very last surprise fizzles.
From the Publisher
"Riveting....Alive with reliable Rosenfelt's wit and heart."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)"

A taut thriller full of whiplash plot twists and wisecracking dialogue."—Entertainment Weekly"

[Andy Carpenter's] most ambitious case yet...absorbing."—Kirkus"

A cracking good yarn...As always, Andy's offbeat, outspoken personality shines on every page, and the balance of humor and mystery is dead-on."—Booklist (starred review)

Entertainment Weekly
"A taut thriller full of whiplash plot twists and wisecracking dialogue."
A cracking good yarn...As always, Andy's offbeat, outspoken personality shines on every page, and the balance of humor and mystery is dead-on.
Booklist (starred review)
"A cracking good yarn...As always, Andy's offbeat, outspoken personality shines on every page, and the balance of humor and mystery is dead-on."

Product Details

Listen & Live Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
Andy Carpenter Series, #6
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 6.20(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Play Dead

By David Rosenfelt

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2007 David Rosenfelt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-446-58241-4

Chapter One

"ANDY, YOU'RE NOT GOING to believe this."

This is the type of sentence that, when said in a vacuum, doesn't reveal much. Whatever it is that I am not going to believe might be very positive or very negative, and there would be no way to know until I see it.

Unfortunately, this particular sentence is not said in a vacuum; it's said in the Passaic County Animal Shelter. Which means that "positive" is no longer one of the possibilities.

The person speaking the words is Fred Brandenberger, whose job as shelter manager is an impossibly difficult one. There are far more dogs that come through his doors than potential adopters, and he therefore must helplessly supervise the euthanasia of those that are not taken. I know it drives Fred crazy; he's been in the job for two years, and my guess is he's not going to last much longer.

It bothers me to come here, and I rarely do. I leave this job to my former legal client, Willie Miller, who is my partner in the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue operation. We rescue a lot of dogs, over a thousand a year, but there are many more worthy ones that we simply do not have room for. I hate making the life-or-death decisions on which ones we will take, and Willie has been shouldering that responsibility.

Unfortunately, Willie and his wife, Sondra, are in Atlantic City for a few days, and we've gotsome openings for new dogs, so here I am. I've been dreading it, and based on what Fred has just said to me, I fear that dread has been warranted.

Fred leads me back to the quarantine room, which houses dogs who are sick or are unavailable to be adopted for other reasons. The other reason is usually that the dog has bitten someone; in that case they are held for ten days to make sure they don't have rabies, and then put down. "Put down" is shelter talk for "killed."

Fred points to a cage in the back of the quarantine room, and I walk toward it, cringing as I do. What is there turns out to be far worse than expected; it's one of the most beautiful golden retrievers I've ever seen.

Golden retrievers do not belong in cages. Ever. No exceptions. The dog I'm looking at is maybe seven years old, with more dignity in his eyes than I could accumulate in seven hundred years. Those eyes are saying, "I don't belong in here," and truer eye words were never spoken.

I can feel myself getting angry at this obvious injustice. "What the hell is this about?" I ask as Fred walks over.

"He bit his owner. Eleven stitches," Fred says. "Not that I blame him."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, for one thing, the owner is an asshole. And for another, he might not even be the owner."

"Tell me everything you know," I say.

It turns out that Fred doesn't know that much. A man named Warren Shaheen, who had just come home from the hospital, called him to a house in Hawthorne. He said he had been bitten by his dog, Yogi, for no reason whatsoever. He wanted the dog taken to the shelter and put down.

As Fred and Yogi were leaving the house, a young boy who claimed to live next door approached. He said that Warren was always kicking the dog, and he was sure that the dog bit him in retaliation. Further, he claimed that Warren had found the dog wandering on the street less than three weeks ago and apparently made no effort to find the real owner.

"What are you going to do?" I asked.

Fred shrugged. "You know the drill. After ten days, we put him down. We're not allowed to adopt him out."

I ask Fred if he'll open the cage and let me take the dog out. He knows he shouldn't, but does so anyway.

I take Yogi into a small room where potential adopters go to get to know the dogs they might take. I sit in the chair, and Yogi comes over to me. He has cut marks on his face, clearly visible in this light. They look old, perhaps remnants from some long-ago abuse. It's likely that Yogi has not had the best life.

He puts his paw up on my knee, a signal from goldens that they want their chest scratched. I do so, and then he rests his head on my thigh as I pet it.

Fred comes over to the room, looks in and sees me petting Yogi in this position. "Pretty amazing, huh?"

"Fred, I'm aware of the regulations, but there's something you should know."

"What's that?"

"Nothing bad is going to happen to this dog."


Excerpted from Play Dead by David Rosenfelt Copyright © 2007 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.

Meet the Author

A former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures, David Rosenfelt now writes novels and screenplays. He also runs the Tara Foundation which rescues dogs, mainly golden retrievers. For more information, visit his website:

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Play Dead (Andy Carpenter Series #6) 4.4 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 39 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always a treat! Author has found a delightful formula - wry wit, courtroom banter, interesting plot twists - that is entertaining, yet never feels repetitive. Have read the series and started the next.
CharliD More than 1 year ago
I read for numerous reasons - in this particular case, bedtime reading. This book is part of the Andy Carpenter series. They all follow a similar basic concept but with interesting variations that are at times rather clever. I am also a dog lover so the character, Tara, is an extra special touch. I do highly recommend this author - I have read all but the last book of this series and have started on the 4 or 5 other (thriller) books he has written. I always look for a book that my husband will enjoy - he is definitely hooked on these, too.
lovecavaliers More than 1 year ago
Love this series - the author is soooooo funny and keeps me interested!!
LuckyPatty More than 1 year ago
I just started reading the Andy Carpenter series by David Rosenfelt and am now going back to all the books he's written and enjoying them. I especially love the fact that he's a doglover and especially the fact that he features Golden Retrievers. In this installment he's rescued a Golden that just happens to be wrapped in a murder/suicide case from 5 years ago. Trying to help out the sister of the accused, Andy is not only having his phone tapped by some government agency, but he's being shot at while driving. How did Reggie the Golden survive all these years and what does it mean to the prosecution's case against his owner? You'll have to read to find out. Along the way you'll enjoy Andy's conversation with his friend Sam that involve song lyrics and movie dialogue which is just another delightful turn in this book. I highly recommend this book as well as the others in the Andy Carpenter series if you enjoy a great read.
Loislovesbooks More than 1 year ago
I recently stumbled across Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter series, and promptly obtained all six books after reading the first one. This is a fun read, particularly after reading something much heavier as I do often. I like the way he develops his characters, and with only two left for me to read, I feel like I'm friends with most of the people in his plots. This series would make a good movie, and it would be interesting to see who would be picked to play Tara, his dog, who is obviously the star of the series! For those who like light mysteries from time to time, this is the book for you.
Woggie More than 1 year ago
I'm reading this book right now and it is very good can't wait to finish it, all the books I read of his are good book. I'm a dog lover and that makes this book more interesting to me.
NancyT More than 1 year ago
The author, David Rosenfelt, has a great style of writing. This made the story itself even better! Lots of mystery, fun, a little romance and a great dog. What more could you ask for?? By all means, read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw the Golden on the cover and bought this book. It was my first by David Rosenfelt but won't be my last! I plan to read every one. His writing is engaging, hilarious and keeps you in suspense till the end. The goldens involved don't hurt!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read all of David Rosenfelt's books, and while 'Play Dead' was not my favorite, it is still witty, fun, and suspenseful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I did not think this book was as good as his previous books, you cannot not love Andy Carpenter, Tara, Laurie, Willie and all the other characters. His song talking with Sam, his silent 'bodyguard' Marcus, His do-nothing secretary Edna, his sarcastic cop friend Pete and Vince from the newspaper are so real you feel like you know people just like them. All together they make the book outstanding even if this one was slightly weak.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy this series and the main character, Andy. But this installment was not his best. It seemed to me that the ending was just too quick, too pat. I found myself wondering how solved it. Still an enjoyable read. If you are new to Mr. Rosenfelt, start at the beginning of the series. You will not be disappointed.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story for the most part, but there seemed to be a lot of loose ends that weren't really explained.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series. Bought the first book and I won't stop until I've read them all!,
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Just keeps getting better i am hooked also i can see myself rereading them
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