Abridging a mystery is always a tricky task-cut too much and the reader is either in the dark or wondering about dangling plot threads. But this abridgement is superbly done, reducing the length while maintaining the novel's essence and without sacrificing clarity. Lawyer Andy Carpenter finds himself roped into defending a New York Giants star running back who police find holed up in his house with a gun, and the dead body of a New York Jets receiver. Getting his unwanted client off won't be easy, especially when drug lords become involved, putting Andy's life-and the lives of those he cares about-on the line. Gardner's voice isn't what one would call resonant or even particularly pleasant, but he's undeniably compelling, and here he portrays the wisecracking and insecure Carpenter exactly right-a mix of neo-noirish gumshoe and hot-shot city lawyer. Gardner is one of the stars of audiobook narration-he's recorded more than 450 audiobooks and AudioFile magazine named him one of the "best voices of the century"-and he reinforces that reputation here. Gardner takes this otherwise mildly entertaining potboiler and turns it into a must-hear murder mystery. Simultaneous release with the Mysterious Press hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 7). (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
If you like witty mysteries, e.g., Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, then you should become acquainted with Andy Carpenter, a Patterson, NJ, millionaire lawyer (Open and Shut, First Degree) who keeps getting saddled with strange cases. In his latest adventure, the action starts immediately, when a famous Giants football player barricades himself in a Saddle River mansion, holding off the police because the body of a rival Jets player has been found in his closet. Did Kenny actually murder the player, or is it a set-up? How innocent is he? Moving from the Giants locker room to a Mafioso's office, Rosenfelt takes us on a great ride, throwing us red herrings, a hilarious subplot about Hollywood, and witty repartee between his colorful characters. This is a great beach read. Let's hope Andy gets more crazy cases! Recommended for all public libraries. The Edgar Award-winning Rosenfelt lives in Silverado, CA. [See Prepub Mystery, LJ 1/05.]-Marianne Fitzgerald, Annapolis, MD Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
A high-profile Giants running back accused of killing a wide receiver for the Jets. When the police come to the door, most people don't hold them off for three hours with a loaded gun, but then most people haven't just found a corpse in the closet. At least that's the explanation football player Kenny Schilling gives Andy Carptenter (Bury the Lead, 2004, etc.) for his imprudent reaction to the cops who came asking about the missing Troy Preston. Paterson (N.J.) prosecutor Dylan Campbell, who's crossed swords with Andy before, is convinced that Kenny shot Preston, and the evidence certainly looks strong. But Andy's not so sure. Nor is his team of investigators, headed by his ex-cop lover Laurie Collins, who's now talking about leaving Andy to move back to the sticks, and this time including screenwriter Adam Strickland, sent from Hollywood to start converting Andy's first case (Open and Shut, 2002) into a movie. It turns out that Troy Preston wasn't the first of Kenny's old football acquaintances to die; seven others, all healthy young men under 25, have predeceased him, and an eighth, paralyzed Jets coach Bobby Pollard, narrowly escaped death. The only trouble with Andy's serial-killer theory is that all the evidence points to his client as the serial killer. All Rosenfelt's usual pleasures: a twisty plot, crackling courtroom scenes and a thousand wisecracks, some pretty doggoned funny.