A lawyer by day, Andy Carpenter's true passion is the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization he runs with his friend Willie Miller. So, it's frightening when there's been a break-in at the foundation building. It turns out that a recently rescued dog, nicknamed Cheyenne since her arrival at the foundation, has been stolen. Andy and Willie track the missing dog to a house in downtown Paterson, NJ and sure enough, they find the dog...right next to a dead body. The man had been murdered mere minutes before Andy and Willie arrived. Could it be coincidence? Or could the dog theft be connected to the killing?
Andy takes Cheyenne safely back to the foundation building. That should be the end of his involvement, but Andy's curiosity - and his desire to keep the dog from further harm - won't let him stop there. The cops have just arrested a man named Tommy Infante for the murder, but as Andy looks into the break-in and the dog theft, he starts to wonder if Infante might actually be innocent. When Andy takes Infante on as a client and starts searching in earnest for evidence that will exonerate him, his discoveries terrify him. The murder might be just one small cog in a plot with far-reaching implications, and unless Andy can uncover the truth in time, thousands of lives could be in imminent danger.
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Who Let the Dog Out?
By David Rosenfelt
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2015 Tara Productions, Inc.
All rights reserved.
This was not going to take a master thief. The difficulty of robberies, Gerry Downey knew, was directly proportional to the fear and expectation that the targets had of being robbed. No one goes to extremes to protect property unless they think someone might want to take that property. That's why banks and jewelry stores are tougher targets than hot dog stands and city dumps.
It's Robbery 101.
That was why Downey, who over time had accumulated enough real-world robbery credits to earn his master's, had no concerns about his current job. But that did not mean he was careless about it. He was a pro, and knew it was the easy ones that could occasionally throw you a curve. Which is why he had staked this one out for three days. After all, he was a professional and would act like one, despite the demeaning nature of this particular job.
Of course, the job wasn't just demeaning; it was also strange. Downey had never stolen anything like this before, and likely never would again. But if the payoff was always going to be this good, he'd happily sign on for a repeat performance anytime.
The building was on Route 20 in Paterson, New Jersey, a heavily trafficked road that had a number of commercial businesses on it. Part of that time he had been watching from a hamburger place across the road, which turned out to be bearable because the burgers were charcoal broiled and damn good and the French fries were crisp.
The guy who ran the place he was watching, Willie Miller, left with his wife most days at around five o'clock in the evening, sometimes a little later. The exact timing seemed to depend on whether they were there alone, or whether a customer was on site. But so far neither Willie nor anyone else had come back once they left, and Downey had watched until eight o'clock each night.
Downey had gone inside the target building the previous morning, pretending to be a customer himself. He needed to learn whether there was a burglar alarm (there was) and whether there were indoor cameras (there were). Neither would cause him any concern.
On this day Miller and his wife didn't leave until five-fifteen, so Downey waited twenty minutes and then drove over. There was no reason not to do it in daylight. If for any reason anyone was watching, a car pulling up to that building would seem more natural then than at night. And besides, he would only be there a few minutes.
Downey picked the lock in less than ten seconds, and went inside. He knew the silent alarm would be going off, but he'd be out long before anyone could respond. He pulled his jacket up over his head and headed for the electrical box to turn off the cameras. This was accomplished in a few seconds as well.
The only thing that was annoying Downey at that moment, other than the indignity of having to do such an easy job, was the noise. The barking was deafening; he had no idea how Miller could stand it every day.
Downey went directly to the dog runs, stopping at the fourth one on the right. Inside was a large dog, matching the photo he had been given. He didn't know what kind it was, and didn't care. Dogs didn't interest him one way or the other, and it amazed him how some people talked about them like they were human.
He opened the cage, pulling the leash out of his pocket. The dog seemed friendly enough and not inclined to attack, which was a plus, since if Downey had to shoot her, it would have defeated the purpose of his being there.
But her tail was wagging, and she came over and lowered her head, as if she wanted Downey to pet her. That sure as hell wasn't going to happen, so Downey just put the leash on her and led her out.
Downey took her to his car and she hopped right in. The entire thing hadn't taken more than three minutes, a very profitable three minutes at that.
"The man is pure evil. He must be stopped."
"That might be overstating it a bit," Laurie Collins says. "He's a baseball coach, working with nine-year-olds."
I point toward the field. "Do you see where Ricky is? Do you?" I'm talking about our recently adopted son, currently positioned in the outfield.
"Of course I do. He's in right field."
I nod vigorously. "Exactly! Right field! That's where they put the losers, the guys they're trying to hide. Nobody good plays right field."
"Ruth, Aaron, Kaline, Clemente, Frank Robinson, Andre Dawson ..." The only team sport that Laurie likes is baseball; she loves the history and tradition, and she's a student of it. If I don't interrupt, she'll name fifty great right fielders.
"Believe me, those guys didn't play right field in Little League," I say. "They pitched or played shortstop. In the majors, right field is fine; in Little League it's Death Valley. This coach has no idea what he's doing."
"Don't talk to him, Andy. Don't be one of those parents."
The coach is Bill Silver, and since he's at least six-two and 210 pounds, there's no way that I, Andy Carpenter, am going to confront him. I can't be one of "those parents," as Laurie put it, because "those parents" usually aren't cowards.
Laurie and I have been married five months, and we adopted Ricky at the same time. It was too late to get him involved in peewee football, so this is my first chance to see him on an athletic field.
The next batter hits a fly ball to right field. Ricky doesn't panic, just circles under it, waiting patiently for it to come down. And it does in fact come down, about eight feet to the right of where Ricky is standing. Displaying keen baseball instincts, he runs over and picks it up, then throws it to no one in particular, but in the general area of the infield. And it almost reaches the infield by the time it stops rolling.
"Good try, Rick!" Laurie calls out.
"He's a shortstop," I say to no one in particular. "Shortstops don't catch fly balls. You put Derek Jeter out there, and he embarrasses himself. You ever see Cal Ripken try to catch a fly ball? Pathetic."
"Andy, Ricky's having fun."
"You don't get to the majors by having fun," I say.
"Majors?" Laurie says, her voice both incredulous and disapproving. "Is that your plan?"
"Why not? I could have made it to the majors myself, if I had the breaks, and the dedication, and the ability. Why can't Ricky make it?"
"Well, for one thing, maybe he isn't good enough."
"That's because he's not focused on baseball. You need to stop bothering him, cluttering his head with that other stuff."
"What other stuff?"
"You know ... like reading and math. When is he going to need that junk in his life? Nobody reads anymore; everything is video."
"Andy ..." I've got a hunch that the next words out of Laurie's mouth are not going to be "I agree with you completely." But I don't get to hear them, because my cell phone rings and she stops in midsentence.
Caller ID tells me that it's Willie Miller, my former client and current partner in the Tara Foundation, our dog rescue operation. Willie and his wife, Sondra, are completely dedicated to finding loving homes for the dogs we bring in.
"What's up?" is the way I answer the phone.
"We've had a robbery," he says.
"At your house?"
"No, at the foundation. Sondra and I went to get something to eat after work, and when we got home I noticed that the alarm had gone off. So I came down here to see what was going on. There was a break-in."
I'm a little confused, because there is really nothing to steal there. We don't keep money or valuables in that building, just dogs. "What did they steal?"
"The shepherd mix. Cheyenne."
"I'll be right there," I say to Willie, and then turn to Laurie, who has overheard my end of the conversation. "Somebody stole a dog from the foundation."
"That's bizarre," she says, which is true. These are dogs up for adoption; there should be no reason for someone to steal one. "You go down there; I'll get a ride home with Sally."
Sally Rubenstein is our neighbor, and her son Will is on the same team as Ricky. They are best friends, but unfortunately, Will is playing shortstop, and he fields grounders like Ozzie Smith.
"Okay. If you get a chance after the game, talk to Coach Silver about Ricky."
"What do you want me to say?" she asks.
"Tell him Ricky should play in the infield or pitch. Don't overtly threaten him, but make sure he sees your gun." Laurie is an ex-cop and the private investigator for my law practice, and she carries a handgun.
"The guy shut the cameras off. And he picked the lock. He knew what he was doing."
I have to agree with Willie on his assessment, though it seems to make very little sense. Why would an accomplished thief come in and take a stray dog that was already up for adoption?
"You look at the tape?" I ask. "We get anything before he shut it off?" The cameras were not designed to capture thieves in action; we never contemplated that there might be a need. They were actually set up as a webcam, so Willie can see from his home what's going on with the dogs, in case any are sick. Cheyenne's run would therefore be within view of one of the cameras.
"Nah. He had his head covered with his sweatshirt; from some kind of college, I think. But we've got the GPS, unless the guy removed it."
They make inexpensive GPS devices that are small and attach to dogs' collars. We started using them about six months ago, when one of the dogs we adopted out escaped from his new owner. We searched for three days before we found the poor dog. If a dog is going to get away, it is likely to be before he or she is acclimated to the new home, so now we do the GPS thing as a service to protect both the dog and the adopter.
"Let's take a look."
We go into the office, and Willie takes the tracking machine out of the cabinet. He turns it on, and we wait the few seconds until it's ready. Once it is, Willie punches in the number that identifies Cheyenne's collar.
"We got it," he says. "Twenty-sixth Street, off Nineteenth Ave. Let's go."
"We should call the police," I say. "Have them meet us there."
"The police? For a stray dog? We can handle this."
Willie is a black belt in karate and one of the toughest people I've ever met. He can also be very nice, as evidenced by the fact that he used the pronoun "we." He knows very well that if there is any "handling" to be done, I'll be of little use.
"I'm not saying we can't handle it, but —"
"Andy, if he takes the GPS collar off and then leaves with the dog, we could lose him. Let's go; you can call the cops on the way if you want."
We head for my car, and I call Pete Stanton as we drive. Pete is a Paterson Police captain, and a very good friend of mine. I reach him on his cell and tell him what's going on.
"So what do you want from me?" he asks.
"To meet us there, arrest the bad guy, do your job, protect the public. That kind of thing."
"Willie can handle it," he points out.
"That's what I'm afraid of." Willie has been known to be somewhat protective of our dogs. If this guy has hurt Cheyenne, Willie might impose the death penalty on him. "What else have you got to do?"
"Not much; I'm just trying to apprehend a murderer."
There was a local murder last week, and the suspected perpetrator, Eric Brantley, has eluded capture despite an all-out manhunt. He is accused of killing his business partner with a well-placed bullet in the back of the head.
"The only way you're going to catch him is if he comes in voluntarily and surrenders," I say. "And even then you'll probably screw it up. Come on, this won't take more than twenty minutes."
"You're a pain in the ass, you know?" Pete asks.
"I am aware of that." I'm also aware that Pete could never turn me down for anything, since it was just a few months ago that I successfully defended him when he was wrongly accused of murder. I am ridiculously wealthy, mostly through inheritance, so I didn't charge him for the defense. Therefore he will owe me until the end of time, and I intend to take advantage of it for even longer than that.
I give him the address, and he agrees to meet us there. We're going to get there before him, but we can decide how to handle things when we arrive.
The house the GPS leads us to is modest and a little run-down, but no more so than the others in the neighborhood. This is not a wealthy area; most of the residents are honest, hardworking people who struggle to make ends meet. I never thought of them as a particularly dog-thieving group.
There is still daylight left, so the fact that there seem to be no lights on in the house is not particularly significant. Nor is the fact that there is no car in the driveway; there are plenty of cars parked on the street, and one of them could be the car that brought Cheyenne here.
We park and get out of the car. Willie starts toward the front porch of the house, showing no hesitation whatsoever.
"Let's wait for Pete," I say.
"We don't need Pete."
"I'm sure that's true, but there's no downside to waiting. He'll be here in five minutes, and it's not like they can leave without us seeing them."
"Come on, Andy. I want a shot at this guy. He won't tell the cops why he did it."
"He won't tell us either."
"Oh, yes he will," Willie says, and I believe him.
But I convince him to wait, and my job is made easier by the fact that Pete pulls up within two minutes. He gets out of the car, and we update him on the little that has happened so far.
Pete frowns at the indignity of having to deal with this as he starts up the steps. Willie is right up alongside him, and I'm a couple of paces back. I'd just as soon wait in the car, or even better, at home, but I'm actually not that afraid. Unless there's a Russian battalion setting up an ambush in that house, Pete and Willie can handle this.
Pete rings the bell, and immediately a dog starts barking.
"That's Cheyenne," Willie says, immediately.
"How do you know that?" Pete asks.
"I recognize the bark," Willie says, but I think he's lying. There's nothing about the bark that is distinctive, and we've only had Cheyenne for a few days. Besides, when one dog barks at the foundation, they all do, so I doubt he's ever heard Cheyenne's bark when it wasn't drowned out by all the others.
The barking stops, but no one comes to the door. Pete rings the bell again, which restarts the barking, but once again fails to turn up any humans.
"Nobody here," Pete says.
"Cheyenne's here," Willie points out. "Let's go in and get her."
"You've got probable cause for a robbery," I point out to Pete. "The stolen merchandise is barking."
He turns to Willie. "How do you know it's your dog?"
"Because it's MY dog. So I know her bark."
Pete rings the bell again, with the now predictable result ... more barking, but that's it. After a few moments, he takes out his gun, which I assume is proper procedure when entering a crime scene in this fashion.
He reaches for the door handle, and seems surprised to find that it turns and the door opens. "Wait here," he says, which I am quite happy to do.
Willie is less inclined to follow the order, and when Pete enters the house, Willie is right behind him, leaving me alone on the porch. Alone is not my favorite state of being in situations like this, so I belatedly join the procession.
There is a staircase directly across from the door, off the foyer, and since I'm a few seconds late, I don't know whether Pete and Willie went into the room to the left of the staircase or the room to the right. I'm about to call out to them when I hear a bark, which is clearly to the left. So that's where I go.
Cheyenne stops barking when she sees me. She is sitting on the floor about five feet from a recliner chair in what probably passes as the den, with a leash still around her neck. The room has a sofa, a table with a small TV resting on it, and the chair.
In the chair is a dead body. As a criminal attorney, I have seen way more than my share of them, both in photographs and sometimes in person. While I don't make it a practice to rank them, it's safe to say that this is not one I am soon going to forget.
The victim looks to be in his forties, well built, dressed in jeans and a Syracuse University sweatshirt. My guess would be that he's about six feet tall, but it's hard to tell because he's sitting down, and mostly decapitated. His throat has been sliced, and his head hangs to the side, only partially connected to his torso. His hands are behind him, probably tied behind the chair, but I'm not about to go back there to find out.
Excerpted from Who Let the Dog Out? by David Rosenfelt. Copyright © 2015 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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About the Author,
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book starts with a specific dog being stolen from the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue organization owned by Willie Miller and Andy Carpenter, lawyer extraordinaire. They have GPS chips on their collars of the shelter dogs, so they figure out where the dog is, but they wait for Captain Pete Stanton of the Paterson, NJ police to come and assist them. Of course they find the body of a recently dead man next to the dog. This leads to Andy getting a client, the person accused of killing the man. We are learning more about Laurie and Andy’s new son, Rick. Andy is adjusting to fatherhood quite well. With the usual cast of characters, Andy leads the way through seemingly unrelated clues. And it is all done with his trademark sense of humor. I love these books!
Then you miss the fun of new characters with the old standbys. Great series!
A kidnapped dog becomes the key to Andy Carpenter’s latest case in which he defends the kidnapper, who shortly after stealing the canine is murdered. The dog, rescued by Andy’s foundation from the dog pound, was owned by a chemistry professor on the lam and suspected of murdering his partner. These are only the first two corpses to inhabit the complicated plot in the novel involving smuggled “blood diamonds” and the unsavory characters that inhabit that world. A highlight of novels in this series usually is the amusing cross-examination conducted by Carpenter resulting in his client’s acquittal. Not so this time. Instead there are all kinds of machinations outside the framework of the case that makes the reader wonder what it’s all about. The usual cast of characters peoples the story. In addition to Andy, of course, is Laura, now his wife, Sam, the hacker-accountant, Marcus, the silent protector, Willie, who operates the dog foundation, Pete the police captain, and Vince the newspaper editor. Somehow, this reader felt the book fell short of the level of others in the series. While it reads well, the story does not rise to the type of quips found in prior entries either in the courtroom or the banter between Andy and his friends while drinking beer. Nonetheless, it is recommended.
I have Read 3 books ..the last ones ..innocent people are being framed and charged instantly by a stupid prosecutor..there is a dog and then our hero and FBI saves US from international terrorism and clears the suspect.I like the books but they are all the same...