New Maine Times Book Review: Leader of the Pack

Posted Wednesday, December 19, 2012 in Culture

New Maine Times Book Review: Leader of the Pack
By David Rosenfelt.
Minotaur Books, 2012
362 pages, $24.99.
ISBN 978-0-312-64804-6.
Reviewed by William D. Bushnell
When wise-cracking defense attorney Andy Carpenter visits a former client in prison, he is asked to do a favor, but that favor will turn out to be a big mistake.
Andy is a rich New Jersey defense attorney who takes very few cases anymore, preferring instead to visit his many former clients who are in prison, to let them know he’s still thinking about them.  Andy is a hot-shot lawyer who often defers to the wishes of his clients, which is why so many of them are in prison in the first place.  But with $26 million in the bank, Andy can afford to be generous with his time.
LEADER OF THE PACK is award-winning Portland mystery writer David Rosenfelt’s tenth mystery novel in his series featuring Andy Carpenter.  This exciting crime thriller follows his outstanding stand-alone mystery, HEART OF A KILLER (Minotaur, 2012).
Rosenfelt’s previous career in the Hollywood filmmaking and television production business gives him an edge as a writer because he knows well how to put together tightly-wrapped mysteries loaded with suspenseful plots, convincing and colorful characters, fast-paced action, and snappy, funny dialogue.  His Andy Carpenter character is much like author Michael Connelly’s sharp defense attorney character, the Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller.  Fans of Connelly’s mysteries will surely love Rosenfelt’s crime novels.  Like Connelly, Rosenfelt delivers.
Joey Desimone is the son of a notorious Mafia crime boss.  Convicted six years ago for a double homicide, Joey is now serving a life sentence for the murders.  Andy was his defense attorney and he still feels a bit guilty he didn’t do a better job at Joey’s trial.  Unlike most of his clients, Andy still thinks Joey is innocent.
As a favor to Joey, Andy meets with Joey’s uncle, Nicky Fats, another Mafia figure, and a chance, unguarded comment inspires Andy to seek a new trial for Joey.  Andy starts to ask questions, uncovering exculpatory evidence and prosecutorial misconduct in the first trial, resulting in a new, more thorough investigation and a new trial.
Andy is convinced Joey is innocent, especially when bad things start to happen to both Andy and nearly everyone he talks with about Joey’s case.  And Andy doesn’t believe in coincidence.  What he doesn’t know is that there are sinister and deadly forces, two competing conspiracies, that do not want the investigation reopened and Joey released from prison, and they will do anything to prevent either possibility.
The new evidence Andy and his very entertaining and competent investigators uncover reveal new motives and new alternative suspects in the double homicide, but only some clever investigative techniques and complex and very risky courtroom tactics can free an innocent man.  Meanwhile, somebody seems to know Andy’s every move and traps are set for the unwary.
Add attempted assassinations, drive-by shootings, mass murder, an unprecedented international smuggling operation, kidnapping, well-crafted misdirection, cold-blooded Mafia thugs, corrupt government officials, betrayal and treachery, and some curious, obstructive law enforcement decisions, and Rosenfelt has another sure mystery hit.  And, oh yes, you will never see the surprise ending coming.
Andy Carpenter may rely on his quick wit, smooth tongue, and the services of a very lethal bodyguard for his own self-preservation, but for all that, he is still a very competent and entertaining defense attorney.
blog comments powered by Disqus