rescued“Rescued” by David Rosenfelt is book seventeen in his Andy Carpenter series, but it is not necessary to have read the previous books to enjoy this one. Rosenfelt is a superb raconteur (look for this reference in the book), and new readers will be able to jump right into the storyline without any difficulty. 

The story unfolds in a first person narrative by Andy Carpenter, lawyer and owner of Tara Foundation, a dog rescue organization. Andy is called to an incident on the highway.   

“I’m left with a sense of dread. If Ralph is calling me and needs my help about something “awful,” it must involve dogs being hurt, or injured, or abused. And if there is anything I hate in this world, it’s animals being hurt, or injured, or abused.” 

At the incident site, Pete Stanton captain of the homicide division of  the Paterson Police Department, gives the grim details,  “We have a truckload of dogs and a murder victim,”  

This is not a conventional lawyer/client/police procedure book.  This is a book filled with humor, even in the worst situations. The “Andy attitude” jumps from every line. After all, what kind of criminal mastermind uses a tractor trailer filled with dogs as cargo for criminal activities? Well, Andy is on the job to find out, and it starts with the dogs.  

“Can we take the dogs off the truck?” “Not yet. We have to process them and check for evidence.” “You going to interrogate each one? Maybe hook them up to a lie detector? I hear there’s a lab mix that looks a little shady; you might be able to get a confession out of him.” 

Dave Kramer appears at Andy’s door,  “I want to hire you as my attorney…because I killed him.” Andy is not interested in taking the case. “I’m already pretty busy. Ricky starts school in three weeks, and then there’s football season, and I need to get the car serviced, and before you know it, it’s Halloween. We don’t even have costumes yet, and I was hoping not to dress up as a lawyer again this year.” 

Never-the-less, Andy takes the case; the team is assembled including Edna, the reluctant office manager, Sam Willis, Willie Miller, Marcus Clark, Hike Lynch, and of course, Laurie, and the investigation  begins. There is a lot of good natured ribbing, but these are friends who would sacrifice anything for each other. Along the way, Andy talks to himself, talks to the readers, and talks to the dogs. Then, when readers are settling in to the story, there appear some rather unsavory characters and the narrative shifts to  third person. 

Rosenfelt builds a compelling story piece by piece. The structure builds tension and intrigue gradually,  starting with the benign and appealing shelter dogs and then growing slowly and steadily until it becomes more complex, more entangled, more sinister,  and more dangerous with every page. 

I was given a copy of “Rescued” by David Rosenfelt, St. Martin’s Press, and NetGalley. I loved this book, in fact I love all the Andy Carpenter books. The characters grow and change in every book. This is not just another repetitive series involving the same old plots with new villains. I know these people as well as I know my neighbors (well, actually better than I know my neighbors), and I think I like them better. I recommend that everyone read all seventeen books as we eagerly await number eighteen.