All semi-retired defense attorney Andy Carpenter wants is the holiday family cruise he’s on to be over–that and to stay retired. While he gets his first wish when the ship docks, his second is dashed by a phone call from his good friend and partner Willie Miller. He runs the Tara Foundation, Andy’s dog rescue and true passion. A friend of Willie’s has been arrested for murder, and things don’t look good. This sets the stage for Silent Bite, the newest Andy Carpenter mystery by David Rosenfelt. I’m joined again by Miss Lizzie, a beautiful and brilliant black Labrador mix rescue, Current’s expert on dogs’ thoughts, feelings and motivations.
Currents: Tony Birch has been arrested for the murder of Frankie Zimmer, who’d testified against Tony during his manslaughter trial. Now, three years after Tony’s release and his agreeing to meet with Zimmer, the man’s been executed. The police have a strong case.
Miss Lizzie: Tony says that he didn’t know why Zimmer called him, and they’d not spoken in years. See, if he were a dog, when he got that feeling that something wasn’t right, he’d have put his nose in the air, sniffed, and sensed the danger. Humans can be so bad about overriding what nature tells them.
Currents: What Tony does have going for him is Andy Carpenter’s legal brilliance–and his stellar investigation crew, The K Team. The squad includes retired cops–Andy’s wife, Laurie, and Corey Douglas–as well as Marcus Clark, a man of more grunts than words.
Miss Lizzie: Then there’s the most important member of The K Team–Corey’s canine partner and reason for the team’s name, the handsome and brave German shepherd Simon Garfunkel. He’s also a retired cop, who Corey takes everywhere Simon’s allowed and some places he isn’t–and I like that. I’ve got a serious crush on Simon, but that doesn’t mean I’m not an objective journalist. Also, Simon’s friends with Andy and Laurie’s dogs, Tara and Sebastian.
Currents: Although not wanting to take the case, Andy can’t refuse Willie. The deal is sealed when Tony seems to express more concern for his dog than himself.
Miss Lizzie: Also, Andy learns that Tony adopted his pup, Zoey, a Nova Scotia duck-tolling retriever, from the Tara Foundation. Willie’s militant in making sure their rescues go to responsible humans, in this case Tony.
Currents: Andy’s life gets complicated when Zoey goes missing. Zoey, who’s staying with Willie and his wife Sondra, escapes, and an all-out, panic-ridden search ensues.
Miss Lizzie: Zoey’s pining for her human dad. She doesn’t know where he’s gone and is worried and sure he needs her. Sondra feels really bad, but she shouldn’t. My brother, Mr. Darcy, escapes from the yard sometimes when our dad’s not looking. I usually go along, you know, just to make sure he doesn’t get in any trouble.
Currents: Andy’s client’s prospects dim when a widow takes her dog to the park, where the canine discovers the body of another man from Tony’s past.
Miss Lizzie: This fella, a German shorthaired pointer mix named Chilly, darts out on a long run chasing a sweetly well-thrown ball. He puts his nose forward, his tail back, turns on the jets, and gets there before the other dogs. Chilly hones-in on the body. It’s a scent difficult for any dog to miss.
Currents: One of Andy’s biggest defense challenges is Tony’s record. Andy can’t erase that Tony had been a member of The Blood Dragons.
Miss Lizzie: Dogs are the original gang members–we were called packs, as we descended from wolves. Although we no longer roam the wilderness but cruise city streets in the back seat of SUVs, hierarchy is in our blood. You never mess with the alpha dog or it ends badly for you.
Currents: As the body count rises, Andy knows he must confront the man who controls the region’s criminal element, and he isn’t going to be easy to rattle. So, Andy puts The K Team in charge of the operation.
Miss Lizzie: It’s times like this The K Team shines. Marcus rolls up the bodyguards like a couple of old leashes. Laurie and Corey, aided by the dashing Simon, have bad boy Luther about to piddle on the floor. Although The Blood Dragons are being bad boys, Andy realizes he has other feral humans to deal with, as well.
Currents: As the prosecution makes its case, Andy knows he has a serious problem. He has to admit that Tony used to be a criminal, yet make the jury see he’s turned his life around. But has he? Is his client running a revenge operation from his jail cell? Or will Andy wonder be getting Tony off, only to enable killers to get to him.
Miss Lizzie: There are good dogs who find themselves in similar situations. Maybe they nipped someone who was mean to them or frightened them, and they end up labeled a Bad Dog. Pups learn the first time they have an accident in the house that actions have consequences.
This holiday mystery is full of surprises, chills, and laughs–and some very good dogs. To learn more about the Andy Carpenter mysteries and other books by David Rosenfelt, go to www.davidrosenfelt.com and follow him on Facebook.