BY DAVID ROSENFELT
I am a novelist with 32 dogs.
I have gotten to this dubious position with absolutely no planning, and at no stage in my life could I have predicted it. But here I am.
My childhood was relentlessly normal. The middle of three brothers, loving parents, a middle-class home in Paterson, New Jersey. We played sports, studied sporadically. laughed around the dinner table, and generally had a good time. By comparison, "Ozzie and Harriet's" clan seemed bizarre.
I graduated NYU, then decided to go into the movie business. I was stunningly brilliant at a job interview with my uncle, who was President of United Artists, and was immediately hired. It set me off on a climb up the executive ladder, culminating in my becoming President of Marketing for Tri-Star Pictures. The movie landscape is filled with the movies I buried; for every "Rambo", "The Natural" and "Rocky", there are countless disasters.
I did manage to find the time to marry and have two children, both of whom are doing very well, and fortunately neither have inherited my eccentricities.
A number of years ago, I left the movie marketing business, to the sustained applause of hundreds of disgruntled producers and directors. I decided to try my hand at writing. I wrote and sold a bunch of feature films, none of which ever came close to being actually filmed, and then a bunch of TV movies, some of which actually made it to the small screen. It's safe to say that their impact on the American cultural scene has been minimal.
About five years ago, my wife and I started the Tara Foundation, named in honor of the greatest Golden Retriever the world has ever known. We rescued almost 4,000 dogs, many of them Goldens, and found them loving homes. Our own home quickly became a sanctuary for those dogs that we rescued that were too old or sickly to be wanted by others. Right now they number 32, and they surround me as I write this. It's total lunacy, but it works, and they are a happy, safe group.
DAVID ROSENFELT was the former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures before becoming a writer of novels and screenplays. OPEN AND SHUT is his first novel.
David Rosenfelt Interviews His Character, Andy Carpenter
David Rosenfelt: I'm talking with defense attorney Andy Carpenter, main character in seven of my novels. Andy, can you tell me a little about your new book, New Tricks?
Andy Carpenter: I should tell you about it? You wrote it.
DR: I realize that, but I'd like our readers to be familiar with it.
AC: So tell them to buy it.
DR: You seem a little out of sorts. Is something bothering you?
AC: I agreed that you can write about my cases, but I didn't say anything about doing publicity. This interviewing stuff is not in my contract. Besides, I'm a lawyer; I like to ask questions, not answer them.
DR: Would you rather be asking me the questions?
AC: Anything would be better than this. You ready?
AC: OK. Since you created me, why did you have to make me so short?
DR: I've never actually said how tall you are, but I always thought about five foot ten.
AC: Can I dunk a basketball?
DR: Not even if you stood on a chair.
AC: So you made me short, a physical coward, unsure around women, argumentative, and generally lazy. And you wonder why I don't want to sit here and chat with you?
DR: I also made you smart and funny, and I gave you Tara, the greatest dog in the history of the world.
AC: That's the one thing we agree on. How about letting me get Tara some friends?
DR: She has Waggy, the Bernese Mountain Dog in New Tricks.
AC: I knew you'd work that in. I'm talking about getting a whole bunch of dogs.
DR: How many?
AC: How many do you have? In real life...
DR: Twenty seven, mostly golden retrievers. We rescue them.
AC: Twenty seven? You're a total nutcase, and I've gotta tell you, I'm not sure I'm comfortable having a nutcase for a creator.
DR: Keep complaining and I'll shrink you to five foot six.
AC: You could do that?DR: Piece of cake.
For those lucky readers familiar with Andy Carpenter, the creation of David Rosenfelt, this is another fun read. However, if you are like me, perhaps a little background would help. Wealthy attorney, Andy Carpenter, like to work on interesting cases, especially if he can win them. So when moneyed scientist, Walter Timmerman, is murdered, the case, in a way, comes to Andy. Judge Henry Henderson decides that Andy should be the attorney to take custody of Timmerman's mountain dog puppy, Waggy, who has suddenly become the center of attention in a custody battle between Timmerman's second wife, Diane, and her stepson, Steven Timmerman.
Andy gets help from his best friend, golden retriever Tara, and his girlfriend, police officer Laurie Collins. When Andy goes to pick up the dog at the widow Timmerman's house, he does so only to have an explosion follow and Diane Timmerman is killed. Now the suspect becomes Steven and yet why would all these people be fighting over the dog?
Andy tries to figure out the case and with many twists and turns and even his own people being put in possible danger, realizes that it isn't a person who is in danger, but rather the canine Waggy. What could make this dog so important and valuable that people would kill for him? Rosenfelt, with his typical dash of humor and mayhem, drives readers a bit crazy trying to figure things out and the ending is one that is pure surprise.
This is my first time reading David Rosenfelt and his Andy Carpenter series, but I was pleasantly surprised. It was a fast read, kept my interest, and although there was a mystery to solve, it still was done with much humor and that made it especially enjoyable for me.
Thanks to Miriam and the great folks at
Hachette Book Group, I have 5 copies of this
dog-gone good legal thriller for you to try for!
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