Play Dead (Andy Carpenter Series #6)

Play Dead (Andy Carpenter Series #6)

by David Rosenfelt

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Few can rival attorney Andy Carpenter's affection for golden retrievers, especially his own beloved Tara. After he astonishes a New Jersey courtroom by successfully appealing another golden's death sentence, Andy discovers that this gentle dog is a key witness to a murder that took place five years before. Andy pushes the boundaries of the law even further as he struggles to free an innocent man by convincing an incredulous jury to take canine testimony seriously. It will take all the tricks Andy's fertile mind can conceive to get to the bottom of a remarkable chain of impersonations and murder, and save a dog's life—and his own—in the process.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780446614528
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 08/01/2009
Series: Andy Carpenter Series , #6
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 50,242
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 6.60(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

A former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures, David Rosenfelt now writes novels and screenplays. He also runs the Tara Foundation which rescues dogs, mainly golden retrievers. For more information, visit his website:

Read an Excerpt

Play Dead

By David Rosenfelt

Grand Central Publishing

Copyright © 2007 David Rosenfelt
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-446-58241-4

Chapter One

"ANDY, YOU'RE NOT GOING to believe this."

This is the type of sentence that, when said in a vacuum, doesn't reveal much. Whatever it is that I am not going to believe might be very positive or very negative, and there would be no way to know until I see it.

Unfortunately, this particular sentence is not said in a vacuum; it's said in the Passaic County Animal Shelter. Which means that "positive" is no longer one of the possibilities.

The person speaking the words is Fred Brandenberger, whose job as shelter manager is an impossibly difficult one. There are far more dogs that come through his doors than potential adopters, and he therefore must helplessly supervise the euthanasia of those that are not taken. I know it drives Fred crazy; he's been in the job for two years, and my guess is he's not going to last much longer.

It bothers me to come here, and I rarely do. I leave this job to my former legal client, Willie Miller, who is my partner in the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue operation. We rescue a lot of dogs, over a thousand a year, but there are many more worthy ones that we simply do not have room for. I hate making the life-or-death decisions on which ones we will take, and Willie has been shouldering that responsibility.

Unfortunately, Willie and his wife, Sondra, are in Atlantic City for a few days, and we've gotsome openings for new dogs, so here I am. I've been dreading it, and based on what Fred has just said to me, I fear that dread has been warranted.

Fred leads me back to the quarantine room, which houses dogs who are sick or are unavailable to be adopted for other reasons. The other reason is usually that the dog has bitten someone; in that case they are held for ten days to make sure they don't have rabies, and then put down. "Put down" is shelter talk for "killed."

Fred points to a cage in the back of the quarantine room, and I walk toward it, cringing as I do. What is there turns out to be far worse than expected; it's one of the most beautiful golden retrievers I've ever seen.

Golden retrievers do not belong in cages. Ever. No exceptions. The dog I'm looking at is maybe seven years old, with more dignity in his eyes than I could accumulate in seven hundred years. Those eyes are saying, "I don't belong in here," and truer eye words were never spoken.

I can feel myself getting angry at this obvious injustice. "What the hell is this about?" I ask as Fred walks over.

"He bit his owner. Eleven stitches," Fred says. "Not that I blame him."

"What do you mean?"

"Well, for one thing, the owner is an asshole. And for another, he might not even be the owner."

"Tell me everything you know," I say.

It turns out that Fred doesn't know that much. A man named Warren Shaheen, who had just come home from the hospital, called him to a house in Hawthorne. He said he had been bitten by his dog, Yogi, for no reason whatsoever. He wanted the dog taken to the shelter and put down.

As Fred and Yogi were leaving the house, a young boy who claimed to live next door approached. He said that Warren was always kicking the dog, and he was sure that the dog bit him in retaliation. Further, he claimed that Warren had found the dog wandering on the street less than three weeks ago and apparently made no effort to find the real owner.

"What are you going to do?" I asked.

Fred shrugged. "You know the drill. After ten days, we put him down. We're not allowed to adopt him out."

I ask Fred if he'll open the cage and let me take the dog out. He knows he shouldn't, but does so anyway.

I take Yogi into a small room where potential adopters go to get to know the dogs they might take. I sit in the chair, and Yogi comes over to me. He has cut marks on his face, clearly visible in this light. They look old, perhaps remnants from some long-ago abuse. It's likely that Yogi has not had the best life.

He puts his paw up on my knee, a signal from goldens that they want their chest scratched. I do so, and then he rests his head on my thigh as I pet it.

Fred comes over to the room, looks in and sees me petting Yogi in this position. "Pretty amazing, huh?"

"Fred, I'm aware of the regulations, but there's something you should know."

"What's that?"

"Nothing bad is going to happen to this dog."


Excerpted from Play Dead by David Rosenfelt Copyright © 2007 by David Rosenfelt. Excerpted by permission.
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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Play Dead (Andy Carpenter Series #6) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 48 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Always a treat! Author has found a delightful formula - wry wit, courtroom banter, interesting plot twists - that is entertaining, yet never feels repetitive. Have read the series and started the next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Gets better with each book.
CharliD More than 1 year ago
I read for numerous reasons - in this particular case, bedtime reading. This book is part of the Andy Carpenter series. They all follow a similar basic concept but with interesting variations that are at times rather clever. I am also a dog lover so the character, Tara, is an extra special touch. I do highly recommend this author - I have read all but the last book of this series and have started on the 4 or 5 other (thriller) books he has written. I always look for a book that my husband will enjoy - he is definitely hooked on these, too.
lovecavaliers More than 1 year ago
Love this series - the author is soooooo funny and keeps me interested!!
LuckyPatty More than 1 year ago
I just started reading the Andy Carpenter series by David Rosenfelt and am now going back to all the books he's written and enjoying them. I especially love the fact that he's a doglover and especially the fact that he features Golden Retrievers. In this installment he's rescued a Golden that just happens to be wrapped in a murder/suicide case from 5 years ago. Trying to help out the sister of the accused, Andy is not only having his phone tapped by some government agency, but he's being shot at while driving. How did Reggie the Golden survive all these years and what does it mean to the prosecution's case against his owner? You'll have to read to find out. Along the way you'll enjoy Andy's conversation with his friend Sam that involve song lyrics and movie dialogue which is just another delightful turn in this book. I highly recommend this book as well as the others in the Andy Carpenter series if you enjoy a great read.
Loislovesbooks More than 1 year ago
I recently stumbled across Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter series, and promptly obtained all six books after reading the first one. This is a fun read, particularly after reading something much heavier as I do often. I like the way he develops his characters, and with only two left for me to read, I feel like I'm friends with most of the people in his plots. This series would make a good movie, and it would be interesting to see who would be picked to play Tara, his dog, who is obviously the star of the series! For those who like light mysteries from time to time, this is the book for you.
Woggie More than 1 year ago
I'm reading this book right now and it is very good can't wait to finish it, all the books I read of his are good book. I'm a dog lover and that makes this book more interesting to me.
NancyT More than 1 year ago
The author, David Rosenfelt, has a great style of writing. This made the story itself even better! Lots of mystery, fun, a little romance and a great dog. What more could you ask for?? By all means, read this book!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I saw the Golden on the cover and bought this book. It was my first by David Rosenfelt but won't be my last! I plan to read every one. His writing is engaging, hilarious and keeps you in suspense till the end. The goldens involved don't hurt!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read all of David Rosenfelt's books, and while 'Play Dead' was not my favorite, it is still witty, fun, and suspenseful.
Guest More than 1 year ago
While I did not think this book was as good as his previous books, you cannot not love Andy Carpenter, Tara, Laurie, Willie and all the other characters. His song talking with Sam, his silent 'bodyguard' Marcus, His do-nothing secretary Edna, his sarcastic cop friend Pete and Vince from the newspaper are so real you feel like you know people just like them. All together they make the book outstanding even if this one was slightly weak.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy this series and the main character, Andy. But this installment was not his best. It seemed to me that the ending was just too quick, too pat. I found myself wondering how solved it. Still an enjoyable read. If you are new to Mr. Rosenfelt, start at the beginning of the series. You will not be disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OliviainNJ on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Rosenfelt does New Jersey to a T. Attorney Andy Carpenter is a wise-cracking, dog-loving, not-very-brave guy who tries to be a misanthrope but deep down is a sweetheart of a guy. The plots are accessible but not simplistic, the characters are engaging, and you find yourself really caring about what happens. If you enjoy books featuring dogs or books set in New Jersey, don't miss this series.
nbmars on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is book #6 of the stand-up comedy/mystery/dog-related legal procedural series featuring lawyer Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever Tara.Andy is asked to save a golden retriever in the animal shelter ¿condemned¿ to ¿death row¿ since, in New Jersey, a dog which has bitten someone must be put down unless reprieved by the owner. But it is clear the alleged owner is abusive, and that this dog, named ¿Yogi,¿ is sweet and loving.Andy takes the case and saves Yogi, but ¿Yogi¿ turns out not to be ¿Yogi¿ at all, but ¿Reggie.¿ And that¿s just the beginning of a conspiracy involving false identity, bribery, smuggling, money laundering, and false imprisonment.Evaluation: Once again, Rosenfelt provides laugh-out-loud moments with a good legal procedural story. If you need a diverting book, you can do a lot worse than the Andy Carpenter series.Rating: 3.5/5Jim adds: This is the second Andy Carpenter book I have read, and I thoroughly enjoyed both. Sometimes when the main character is a lawyer, the author takes creative license with the rules of civil or criminal procedure to enhance the drama of the situation. That is always annoying to lawyers (at least to this one), but even though these books are more comedy than deep drama, Rosenfelt avoids that kind of error. In this book, it was especially difficult to avoid that kind of error since one of the dogs in the story had to "appear" in court to "testify." The judge's ruling to view the dog's behavior as a part of the proceedings is plausible, if not entirely probable. In all, a fun way to pass the time.
posthumose on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A crime-and-trial mystery in which a golden retriever plays an important role.The dog's part enhances what is already a solid suspense. Original elements. Recommended, even if dogs don't ring your chimes.
punxsygal on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lover of golden retrievers, Andy Carpenter saves one from a death sentence at the local pound by taking him on as a client on court. Coincidently, Reggie (the retriever) was the witness to a murder five years before. The roller coaster starts. I couldn't resist picking up this book just for the cover.
Tangen More than 1 year ago
murder, murder-investigation, conspiracy, contemporary, snarky, suspense Two trials, multiple deaths, governmental obfuscation, and a dog that appears and is later kidnapped. Very suspenseful and very good.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very good, suspenseful, convoluted mystery story! A great, fun read! I can hatdly wait to read the next one!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good story for the most part, but there seemed to be a lot of loose ends that weren't really explained.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this series. Bought the first book and I won't stop until I've read them all!,