The next novel in David Rosenfelt’s witty, heartfelt mystery series featuring lawyer Andy Carpenter and his faithful golden retriever, Tara.
Defense lawyer Andy Carpenter is reluctant to take on any more cases. He’d much rather spend his time working for his dog rescue organization, the Tara Foundation, than find himself back in a courtroom. However, when a truck carrying over seventy dogs from the South to the rescue-friendly northeast turns up with a murdered driver, Andy can’t help but get involved.
Andy is eager to help the dogs, many of whom come to the Tara Foundation while awaiting forever homes – it’s the man accused of murder who he has a problem defending. The accused just happens to be his wife Laurie’s ex-fiance; her tall, good looking, ex-Marine ex-fiance. Even with dozens of cases behind him, this one may prove to be his most difficult.
About the Author
DAVID ROSENFELT is the Edgar and Shamus Award-nominated author of several stand-alones and many Andy Carpenter novels, including Collared. He and his wife live in Maine with the twenty-seven golden retrievers that they've rescued.
Read an Excerpt
It wasn't the presence of the tractor trailer that caused John Paxos to take notice.
He was in a rest area off the Garden State Parkway near Paterson, New Jersey, and he figured that truck drivers needed to rest and use the bathroom like anyone else. There were truck stops nearby, but maybe this guy just couldn't wait.
The weird way it was parked, at an angle, struck Paxos as strange, but maybe the guy had to go really bad. There was no particular reason for him to park carefully; there was plenty of room. In fact, there were no other cars until Paxos arrived.
But a couple of other factors bothered him. When Paxos used the restroom, he didn't see anyone else in there. Maybe the driver was female? When he came out, he could hear that the engine in the truck was still running. That made no sense at all; he could just drive off with the truck if he wanted to. Fortunately for the careless driver, Paxos was a pharmacist, not a thief. And his passion was collecting vintage cars; the tractor trailer didn't quite fit the collection.
There was certainly the chance that the driver was in the back of the truck, maybe readjusting whatever it was he was hauling. Of course, that was it. Paxos was about to accept that and walk away, get back on the road, but something stopped him from doing so.
It was just a feeling, but it was a feeling that made him call out "Hello?" a few times, each time a bit louder than the time before it. But there was no response from the driver.
And that's when he heard the barking.
It wasn't just one dog; that much was certain. It seemed like there must have been an army of dogs in that truck; Paxos would later estimate the number at thirty and would be very low at that. What kind of a tractor trailer hauled dogs as cargo?
So he called out again, though against the sound of the barking, there was no way anyone could have heard him. But if the dogs had heard his earlier call, and the fact that it started the barking indicated they had, then a person in the truck should have heard it as well. Yet no one had responded.
Paxos couldn't just leave the rest stop, not with the dogs on the truck. It could be hot back there; at the very least he knew he had to call someone. Maybe local animal control or the police.
He decided on animal control, so he got them on the phone and told them what he knew, which wasn't much. He promised to wait for them; they said it would take ten minutes to get there.
But Paxos didn't want to tell them when they arrived that he hadn't even checked out the dogs on the truck, and he wanted to know what he was dealing with. So after a few minutes of thinking about it, he cautiously stepped up on to the truck and looked toward the sound of the barking.
And that's when he saw the blood.
"Andy, it's Ralph."
Caller ID had said "Private Caller," and I don't recognize the voice on the line. The only "Ralph" that comes to mind is Kramden, but I doubt that's who's calling me.
"Did you say Ralph?" I ask.
"Ralph ... Brandenberger. Andy, you have to get over here."
That clears it up. Ralph Brandenberger is the director of the Passaic County Animal Shelter. My friend Willie Miller and I run the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue organization named after my golden retriever, who is the greatest dog in the history of the universe. We often help Ralph out when his shelter is overcrowded by taking dogs and finding homes for them.
I don't know that I've ever talked to Ralph on the phone, which might be why his voice seems unfamiliar. But it's more than that; he sounds out of breath, and maybe even scared.
"You want me to come down to the shelter?" I ask.
"No, I'm at the rest stop on the Garden State, near Exit 156. Andy, it's awful ... please hurry."
I hear some people talking in the background, and Ralph says, "I can't talk now. They're telling me to move back. Please, Andy."
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.
My wife, Laurie, is out shopping with our son, Ricky, so I can't ask her to go with me. Instead I call Willie Miller, which comes with its own level of risk. Willie can be volatile, and when that volatility is combined with his expertise in karate, he can be extremely dangerous.
If there is a human identified with abusing a dog, and if Willie is within proximity of that human, it can get very ugly, very quickly. Willie is a bigger dog lunatic than I am, and that is saying something.
But I call him, and I tell him I'll pick him up at the foundation, since it's on the way. He's waiting outside when I pull up, and he spends the next ten minutes asking me questions that I can't answer. I look over and see that his fist is clenched into a ball; I'm sure he's painted a mental picture of a scene that includes an abused animal and an abuser that is within his reach.
"Take it easy, Willie," I say, a suggestion that has zero chance of having any impact whatsoever.
"I got this one," he says.
I don't know what he means by that, but I don't have time to ponder it. We get to the rest stop but can't pull in, because the entrance is blocked by police tape. The police tape, as it usually is, is guarded by police officers.
We park along the road and walk toward the tape, and an officer I don't recognize says, "You can't come in here."
"My name is Andy Carpenter. This is Willie Miller."
"That supposed to mean something?" He doesn't seem to be aware of my fame; from now on, I probably should carry my press clippings with me.
I see Ralph about twenty yards behind him; he has spotted us and is running toward us. "It's okay," he says to the officer. "They're with me."
The officer is less than impressed by this declaration. "Who the hell are you?"
"I'm the one who called you guys here."
It's a fascinating conversation, but my attention is drawn to another police officer I see. It's Pete Stanton, my closest and only friend in the Paterson Police Department.
Pete is a captain in charge of the homicide division, which makes this situation a whole lot more confusing and ominous. The homicides he investigates are of the human variety, so any incident that involves both Ralph and Pete indicates a puzzling mixture of species.
Pete seems to moan when he sees me; the fact that we are close friends does not insulate me from his disdain for defense attorneys. But he walks over to us and tells the officer that he will handle the situation.
"You here for the dogs, or looking to drum up another client?"
"I have no idea why I'm here. Ralph called me."
Ralph nods. "About the dogs."
"What's going on?"
"We have a truckload of dogs and a murder victim," Pete says.
"Who's the victim?" I ask.
He frowns. "You worry about the dogs." Then he turns to the officer guarding the perimeter and says, "You can let them in. If he starts to act like a defense attorney, you have my permission to shoot him."
Pete walks back to what must be the murder scene, leaving Ralph, Willie, and me alone.
"What's the situation?" I say.
"Andy, you're not going to believe it."
"There are sixty-one dogs in the truck," Ralph says. "According to the records, the guy was bringing them up from down South. You know, to be rescued."
I do know what he's talking about. The unwanted animal situation in the Northeast is light-years better than down South, and hundreds of dogs are taken out of the great danger of euthanasia and brought up here every year. Most of the dogs are taken to New England; I don't yet know the destination of this truck.
"What kind of dogs?"
"All kinds. I didn't get much of a chance to look. The guy who called me told me there was a body, but as soon as I saw it, I ran out of the truck. Dead bodies give me the creeps. But I definitely saw a few seniors, and a golden retriever mother with a bunch of puppies."
"Let's get them off of there," Willie says in his first verbal contribution to the situation.
Ralph shakes his head. "They said we can't. Something about evidence."
"Bullshit," Willie says. "Those dogs are coming off that truck."
"Let me talk to Pete," I say and head over to where he is standing.
Pete is talking to a couple of detectives, both of whom I have previously successfully attacked in cross-examination on the witness stand. So the greeting I get from the group does not feel warm and welcoming.
"Now what?" Pete says, sneering. He doesn't want to show his subordinates that he has anything less than total disdain for this annoying and intruding defense attorney. Showing hatred for me goes a long way toward earning respect in the department.
"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?" I ask. "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."
He points out to me that they are looking for any possible trace evidence but certainly don't expect to find any. He estimates that it will take a few hours.
"A few hours? You might want to walk them, or it might get a little unpleasant in there. And they might just piss all over your trace evidence."
He hadn't thought of that, and the prospect causes him to revise his estimate to about an hour.
I drive Willie and Ralph over to a rental car place about five minutes away, and Willie's wife, Sondra, meets us there. We rent three large vans that we can use to transport the dogs once they are released by the police.
Sondra calls a bunch of people who occasionally volunteer for our foundation. Their activities generally consist simply of walking, petting, and loving the dogs, all of which is much appreciated. Sondra reports that they will meet us at the foundation when we arrive.
Pete's estimate of one hour proves to be twenty minutes off, and the dogs are getting pretty uncomfortable by the time we get them off the truck. We give each of them a quick walk before loading them into the vans, a process which takes another hour. All of this has to be stressful for them, but they're handling it well.
The dogs are in all shapes, sizes, and ages. The golden retriever looks positively grateful when we take her puppies from her; they've obviously been driving her crazy. Little does she know that she'll be reunited with them very soon.
Sondra has gone back to the foundation building, and she and the volunteers are waiting for us when Ralph, Willie, and I arrive in the vans with the dogs.
Sondra is an unbelievable organizer and planner; if she had been in charge of D-day, by sundown the Allies would have been slurping snow cones on the beach. In record time, all sixty-one dogs are walked, fed, and comfortably placed on beds in their runs.
The foundation is in a building that used to be an ice-skating rink, so we have a lot of space. We wanted it that way, thinking that one day there might be some earthquake, flood, or other disaster that could result in a lot of pets becoming homeless. A shooting at a highway rest stop was not one of the potential disasters that we'd envisioned.
Willie and Sondra will stay at the foundation tonight in case the new dogs need tending to; we have a bedroom set up for them. Our vet will be in tomorrow morning to examine the newcomers, and we'll meet to plan our next steps.
I've called Laurie a few times to update her on what is going on, and now I call to tell her I'll be on the way home. "I'm just going to stop at the market to pick up a couple of things."
"Don't," she says. "Please come straight home."
It's a strange thing to say, made stranger by the tone in which she says it. "Why? What's going on?"
"Just come home, Andy. There's someone here I want you to talk to."
"Can't discuss it now. Just come straight home, please."
I cannot imagine who could be there or what this could be about. That doesn't stop me from attempting to imagine those things all the way home, an effort which proves futile. The odds of Laurie not being able to talk about something and having it be a good thing are pretty small, so at this point what I'm hoping for is the avoidance of a disaster. And whatever bad thing it is, I hope it doesn't involve Ricky.
There's a car in our driveway that I don't recognize; my keen deductive skills tell me it belongs to the person Laurie couldn't talk in front of. There are no revealing bumper stickers on it that might tell me the type of person it is or the identity of the owner, so if I want to find out, I can either break into the car and glove compartment or just walk into the house. It's a tough call, because I don't like breaking into cars, but I have a vague dread of walking into that house.
But at the end of the day, I am Andy Carpenter, courageous to the end, so I walk in.
Laurie is coming out of the den to meet me in the front hallway as I enter.
"What's going on?" I ask. "Who's here?"
I should have broken into the car.
Dave Kramer is Laurie's ex-boyfriend.
That in itself would make him my hated nemesis.
But it's worse than that.
It was a serious relationship; it lasted almost two years.
But it's worse than that.
He broke up with her.
Besides the obvious fact that breaking up with Laurie makes him the single dumbest human being on the face of the earth, so dumb that he should be watered twice a day, I don't have much more information about him. I know he was once a cop and then a private investigator, and I know Laurie also briefly worked for him after she left the police force.
But that's where my knowledge ends, because Laurie has refused to answer my questions about him. It's possible she took that position because those questions were usually accompanied by my whimpering and moaning, or maybe because they were intrusive and obnoxious. But either way, I soon learned that Dave Kramer was always going to live almost exclusively in my imagination.
Apparently until today.
"Dave Kramer?" I ask, possibly hoping that I misheard her. Maybe she said another name that rhymes with Dave Kramer, like Brave Flamer or Knave Shamer. Maybe I should go break into the car to check.
She nods. "Dave Kramer."
"Are you leaving me?"
"Andy ...," she says, frustration in her voice.
"We're married," she says. "I'd have to get a lawyer, and —"
I interrupt. "I won't represent you in the divorce. And I'll use all my legal brilliance to leave you broken and penniless. You'll be ostracized and humiliated; telemarketers won't take your calls."
"Andy ..." This time the frustration is mixed with annoyance. "Come in and talk to him."
"Just tell me why he came to see you."
"He didn't. He came to see you."
This comes as a big surprise, but not big enough to shake me into maturity. "Is he going to ask me for your hand?"
This time she doesn't even bother to answer; she just turns and walks back into the kitchen. I know I'm supposed to follow her, but I don't want to. Unfortunately, running away is really not an option, because I live here. And if I hide under the couch, she'll find me.
So I go in and there he is, sitting at my kitchen table, drinking my coffee, and petting my Tara. Tara's got a smile on her face, totally unconcerned that she is showing herself to be a traitor. This, Tara, is the unkindest cut of all.
Our basset hound, Sebastian, sits at the enemy's feet, waiting his turn. I see betrayal everywhere I look.
"Andy, this is Dave Kramer. Dave, Andy."
He gets up to shake my hand, and by that, I mean he really gets up. He's got to be six four; he sort of unfolds as he stands. Since I'm five eleven when wearing two pairs of thick socks, I have to reach up to execute the shake. I hate shaking hands uphill.
I don't usually form opinions about men's looks, but I'm forced to admit that Kramer is good-looking by conventional standards. Of course, I've never been a fan of conventional standards. My own looks are quirky good, and quirky good is the standard I've always adhered to.
"What's going on?" I ask, an open-ended question designed to get this to go wherever it's going in a hurry.
"Laurie and I have been catching up," he says.
"Isn't that nice," I say, which draws a silent, facial reproach from Laurie. I don't know how she does it, but her silent reproaches can be deafening.
"But I came to talk to you," Kramer says. "I'm afraid I might be using my friendship with Laurie to further that end."
I don't respond, because I have nothing to say; he's going to get to wherever this is going, and there's no sense slowing him down.
"I want to hire you as my attorney."
"Laurie says you've unsuccessfully retired at least six times."
"This is lucky seven." Then, "Why do you need representation?"
"There was a killing today. A man driving a truckful of dogs was shot and killed inside that truck at a rest stop on the Garden State Parkway. But Laurie tells me you know about it already."
I nod. "I spent the last four hours there, at the scene."
"The police either think I killed the guy, or if they don't yet, they're going to. They will then arrest me."
"Why would they think that?" I ask.
"Because I killed him."(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Rescued"
Copyright © 2018 Tara Productions, Inc..
Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
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.
Table of Contents
Also by David Rosenfelt,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
A really great, thrilling storyljne. I've thoroughly enjoyed every book in this series !!!!
I loved this book it is so so awesome I recamend this book to everyone who loves dogs. I personly think that it is the best book on earth but you won't know till you read it!!!!!!!!!
Amazing book. The suspense continues until the end and leaves you on the end of your seat. Truly amazing.
My dog Bonnie says hi to Tara!
I love this series.
As good as he has ever done
“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.
RESCUED......IT'S A WINNER! If you're an animal lover, you'll love David Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter series too for there is NOTHING Andy hates worse in the world than "animals being hurt, injured or abused." Oh, and Willie....."If there is a human identified with abusing a dog, and Willie is in proximity of that human, it can get very ugly, very quickly." Willie is a past death row client of Andy's....conviction overturned....who now works for him at his Tara Dog Rescue Foundation. His expertise in karate....that's a bonus. Back to Andy......Besides being the animal lover that he is, Andy is married to the love of his life, Laurie....retired police officer (long story there) and noted to be an absolutely brilliant defense attorney. Independently wealthy from inheritance (and lucrative cases), Andy has a witty, smart ass, funny as hell, sense of humor....(that I personally love)....is a royal pain in the ass to those who get in his way and utterly enjoys long walks....and long conversations with golden retriever Tara who he touts as "the greatest dog in the history of the universe." This series has a wonderful cast of crazy-good repeat characters (don't worry, won't list them all) but I must at least mention Marcus....scary Marcus....tacit Marcus....avoid if you want to remain in one piece Marcus. One of my favorites! RESCUED is a good one with, literally, a truck load of dogs and a client Andy would have preferred to have NEVER met. Dam near read this in one sitting...it's that good!
The storyline was reminiscent of other books in the series and seemed a bit stale.
Everyone’s favourite lawyer/smartass Andy Carpenter is happily avoiding his career when he gets 2 phone calls. First, it seems there’s a truck containing 70 dogs & 1 dead driver parked at a rest stop. Second, get home now. Andy arrives home to find his wife chatting with Dave Kramer. Or as Andy thinks of him, “Laurie’s-tall-dark-and-handsome-ex-fiance” Dave Kramer. And he has quite a story to tell. Yes, he was in the truck & yes, he killed the driver. But he swears it was self defence & wants Andy to represent him. And to Andy’s chagrin, he believes him. Damn. Ok, it seems pretty straight forward. But then we meet Rodgers & Brady. And suddenly there’s nothing clear about what happened, who did it or why. Aaaand…they’re off. Much to “Office Manager” Edna’s disgust, it’s time to get the team back together. Hike, Sam, Willie & of course, Marcus…the scariest dude in New Jersey. As always, there’s a smart mystery with plenty of twists in the pages ahead as the case takes off in directions no one saw coming. And you’ll finally get an answer to that age old question: what do a robotics CEO & a donut king have in common? It’s a wild ride as Andy tries to figure out what the hell is going on while setting aside time to annoy cop/buddy Pete Stanton. In this outing, we catch a rare glimpse of the deep bond between these 2 men : Pete: It’s the third time I helped you on this case. Andy: *nods* I know. Pete: If you tell anyone that I did, I will chop you up into little pieces & feed you to rabid coyotes. Andy: That’s beautiful, Pete. I’ve never felt closer to you than I feel right now. And that’s what what makes these books a guaranteed great read. It’s the winning combination of smart & funny that this author rolls out each time. The laughs help you catch your breath as the tension rises in the final pages. The conspiracy that unrolls here costs lives but what’s really alarming is how deceptively simple & conceivable it is. It’s an entertaining & fast paced read that’s sure to be a hit with fans of this series.