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One Dog Night (Andy Carpenter) by David Rosenfelt
Cover Artist: Photo: Dog by Joop Snider Jr. / Shutterstock
Review by Joseph B. Hoyos
Minotaur Books Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780312647995
Date: 05 July 2011 List Price $24.99 Amazon US / Amazon UK

Links: Author's Website / Show Official Info /

Former drug addict Noah Galloway is accused of using napalm to incinerate a New Jersey apartment building in order to kill the drug dealers who refused to do business with him. Twenty-six people died in the conflagration. Andy Carpenter defends Noah in court because Noah once saved the life of Andy's golden retriever, Tara. Noah admits to setting the fire even though he has no memory of committing the crime. When people involved in the fire investigation begin dying, Andy and his associates uncover a vast conspiracy that will destroy many lives and jeopardize national security.

Having read two of David Rosenfelt's highly enjoyable standalone thrillers, On Borrowed Time and Down to the Wire, I feared that my first Andy Carpenter novel, One Dog Night, would be a disappointment. I was very wrong. This novel surpassed my expectations. If anything, it was more exciting, more humorous and more endearing than his standalone mysteries. I find his novels far-fetched, but that is why they are called works of fiction. If you want reality, watch the news. Nevertheless, I read One Dog Night in only two days.

My primary reason for not being able to put this novel aside was its strange, quirky, lovable cast of characters. Chief among them is defense attorney Andy Carpenter. I want to be just like him. Independently wealthy from a large inheritance and winning several high profile cases, he doesn't have to work. He created the Tara Foundation which has found good homes for nearly 3,000 stray dogs. A humorous man, he pokes fun at everyday peculiarities such as the fake "good mornings" on Good Morning America and people who waste time updating their Facebook accounts with mundane activities of little significance. Most importantly, he sticks his neck out to help people. He best sums up his attitude by saying, "I see injustice and I need to right the wrong."

One Dog Night contains a lot of courtroom drama. However, thanks to Andy's witty humor, it is never boring. He makes witnesses for the prosecution look like fools. He keeps emphasizing the importance of convincing the jurors that his client is innocent. Finding intelligent jurors can be nearly impossible -- as many cases in the news seems to indicate.

Members of Andy's team include his beautiful, live-in girlfriend Laurie Collins; a former detective, she is his private investigator. Marcus Clark is a humongous, Neanderthal who is Andy's hired muscle; seldom speaking, the sushi-loving giant merely grunts. Eddie "Hike" Lynch is an attorney who is Andy's legal assistant; he is a perpetually pessimistic downer who believes the world will soon be coming to an end and expresses his fears about rodents, bacteria, and other everyday, common hazards. Sam Willis is an accountant on the books; off the books, he is a computer hacker who employs a group of senior citizens from the YMHA to help him trace phone calls made from a cell phone obtained from a dead mobster. Sam has an incurable itch to shoot someone. Andy also relies on help from his best friend Pete Stanton, a lieutenant in the Patterson Police Department, who has been investigating the arson fire.

David Rosenfelt's One Dog Night is a must read for fans of action-packed, suspenseful mysteries. This one has a high body count, gruesome murders, shootouts, fires, explosions, and a wide assortment of villains who include crooked politicians, law enforcement officers, and mobsters. The plot contains quite a few shocks and twists. Also, most importantly, there is some emotional human drama that filled my eyes with tears. The interview of sole survivor, Antonio Esperanza, who jumped from a window while his mom and two sisters perished, was very sad. I give this fast-paced novel the highest rating for its action, suspense, humor, human drama, romance and for its love of dogs. I will most definitely be reading the next Andy Carpenter mystery.

Those who enjoyed reading One Dog Night may also want to read Douglas Corleone's Night on Fire. On the Hawaiian island of Oahu, Kevin Corvelli must defend Erin Simms who is accused of setting fire to a luxury hotel in order to kill her husband Trevor. Unfortunately, Trevor and ten other people die in the flames. Like One Dog Night, this novel has a tremendous amount of witty humor, suspense and courtroom drama. There is also the emotional pain of a four-year-old boy, Josh, who has lost his grandmother in the hotel fire.

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