Clever plot twists, deft legal maneuverings and keen wit boost Rosenfelt's accomplished follow-up to his Edgar-nominated debut, Open and Shut (2002). Newly wealthy and no longer in need of cases to sustain his legal practice, Paterson, N.J., attorney Andy Carpenter is free to pick and choose his clients. The glib, amiable Andy certainly would not choose the character who comes into his office confessing to the grisly murder of corrupt police officer Alex Dorsey. The bad end of a bad cop has almost endless ramifications. After successfully dealing with one complication arising from this surprising visit, Andy is faced with an even worse one when his lover, PI Laurie Collins, winds up accused of Dorsey's murder. As the net of overwhelming circumstantial evidence tightens around Laurie during the judicial process, every lead Andy and his team pursue seems to result in either a death or a dead end. The author adroitly maintains a fast pace while switching gears effortlessly between the courtroom and the investigation. As satisfying as the nuts and bolts of the case are, it's the sheer likability of Andy and the odd assortment of his friends and staff that lifts the story from merely enjoyable to genuinely delightful. Rosenfelt should win a unanimous verdict: first-rate. (May 14)
Forecast:On the heels of strong reviews for the author's first novel, plus blurbs from Harlan Coben and Donald E. Westlake, this Mystery Guild Featured Alternate should garner even better sales than those for Open and Shut.