cover image SUDDEN DEATH


David Rosenfelt, . . Mysterious, $23.95 (306pp) ISBN 978-0-89296-783-4

Edgar-finalist Rosenfelt scores another touchdown with his fourth Andy Carpenter novel (after 2004's Bury the Lead ) and proves he's in the game to stay. Andy's first-person wit seizes the reader's attention on the opening page: "I'm in Los Angeles. I'm not sure why I've never been here before. I certainly haven't had any preconceived notions about the place, other than the fact that the people here are insincere, draft-dodging, drug-taking, money-grubbing, breast-implanting, out-of-touch, pâté-eating, pompous, Lakers-loving, let's do-lunching, elitist scumbags." Rosenfelt then switches expectations for a Hollywood hoe-down by calling lawyer Andy back to his New Jersey stomping grounds, straight into a high-stakes crime scene. Troy Preston is one very dead Jets wide receiver, and Kenny Schilling, a gun-toting New York Giants running back, is holed up in his Upper Saddle River house with Preston's body. After Schilling is arrested for Preston's murder, Andy reluctantly agrees to defend the athlete as a favor to a friend, but soon his investigation turns up other suspects, putting his own life in jeopardy. Satirical in some places, oddly grim in others, this wise-cracking legal thriller with its angst-ridden everyman hero manages to be sweet and humane. Agent, Robin Rue. 4-city author tour. (May 10)