Avid Series Reader's Reviews > Open and Shut

Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt
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Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt is the first book of the Andy Carpenter legal mystery series set in contemporary New Jersey. Andy Carpenter is a criminal defense attorney, son of Nelson Carpenter, retired District Attorney. Shortly before his death, Andy's father implores Andy to take on an appeal for a death-row inmate. Willie Miller has been imprisoned for murder 7 years. Nelson had prosecuted the case and won, but he recently learned that a juror perjured herself in voir dire.

The case always seemed "open and shut". An eyewitness saw Willie bending over a body in an alley behind a bar. His fingerprints are on the knife that killed the woman (a reporter); police found him in the alley in a drunken stupor. Willie cannot remember what happened that night.

Andy lives alone with his beloved golden retriever Tara, rescued on her last day at the animal shelter. Separated from his wife, daughter of a wealthy Senator, he respects and admires his resourceful private investigator Laurie, and their professional relationship may blossom into romance.

Andy is shocked to inherit 22 million from his father. It started with a single 2-million-dollar investment, never touched since. Searching through his father's papers for an explanation, all he can find is a decades-old photograph of his father and 3 other men, no other clues.

Defending Willie is a tremendous uphill battle.Trial preparation time is too short for all the research needed. In addition to a frantic scramble to be ready for trial, Andy also attempts to investigate who is in his father's photograph, and why it was taken. Meanwhile, his wife returns to his home, and "makes nice". Andy is stretched too thin to do his best on each effort.

Turns out the photograph is the key to the events that led to the reporter's death. As Andy uncovers layer upon layer of secrets, he's repeatedly attacked and warned to stop investigating. Seems clear his wife set him up for a sniper attack - but she gets shot instead. Andy doesn't suspect her return presence in his life....his misplaced sympathy for his wife endangers his relationship with Laurie.

It takes all of Andy's skill - and plenty of research - to discover the truth about the murder, as well as courage to prevail against the conspiracy to keep it hidden. Plenty of humor, suspense, and effective stunts in the courtroom make for an enjoyable page-turner.
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