‘Unleashed’ by David Rosenfelt: Another mystery/comedy masterpiece


Rating: 5 stars

David Rosenfelt’s “Unleashed,’ the eleventh in the Andy Carpenter Mystery series, is, we are happy to announce, just like the first ten. Terrific.

This time, Andy, the unwilling but extraordinarily able criminal defense attorney, once again gives up his preferred lifestyle of wealth and leisure to take on the impossible-looking defense of an accused murderer.

In “Unleashed,” it is an apparent murderess, Denise Price, who appears to have done away with her very rich husband Barry by expertly botoxing him into oblivion. He pilots (in this case un-pilots) his private jet into a fatal crash because he is rendered unconscious by the lethal dose of botox he has ingested.

Denise is a former nurse who knows how to administer poisons. She and Barry have been unhappy together for years and have had terrible arguments in public. She is quite attractive and quite willing to use her looks to manipulate men. It looks like an open-and-shut case. So of course, Andy Carpenter decides to defend her.

Andy is urged to do so by his long-time friend, accountant, and official computer hacker, Sam Willis (who appears in all the books in the series). But Sam may have some ulterior motives (though certainly not evil ones) for persuading Andy to defend Denise. He has had a crush on her since their high school days together. And Sam is going to get very involved — with the case and with Denise. Way TOO involved.

Meanwhile, the parallel plot, the one with a third person narrator (Andy always tells most of his own stories), features a suspenseful and exciting evil plan to commit a 9/11-type series of simultaneous murders of high-profile Americans.

Oh yes, the title. Of course, there is a very important dog, too. Wouldn’t be Andy and wouldn’t be Rosenfelt without it.

Now, the real perplexing question is, How does Rosenfelt manage to construct such clever and complex plots, tie them all together, make you love Andy more with every novel, and bombard you with non-stop humor, all at the same time? Only Rosenfelt can pull off that kind of quadruple-play. His is an absolutely unique mystery/comedy talent. Do not miss “Unleashed.” Don’t miss any of them.

Please note: This review is based on the hardcover book provided by the publisher, Minotaur Books, for review purposes.