“Deck the Hounds” by David Rosenfelt is the newest mystery in the brilliant “Andy Carpenter” series, and it’s perfect for reading during the holiday season. It’s also perfect for reading after the holiday season since in the story, the holiday season lasts until late into winter.
As the self-styled curmudgeon Andy Carpenter complains at the thought of extending the holiday cheer, this novel is filled with Rosenfelt’s signature self-deprecating humor and witty repartee. The story begins as usual. Andy Carpenter, wealthy and happy rescuing dogs, gives some money and a dog store gift card to a homeless man who has a dog. Later, the dog attacks someone who tries to attack the homeless man and is taken away to animal control. When Andy’s wife Laurie finds out that the man lost his dog and is staying outside in the freezing cold during the holidays, she insists that he come and stay in the apartment they have over their garage, and that Andy help him get back his dog.
When the newspapers write about the homeless man whose dog bit an attacker, police realize that the man is wanted for the murder of a very wealthy businessman a year prior. Don Carrigan, the homeless man who is also a veteran, denies the murder. Carpenter, who is happiest when he’s not practicing law but rather watching sporting events, is persuaded to defend Carrigan.
What follows is pure Rosenfelt as he creates characters who seem to be related and completely unrelated to Carrigan’s plight. The returning cast of characters, including the deadly but decidedly taciturn Marcus, add to the fun. Of course, it all comes together at the end with a fabulous twist that most readers will not suspect.
While this book would be lovely for new Rosenfelt fans, the previous many books in the Andy Carpenter series are so wonderful and filled with the backstory of Andy, Laurie, and their son Ricky that readers should definitely consider starting with the first one, “Open and Shut,” and work their way through all the humorous, action-filled mysteries. Enjoy each and every dog that gets saved in the stories and know that in real life, Rosenfelt is just as nuts about animals as Andy Carpenter is. Tara is a real golden retriever, and in real life, Rosenfelt and his wife have saved hundreds, if not thousands, of senior dogs in memory of this fabulous dog. The Andy Carpenter series reflects his love of dogs, and dog lovers love the stories.
Happy reading and happy holidays!
Please note: This review is based on the final, hardcover book provided by Minotaur Books, the publisher, for review purposes.