OUTFOXED by David Rosenfelt

July 21, 2016
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An Andy Carpenter Novel, Book 14

David Rosenfelt has written many successful novels featuring defense lawyer Andy Carpenter. There are a large number of similarities in the books; Andy has inherited a great deal of money so he does not have any pressing need nor does he really want to work. He loves dogs and his first love is sharing a business with Willie Miller, a man that he saved from execution by the state. Their business is rescuing dogs and setting them up with qualified owners. He is in love with Laurie, who was once with the police, still shares a lot of contacts, and is now married to Andy plus sharing an adopted son. He maintains an office manned by a secretary who devotes her time to doing crossword puzzles and little else.

With the above factors appearing in every Andy Carpenter book and all books leading to a trial for a where Andy must prove someone innocent, in spite of the odds against them, is what makes them so popular and keeps us going back for more. Surely one thing is the tongue-in-check approach to the characters. But most of all are the little changes involved in each novel.

During one of the many lulls in Andy’s legal work, he and his partner Willie, have come up with a plan to train dogs for prisoners in the hope that they will adopt them when released from prison. Brian Atkins, completing a five year sentence, is helping with a fox terrier named Boomer, and they hope he will adopt the dog upon release. But, and this is the but that really begins an Andy Carpenter novel, one day Andy comes to the prison and finds that Brian has utilized Boomer in a unique escape plan. The next day the man that Brian claimed had framed him is murdered, and the Carpenter brigade finds itself involved with a new client, and the need to keep Boomer.

David Rosenfelt does it again. The novel keeps the reader engrossed, and at the end satisfied, and impatiently awaiting the next Andy Carpenter book. As usual very well done.

7/16 Paul Lane

OUTFOXED by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books (July 19, 2016).  ISBN 978-1250055347.  336p.


CHASING JUSTICE by H. Terrell Griffin

September 3, 2015
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Matt Royal is a retired attorney and self proclaimed beach bum, enjoying his comfortable life on Longboat Key off the west coast of Florida, except he comes out of retirement for each book – and this is the ninth – of the series.

This time the police chief’s wife, Abby Lester, is accused of murder. The best way to keep Abby out of jail would be to find the real killer, so Royal hires an investigator to help out. The evidence is shaky at best; a wine glass found bedside with Abbey’s fingerprints on it, and a series of emails, supposedly signed by Abby, sent to the victim, including one on his last day on earth threatening to kill him, except the emails weren’t sent from her computer, and her fingerprints are nowhere else in the apartment.

Royal’s detective girlfriend is working on a different murder case, but you don’t have to be a detective to realize these two murders are related somehow. Royal stumbles through the case, leaping over every hurdle thrown his way until the foregone conclusion. A comfortable, if not exciting read for legal thriller fans.

Copyright ©2015 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

9/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

CHASING JUSTICE by H. Terrell Griffin.  Oceanview Publishing (September 1, 2015).  ISBN 978-1608091416. 384p.


THE UNYIELDING FUTURE by Brian O’Grady

September 2, 2015
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Brian O’Grady brings his readers into a world that introduces the concept of forces that act as Yang and Yin in the course of human events. They can prevent massacres, on the other hand arrange for murders and guide the actions of humans. These are not just abstract entities, but humans, long lived, 2 thousand year old humans that can interact with normal people if they so wish.

O’Grady puts a doctor and his family into the paths of two of these entities when they are part of a major accident and a seemingly old man arrives on the scene. In spite of what appears to be advanced age and consequent weakness this individual saves many lives and appears normal once the deed is accomplished.

The novel is both perplexing and enticing. What is the motivation of these people since there is more than one.  Are they truly the Yang and Yin of our world representing opposite reactions to events, or they are part of the same following similar patterns and drives. The answers are not so clear but do cause  thinking that might admit that such forces exist and influence events. A compelling read and certainly stimulating a desire to read more of Brian O’Grady’s books.

9/15 Paul Lane

THE UNYIELDING FUTURE by Brian O’Grady. Story Plant, The (September 8, 2015). ISBN: 978-1611882162. 350p.


THE PROFESSOR by Robert Bailey

August 21, 2015
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In an afterword of the book, Bailey writes a tribute to Paul “Bear” Bryant, world class football coach at the University of Alabama. While he did not play for Bryant, known as the “man,” Bailey echoes the adoration many have for him. The novel begins when Tom McMurtrie who played for Bryant and a brilliant law graduate in his own right accepts a position with a major law firm. Prepared to begin work for that firm he is approached by “The Man” who strongly suggests that Tom take a position at the law school of U of Alabama as a teacher.

With the faith Tom has for Bryant he does accept the teaching position and spends the next 40 years as a Professor of Law. A change in personnel at the executive level of the school causes Tom to be pushed out of his position and at the same time find out that he is suffering from cancer.

Bitter and angry at the fate that pushed him to the sidelines he passes on a case offered to him. The young family of a friend of his has been killed in a truck-car accident and Tom feels impelled to offer the case to a former student of his, Rick Drake. There is some bad blood between the two since Tom had prevented Rick from receiving a job offer that would have been the making of his legal career.

Rick does accept the case and while working it finds that the facts are muddled by the trucking company owning the vehicle involved in the accident. They resort to arson, murder, bribery and greed to disguise the truth of the matter. A pertinent factor for the trucking company is an impending extremely advantageous merger that would be cancelled if a lawsuit was successfully filed against them.

In a fast and engrossing read, the main portion of the book involving the trial of the trucking company is described and the reader treated to an excellent plot and a look at the characters, good and bad, involved in the process of the legal proceedings. The book is the first of a series of legal novels about the prospective law firm of McMurtrie and Drake. These should be well worth the wait.

8/15 Paul Lane

THE PROFESSOR by Robert Bailey. Exhibit A (January 28, 2014). ISBN: 978-1909223585. 416p.


RUBBERNECKER by Belinda Bauer

August 12, 2015
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Patrick has Asperger’s Syndrome, and his mother handles it by drinking. While still very young, his father is killed by a hit and run driver, and Patrick becomes obsessed by death, bringing home dead animals for dissection, bound and determined to learn what happens after death.

He never does, but that doesn’t stop his trying; his disability gets him admission into a college anatomy class. There he works with a team of medical students dissecting Corpse 19; their task is to determine a cause of death, but Patrick soon realizes that this corpse was, in fact, murdered, but no one will listen to him.

In a concurrent story, life in the coma ward at a hospital takes a deadly turn when a doctor is witnessed murdering a patient by another coma patient who cannot talk.

Readers who loved “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time” by Mark Haddon may find satisfaction here on a more gristly and adult level. I did.

Copyright ©2015 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

8/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

RUBBERNECKER by Belinda Bauer.  Atlantic Monthly Press (August 4, 2015).  ISBN 978-0802123961. 320p.


WHO LET THE DOG OUT? by David Rosenfelt

July 22, 2015
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An Andy Carpenter Novel (Book 13)

Andy Carpenter is a very wealthy man due to a large inheritance and is also a lawyer. He works at the law as little as possible as his interests lie mainly in his partnership with Willie Miller. In a previous book, Andy had saved Willie from death row and proved his innocence. The two formed the Tara Foundation, which is involved with saving dogs.

Willie calls Andy and tells him that there has been a break in at the foundation. It turns out that the only thing missing is a rescue dog they named Cheyenne. With the help of a chip that is placed in the body of all dogs, they have Cheyenne traced to a location in downtown Paterson, New Jersey.  When Willie and Andy go to that location they find the dog, and a dead body of someone obviously recently and brutally murdered.

The two notify the police and take Cheyenne back to the Tara Foundation thinking that their part is now over. But Andy’s curiosity keeps him looking at the case, and when the police arrest a man named Tommy Infante and charge him with the murder, Andy has his doubts. He takes Infante on as a client and in looking for evidence to clear him finds that the murder is just one cog in a much larger and more dangerous wheel.

The story is told in first person by Andy Carpenter and showcases the wise cracking personality he has. His wife Laurie helps with advice. The usual associates are there – his secretary who is practicing for a crossword puzzle tournament and Marcus, a man of very few words but the ability to take care of the physical work. He also has contacts that help him with the local police and the FBI.

Each of the Andy Carpenter books is an enjoyable treat into some brilliant legal work coupled with a lot of humor, and the presence of dogs. All are fast reading and keeps the reader awaiting the next one in the series.

7/15 Paul Lane

WHO LET THE DOG OUT? by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books (July 21, 2015). ISBN: 978-1250055330. 336p.


GRAY MOUNTAIN by John Grisham

January 2, 2015

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I used to love John Grisham. The Firm, A Time to Kill, The Pelican Brief were all favorites. I also loved the non-legal books like Playing for Pizza, Calico Joe and A Painted House. But somewhere along the way, I lost patience with the legal thrillers, especially when the main characters, generally well educated lawyers, started doing incredibly stupid stuff. I stopped reading them, tried again with The Litigators because my library patrons raved about it, but again found the main character too stupid to live. I gave up. Then came Gray Mountain.

I heard it may be the first book of a series, and I liked the environmental angle so I picked it up and read it in a day (okay, I was on vacation.) I loved it. Welcome back to my reading circle, Mr. Grisham.

The story revolves around Samantha Kofer, a Columbia Law School grad with a great six-figure job for one of the behemoth law firms on Wall Street. And then there was Lehman Brothers and the financial crisis and all those big law firms started cutting and cutting. Samantha got a good deal – she could take a one year furlough, do some good work pro bono, keep her medical benefits and maybe, just maybe, after the year is up she might get her job back.

The pro bono jobs were going fast; Samantha received nine rejection letters in her first day of applying. Until she heard from the Mountain Legal Aid Clinic in Brady, Virginia, a small town in the Appalachia’s. And so she moved to Virginia, at least temporarily, to work at the all girl clinic.

For the first time, Samantha likes her work and feels useful. She actually gets to help people and they appreciate her help. Until her first black lung case – a huge problem with all the mining in Appalachia. When she finds evidence that the coal company and their lawyers hid evidence, people start dying.

I learned a lot about coal mining today and what the miners go through, none of it good. I really liked these characters and the setting, and the stupidity was left to minor characters, a much welcome change. I would love to read more about Samantha and her life in Brady and hope the rumors about a series come to pass.

1/15 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

GRAY MOUNTAIN by John Grisham. Doubleday; First Edition edition (October 21, 2014). ISBN 978-0385537148. 384p.


THE PERFECT MOTHER by Nina Darnton

December 3, 2014

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Emma Lewis is the perfect daughter; bright, pretty, and she also has a big heart. The Princeton sophomore moves to Spain for a semester abroad and halfway through makes the call home that is every parent’s nightmare; a young man from a prominent Spanish family has been stabbed to death in her apartment, and Emma is the prime suspect.

She concocts a tale in a pathetic attempt to protect her drug dealer boyfriend, and her mother flies in to stand by her daughter, refusing to doubt a word of it. Her father, an attorney, knows she is lying but wants to protect her, and he hires a private detective and attorney to help clear her name.

The story becomes a media frenzy, the stress is playing havoc on her parent’s marriage, and slowly the truth begins to emerge and her mother has to face the fact that Emma is not the same girl who left home. The changing relationships in this devastated family ring true, especially as the mystery is slowly revealed.

If you were glued to Nancy Grace during the Amanda Knox trials, the obvious inspiration for this story, this is the book for you.

Copyright ©2014 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

12/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE PERFECT MOTHER by Nina Darnton. Plume (November 25, 2014). ISBN 978-0142196731. 240p.


BETRAYED by Lisa Scottoline

November 25, 2014

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A Rosato & Associates Novel

After taking a few years off to write standalones, Scottoline relaunched her popular Rosato & Associates series in 2013 with Accused, and continues here with Betrayed.

Judy Carrier’s best friend, Mary DiNunzio, has been made partner and is planning her wedding, and Judy is feeling a bit out of sorts about it all. Her live-in boyfriend Frank is driving her crazy, leaving her to wonder about a future with him.

When her Aunt Barb is diagnosed with breast cancer, Judy has to deal with that and her deteriorating relationship with her mother. Aunt Barb’s closest friend is a Mexican illegal immigrant who dies of an apparent heart attack, but Judy finds her death suspicious, especially after finding a large stash of money squirreled away in her aunt’s house.

Meanwhile at work, boss Bennie has dropped a huge caseload of damages claims on Judy, and she finds a rather surprising solution to her dilemma.

Scottoline writes terrific legal fiction with warm, smart characters and lots of humor and heart, adding additional depth to her stories. Her legion of fans will be happy with Betrayed, and should find her new readers as well.

Copyright ©2014 Booklist, a division of the American Library Association.

11/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

BETRAYED by Lisa Scottoline. St. Martin’s Press (November 25, 2014). ISBN 978-1250027702. 352p.


THE JOB by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg

November 23, 2014

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Fox and O’Hare Series, Book 3

If you weren’t sure that Evanovich could go darker, this book should resolve that issue. This is the darkest book so far in the series, but it speaks more to the level of suspense than actual violence or gore.

Kate O’Hare is an F.B.I. agent who is working off the books, so to speak, with Nick Fox, international con artist and thief. She caught the “Fox” and he escaped jail by agreeing to use his con artistry to help her bring down bigger and badder criminals. Case in point, drug pin Menendez, who had his face altered via plastic surgery, then killed the surgeon & the surgical team, so no one alive knows what he looks like or where he is.

Fox figures out a way to smoke him out, which involves conning him with a treasure map. Fox and O’Hare get their team together to convincingly portray an underwater find that is just the bait to trap this dangerous man and his killer security agent/girlfriend.

The violence is hinted at rather graphically, but that just ups the suspense making this a real page turner. But no worries, there is still quite a bit of humor and of course, the sexual tension between Fox and O’Hare adds another layer of fun to this read. Another excellent addition to the series, which has become one of my favorites.

11/14 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

THE JOB by Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg.Bantam (November 18, 2014). ISBN 978-0345543127. 304p.