ANIMAL INSTINCT by David Rosenfelt

April 29, 2021

K Team Novels, Book 2

From the publisher:

The K Team is back in the second installment in this spinoff series from bestselling author David Rosenfelt’s beloved Andy Carpenter mysteries.

Corey Douglas and his K-9 partner, a German shepherd named Simon Garfunkel, are recently retired police officers turned private investigators. Along with fellow former cop Laurie Collins and her investigating partner, Marcus, they call themselves the K Team, in honor of Simon.

The K Team’s latest case – a recent unsolved murder – gives Corey a chance to solve “the one that got away”. Corey knew the murder victim from his time on the force, when he was unable to protect her in a domestic dispute. Now, he is convinced the same abusive boyfriend is responsible for her murder. With some help from Laurie’s lawyer husband, Andy Carpenter, the K Team is determined to prove what the police could not, no matter the cost. What they uncover is much more sinister than they could have imagined.

Known for his dog-loving stories and addictive characters, bestselling mystery author David Rosenfelt presents Animal Instinct, the second installment in this engrossing new series about a dynamite investigative team and their canine partner.


David Rosenfelt has earned a place at the apex of the literary world through his delightfully tongue in cheek novels about the lawyer that does not want to practice law, Andy Carpenter.  Andy has developed a crew that aid him in seeking justice (albeit reluctantly) in providing defense council for a wide variety of worthy clients. His crew also includes dogs which play their part in the goings on. 

Rosenfelt began work on an offshoot group of books featuring the “K” team which included Andy’s wife Laurie, an ex police officer; Marcus, the very strong very silent investigator and all around dispenser of protection when needed; and Corey Douglas, a retired police detective that worked with a German Shepherd named Simon Garfunkel. Andy helped Corey take the dog into retirement with him. This book is the second novel featuring the “K” team although Andy does take a leading role in the proceedings.     

Prior to his retirement, Corey interceded in a situation with a man beating up his girlfriend.  Corey was not able to arrest the individual and continued to feel as if he failed the woman in that nothing would prevent her being the victim of violence in the future. The situation opens when Corey, now a civilian comes upon the woman again and finds her murdered.  Evidence is found implicating him and he is brought up on charges of murder. Andy takes his case and arranges for Corey to be out on bail awaiting trial. The situation than becomes Corey with the help of the other members of the “K” team working to prove his own innocence.    

Same approach as in the novels featuring Andy; lots of humor, wise remarks and the inclusion of Simon Garfunkel and Andy and Laurie’s dogs going against a prosecutor in court that pursues his own brand of justice throughout the trial that is the main part of the book. The novel assumes the same place as the stories featuring Andy – rewarding to read, fun and very light.

Note from the BookBitch: What is going on with this cover??? Worst cover since the original cover of his first book, First Degree.

4/2021 Paul Lane

ANIMAL INSTINCT by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books; 1st edition (April 6, 2021). ISBN: 978-1250257208. 304 pages.

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DIAL A FOR AUNTIES by Jesse Q. Sutanto

April 27, 2021

From the publisher:

One of PopSugar’s “42 Books Everyone Will Be Talking About in 2021”!

What happens when you mix 1 (accidental) murder with 2 thousand wedding guests, and then toss in a possible curse on 3 generations of an immigrant Chinese-Indonesian family? 

You get 4 meddling Asian aunties coming to the rescue! 

When Meddelin Chan ends up accidentally killing her blind date, her meddlesome mother calls for her even more meddlesome aunties to help get rid of the body. Unfortunately, a dead body proves to be a lot more challenging to dispose of than one might anticipate, especially when it is inadvertently shipped in a cake cooler to the over-the-top billionaire wedding Meddy, her Ma, and aunties are working at an island resort on the California coastline. It’s the biggest job yet for the family wedding business—”Don’t leave your big day to chance, leave it to the Chans!”—and nothing, not even an unsavory corpse, will get in the way of her auntie’s perfect buttercream flowers.

But things go from inconvenient to downright torturous when Meddy’s great college love—and biggest heartbreak—makes a surprise appearance amid the wedding chaos. Is it possible to escape murder charges, charm her ex back into her life, and pull off a stunning wedding all in one weekend?


This is a top ten favorite on the April Library Reads list, and as far as I’m concerned, it should have been number one! Part mystery, part romance, part family drama, but mostly laugh-out-loud funny, this book hits it out of the park. And I’m super excited that Netflix is on board.

Meddy is the good girl in her family. There is a family curse where all the men leave, leaving her mom and her sisters to make up her family. Even her boy cousins have all moved away, but as much as Meddy wanted a different life, she just could not bring herself to leave her mom and her aunties, so she breaks up with the love of her life as he has been offered his dream job across the country. It just about kills Meddy, but she goes on with her life, settling into the family wedding planning business and trying not to think about the one who got away.

Her mom decides Meddy needs to meet someone so like all overly involved, well meaning moms, she sets up a fake profile for Meddy on a dating app, and pretends to be Meddy. There are red flags aplenty, but her mom, who is not a native English speaker never mind a keen reader of emojis, doesn’t realize what she’s done when she sets Meddy up on a blind date with a man she met online. It turns out he is as bad a guy as one could meet online, and Meddy accidentally kills him in self defense. I’m not spoiling anything here, this happens at the beginning of the book.

Meddy panics, dumps him in the trunk of her car, and takes him home to her mother, who calls in the aunties. These are the kind of relatives everyone should have, the kind who help you get rid of a body. But what ensues is just chaos, and it is hilarious. In between the insanity though, Meddy runs into the love of her life. Turns out he’s moved back and is now running the hotel where the family is running their biggest wedding yet.

Lots of over the top situations and slapstick humor, and it really works here. This book had me laughing out oud several times, and I I enjoyed every page. Honestly, it reminded me of the first few Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich) books only with a happy ending, and that is high praise! I also really liked learning about Chinese/Indonesian culture. This one is sure to make my best books of the year list – don’t miss it.

4/2021 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch

DIAL A FOR AUNTIES by Jesse Q. Sutanto. Berkley (April 27, 2021). ISBN: 978-0593333037. 320 pages.

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MUZZLED by David Rosenfelt

July 10, 2020

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The Andy Carpenter Novel, Book 21

From the publisher:

In David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter mystery, Muzzled, Andy and his beloved golden retriever, Tara, are back on the case as a favor to a friend.

Andy Carpenter is a lawyer who would rather not practice law. He’d rather spend his time working with the Tara Foundation, his dog rescue organization, and being with his family and his two dogs, Tara and Sebastian. But when a friend asks him for a favor that involves both dogs and his lawyerly expertise, he can’t say no.

Andy’s friend Beth has found a stray that seems to have belonged to a murder victim–in fact, the man and two of his colleagues died in an explosion a few weeks ago. But when the murdered man contacts Beth, asking for his dog back, Andy knows there must be more to the story. The man claims his life is in danger, and that’s why he disappeared. As much as Andy doesn’t want to get involved–anything to avoid a new case–he can’t help but come to the rescue of a man who’d risk everything, even his life, to reunite with his dog.

Once again, David Rosenfelt delivers suspense and laughter in equal measure in another engaging mystery from “one of the most unforgettable voices in the genre.”


I’m happy to announce the coming across of another in the long and welcome line of novels featuring the adventures of Andy Carpenter. As in the previous books, Andy is accompanied by his stalwart companions including his wife, Laurie, who was a policewoman, his best friend Willy, who is his partner in a business providing dogs for adoption, the very vocal Marcus, his office manager who has developed an antipathy to work, and other sundry characters populating these books.

What is missing is the usual happy ending in which Andy, openly reluctant to working in his profession of defense attorney due to a large inheritance, is forced to handle a case and manages to resolve it successfully. While the happy ending is conspicuously missing in the novel you can bet that all of the dogs that take part in the story end up well.

The story opens in the usual way, Andy must see to the well being of a dog whose owner may soon be sent to prison for murder. Now it does seem strange that the owner is looking for someone to care for his dog when he was blown to pieces along with two other men on a boat they were riding in before the story starts. Don’t worry, all will be explained as we go along, but in the meanwhile, we are treated to David Rosenfelt’s inimitable style of humor, sarcasm, a lot of attention to the dogs involved in the story and the solving of the conundrum of an interesting tale.

I don’t remember if I ever read an Andy Carpenter story that wasn’t a five-star book and in no way boring, in spite of the seeming repetitiveness of the stories. “Muzzled” continues the author’s streak of winners and my recommendation is to read this novel then get on line for the next one as soon as available. And oh yes, don’t worry too much about the ending that is not a happy one. Remember, the dogs come out okay.

7/2020 Paul Lane

MUZZLED by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books (July 7, 2020). ISBN: 978-1250257116. 304 pages.

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PURSUIT by Joyce Carol Oates

October 13, 2019

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The author, in many of her novels, has demonstrated a capacity to project the innermost feelings of the people she writes about. The Pursuit is definitely a study in one woman’s grasp of reality and how this affects her mother, and later her husband.

Abby is a reclusive young woman coming from the most traumatic of childhoods. She keeps to herself, afraid that contact with others will showcase her faults and drive them away. She dreams of coming upon a field with skeletons and a large skull, and a smaller one that she thinks of as the daddy and mommy skulls. Her mother and father disappeared one day leaving Abby to feel that they didn’t care for her and left to go live alone without her.

Not seeking companionship, Abby is surprised when a young man, Willem, seeks her out and eventually asks her to marry him.  She does so with a good deal of trepidation. The day after the wedding, as Abby is on her way to the University she is attending, she gets off the bus she is riding on and into traffic. She is hit by the same bus she was on and sent to the hospital. Willem, in love with Abby, begins investigating whether the incident was an accident or done on purpose by his wife.

Oates sets up the rest of her novel as a completely mesmerizing look into what is the deep-seated trauma that engulfs Abby, how was it initiated, what caused it, and how to bring it to rest. The workings of her mind become bared for the reader, and it becomes impossible to set the book down before solutions are arrived at, or not arrived at. And, of course where her trauma began.

 

10/19 Paul Lane

PURSUIT by Joyce Carol Oates. Mysterious Press (October 1, 2019). ISBN 978-0802147912. 144p.

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DACHSHUND THROUGH THE SNOW by David Rosenfelt

October 10, 2019

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An Andy Carpenter Mystery, Book 20

In my recollection, there has never been a bad book featuring Andy Carpenter and his assorted team of assistants. This novel is certainly not an exception to the rule. It does, however, go a step further and delivers a story that connects in every which way, and if not his best, is certainly among David Rosenfelt’s top novels.

The basic idea is the same; Andy has inherited a large sum of money and really does not want to work. He is married to Laurie, his true love, they have a son, and of course two dogs that he walks while he thinks. He then is faced with a case to prove someone is not guilty of the murder of which they have been accused.

The present volume is released in time for Christmas, and the holiday spirit permeates the book. Laurie has developed the custom of filling the wishes of children that are undoubtedly poor. A pet store near the Carpenter’s home normally puts up a Christmas tree and allows children to place their wishes on it, instead of having ornaments. Laurie takes the wishes and gets the children what they wished for, delivering it confidentially.

One of the lists is from a boy named Danny, who would like a coat for his mother, a sweater for his dachshund, and to bring home his father, who has suddenly disappeared. The first two wishes are easy to fulfill when the answer to the third one becomes suddenly apparent. Danny’s father is arrested for murder.

The crime is 14 years old and never solved, but the DNA of the possible killer was located on the dead girl’s body and around the scene.  Noah, Danny’s father, has no criminal record so that his DNA, which was that found, has never been identified. Unfortunately, Noah’s brother sends a sample of his DNA to a website that matches DNA with possible groups, and of course, Noah is identified and arrested.

Andy has to take the case because it was part of Danny’s wishes. While the normal banter between Andy and others takes place, the handling of the case in court is a lesson in the scientific handling of DNA as evidence in police work. This sequence does take the novel to an area that is beyond the norm in Rosenfelt’s work. A very well done novel.

10/19 Paul Lane

DACHSHUND THROUGH THE SNOW by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books (October 1, 2019). ISBN 978-1250237682. 352p.

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FEARED by Lisa Scottoline

August 14, 2018

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A Rosato & DiNunzio Novel, Book 6

From the publisher:

In the new thriller from New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline, Mary DiNunzio’s ruthless nemesis Nick Machiavelli is back…with a vengeance.

When three men announce that they are suing the Rosato & DiNunzio law firm for reverse sex discrimination—claiming that they were not hired because they were men—Mary DiNunzio and Bennie Rosato are outraged. To make matters worse, their one male employee, John Foxman, intends to resign, claiming that there is some truth to this case.

The plaintiffs’ lawyer is Nick Machiavelli, who has already lost to Mary once and is now back with a vengeance —determined not to not only win, but destroy the firm. It soon becomes clear that Machiavelli will do anything in his power to achieve his end…even after the case turns deadly. The stakes have never been higher for Mary and her associates as they try to keep Machiavelli at bay, solve a murder, and save the law firm they love…or they could lose everything they’ve worked for. Told with Scottoline’s trademark gift for twists, turns, heart, and humanity, this latest thriller asks the question: Is it better to be loved, or feared…

Feared, the sixth entry in the acclaimed Rosato & DiNunzio series, expertly explores what happens when we are tempted to give in to our own inner darkness.


Before it was Rosato & DiNunzio, there were the Rosato & Associates novels, 11 of them. Same series for the most part but it was rebranded six books ago. It is one of my favorite series and it never disappoints – how often can you say that? Especially with so many books!

Set in Philadelphia, Rosato & DiNunzio were an all female law firm until a couple of books ago when they hired a man. I remember being surprised back then, and now it has come home to roost. DiNunzio and all her crazy, loving big Italian family are here and you can just feel the “gravy” dripping off the pages.

I love the characters, the setting and the mystery, which had a shocking ending – perfection! Don’t miss it.

8/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

FEARED by Lisa Scottoline. St. Martin’s Press (August 14, 2018). ISBN 978-1250099594. 400p.

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RESCUED by David Rosenfelt

July 18, 2018

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 An Andy Carpenter Novel, Book 17

I’ve been reading this series since the first book literally dropped into my hands through the book drop at the library where I was working. The cover, a skyline of NYC, drew me in but the writing has kept me coming back book after book. The cover of that original book, Open & Shut, has been updated with dogs to match up with the rest of the series. And it is a dog-centric series.

Andy Carpenter is a lawyer who inherited enough money so that he doesn’t need to work. He takes only one or two cases a year, and that suits him just fine. It gives him more time to spend with his dogs, his wife and son. probably in that order.

When a large truck is found at a New Jersey rest stop with a dead body in the front and lots of dogs barking in the back, Andy is called to help out. He has a rescue foundation for dogs, and with this many, his help is needed. Turns out his help is also needed when his wife’s ex-boyfriend is accused of being the killer.

Self defense is the way to go and it is not looking good for Andy and his legal team until the very end of the book, but getting there is half the fun.  With his wise cracks, witty repartee and all the series regulars in place, I had a good time reading this book. These books do not have to be read in order but I think it best if you read the first book, it sets up the rest of the books in the series.

If you love dogs, wise cracks and legal fiction, and I do, this is a terrific read.

7/18 Stacy Alesi, AKA the BookBitch™

RESCUED by David Rosenfelt. Minotaur Books (July 17, 2018).  ISBN 978-1250133069. 304p.

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WEYCOMBE by G. M. Malliet

October 15, 2017

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G. M. Malliet brings us a well-written whodunit set in an upscale gated community in England called Weycombe. The novel is set up with the main protagonist, Jillian White, as the narrator and analyzer of the events portrayed.

Jillian is an American living in Weycombe with her English husband whom she met while attending Oxford. He is a member of the British peerage, has a title, and an excellent career which allows him to provide the wherewithal to live in Weycombe, even when Jillian loses her job with the BBC.

The novel begins as Jillian, finishing her morning exercise run, spots the dead body of a woman near the road. The police are called and determine that the lady was murdered, starting an investigation in which Jillian and her neighbors are questioned. Jillian decides that since she has the time she will also attempt to solve the crime.

With a very pleasing tongue-in-cheek style, Malliet describes Jillian’s findings when she questions her neighbors as to their views of the murder. In what is certainly the manner that these types of investigations proceed everywhere, Jillian finds that most of what she finds is a mixed bag. Most of the people questioned have opinions and most of what they say conflicts with every other opinion.

Adding spice to an already excellent read, Jillian is faced with the probability that her husband has been cheating on her. She realizes that her marriage is in trouble and has to deal with that situation while looking into the murder. I found myself immediately drawn into the novel and couldn’t put it down until finished.  I am now a Malliet fan and look forward to her next book.

10/17 Paul Lane

WEYCOMBE by G. M. Malliet. Midnight Ink (October 8, 2017).  ISBN  978-0738754260. 360p.

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THE PRAGUE SONATA by Bradford Morrow

October 13, 2017

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A beautifully written book set against the background of the international world of music, both classic and general. Otylie Bautosova is a young girl that we meet in 1918 as she is saying goodbye to her father, a Czech soldier who is returning to the front at the very end of World War I. His parting words to Otylie are that music is everything and even the horrors of war revolve around it. He gives her a music manuscript that is clearly old and which her father tells her to guard and keep safe because it will ensure her future. Her father is then killed, becoming one of the last casualties of the war.

Years later, Otylie marries but the second world war intervenes. Her husband joins the partisans fighting the Nazi invaders but is unfortunately killed. With enough tragedy for several lifetimes, the capstone is the invasion of Czechoslovakia by Stalin and the Russians. Otylie manages to escape to England and works for the Czech government in exile while there. She later moves to the United States and her fate ties in with the second half of the book and the activities of an American pianist named Meta Taverner.

Meta lives in New York with the ability to become a great pianist. Unfortunately, she suffers an injury to one arm which takes away her ability to perform as required in playing great classical music. She is advised by a friend that there is a valuable undiscovered sonata in Prague. Meta makes the decision to try and locate the piece and return it to its rightful owners.

The search for the sonata is described beautifully by the author, whose expertise in the world of music makes this book a truly wonderful read. The reader is introduced to a world not often touched upon by most authors and introduces creativity given to some people that cause happiness in our world. This is truly a haunting book that will stay with the reader for a long time to come.

10/17 Paul Lane

THE PRAGUE SONATA by Bradford Morrow. Atlantic Monthly Press (October 3, 2017).  ISBN 978-0802127150. 528p.

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Y IS FOR YESTERDAY by Sue Grafton

September 4, 2017

A Kinsey Millhone Novel, Book 25

In 1979, a local private school became the site of an academic scandal that turned into murder. Two students were kicked out for cheating and a third, blamed for tattling, was shunned and then killed. Of the boys involved in the crime, only two actually served time­—one escaped and the other was given immunity for testifying. But the case had another twist to it: rumor has it the murder wasn’t over the cheating scandal at all, but a tape the girl was said to have stolen. A tape that was never recovered in the investigation.

Ten years later, the two boys who served time for the crime have been released and the parents of one have called Kinsey. It seems the rumored tape is not only real, it’s being used for blackmail and the parents want Kinsey to find out who is behind it all.

Kinsey’s latest case is something of a pain in the ass. A group of rather well to do (for the most part) teens gets caught up in a cheating scandal that goes south when one of the teens, gun in hand, accidentally kills a classmate. Ten years later, that teen is now a young man, newly released from his time served. But his parents are concerned that he’ll be arrested again when a sex tape from those same high school surfaces.

Everyone involved in making the film claims it was a lark, a joke with outtakes that show the kids laughing and goofing off. But the only actual evidence that seems to remain is the one tape, and there’s no question that it would lead to another trial. The biggest mystery isn’t just who is behind the blackmail, but where the video has been all this time. As Kinsey investigates answers are few and far between, though.

There are a few subplots. First, Kinsey has a stalker who’s returned from a previous case. Then there’s drama in the neighborhood as well, including Henry’s new houseguests, all of which commands some of Kinsey’s time and attention. But, as per usual, never causes her to lose her wits or cool.

I adore this series and I have loved each and every installment. Y is for Yesterday is no exception. Kinsey has grown so much over the course of the series and has learned a lot about herself and her family. Grafton has built a strong support system of characters around Kinsey as well, making each new book a welcome return not only to the PI we all know and love, but to Henry, Cheney, Rosie, and newer additions like Anna as well.

I can’t stress enough just how much I’ll hate saying goodbye to this series. I’ve been reading alongside Kinsey  and her cases for almost two decades now and I’ve loved each and every entry. With Y, there’s now just one more book to go.

9/17 Becky LeJeune

Y IS FOR YESTERDAY by Sue Grafton. Marian Wood Books/Putnam (August 22, 2017).  ISBN 978-0399163852. 496p.

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