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Fall Guy: A Rachel Alexander Mystery (Rachel Alexander & Dash Mysteries) Hardcover – August 17, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Rachel Alexander & Dash Mysteries
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow; First Edition edition (August 17, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060538996
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060538996
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 5.9 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,511,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In the seventh spare and elegant Rachel Alexander mystery from Shamus-winner Benjamin (This Dog for Hire, etc.), the Greenwich Village PI finds to her surprise that she's been named executor of the will of a barely known neighbor. New York City cop Tim O'Fallon shared less than a sentence with Rachel during a post-9/11 support group, where her astute side-pup, Dashiell, provided pet therapy. She remembers a brooding man who seemed little helped by Dash's talents. Rachel takes O'Fallon's accidental shooting at face value until she views the scene. Her sharp instincts, bested only by those of her hardworking dog, are aroused when she reads a cryptic note from the deceased's sister. The apathy of O'Fallon's siblings causes Alexander to look deeper into a scarring family tragedy. O'Fallon's partner, Det. Michael Brody, quietly adds steam to the story; he's one of many genuine, quirky characters who contribute to the effortless believability of this page-turner. Benjamin's expert sleight-of-hand storytelling transforms the heart of New York into an intimate village. Her quiet observations and understated prose aptly evoke the atmosphere of the recovering metropolis. Even die-hard mystery readers will keep guessing until the end.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

PI Rachel Alexander is stunned to find she has been named the executor of police officer Timothy O'Fallon's estate, since she only knew the suicide victim from a series of post-9/11 pet-therapy sessions she worked with her pit bull, Dashiell. While she tries to understand O'Fallon's reasons for choosing her, Rachel begins to settle the dead man's affairs; delving into his past, however, leads her to question whether his death was really caused by suicide. Soon she has launched her own murder investigation. Numerous suspects are available, as O'Fallon had opened his home to various men who had been in trouble. Set firmly in post-9/11 New York City, this fifth in a popular series combines the appeal of its heroine--Rachel is a loner in the tradition of Sue Grafton's Kinsey Millhone--with an absorbing plot and a cast of quirky secondary characters, including, of course, Rachel's inseparable companion, her dog, Dash. Fans of Lanier's bloodhound series will appreciate the pet-therapy and the victim recovery training details. Sue O'Brien
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
I look forward to the next one.
Jenna
I found that they mystery became more and more intriguing and the ending was quite a surprise.
Shadowhelm
The characters are compelling, the plot complex, the pace swift.
a reader from Peoria

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Cathy Goodwin TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 1, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Susan Conant and Carol Lea Benjamin have created strong female detectives who use dog training to solve mysteries. But the resemblance ends there. Rachel Alexander is a tough New York licensed PI, not an amateur. She lives alone, without a steady boyfriend, and has a loving but realistic relationship with her dog, a pit bull named Dashiell.

Conant's Holly Winter is warm and fuzzy; Benjamin's Rachel Alexander is street-smart and tough. And while Holly Winter is unabashedly a dog fanatic, Rachel Alexander doesn't go into rhapsodies over Dashiell. He's a good dog. She's a good trainer. What else would you expect? Or put another way, you don't have to like dogs to enjoy this mystery, while enjoyment Susan Conant's books will be deepened by dog ownership. I learned that first-hand!

And as a result, Benjamin's plots tend to be edgier. Here Rachel discovers she has been named executor of a will for Timothy O'Fallon, a man she met briefly in a pet-therapy group. She agrees, suspecting that the dead man had a reason for asking her to do the job. And of course she's getting paid the customary executor's fee.

Rachel learns Tim was a cop from a family with tragedies to rival the more famous Irish family, the Kennedys. She also begins to wonder if his death really was a suicide, especially since she discovers a note from a family member, "I saw what you did." A tragic event from Tim's childhood seems to be haunting him today.

Up to the very last chapter, I was riveted by the characters, writing and plot. I loved Rachel's discussion of therapy dogs. I enjoyed her interactions with the off-beat Village people. Her encounter with Detective Michael Brody seems headed for a longer romance.

Experienced mystery readers will look for villains close to home.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Vicki L. Magnus on October 7, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Ms. Benjamin is a gifted writer and this book is up to her always high standards. In addition to being a well written mystery, this book is the most touching account I've read about the impact of September 11th. While never overt, the devastation wrought that day, the pain and loss and change to us all are there in the background, part of the characters just as they are part of the reader. I can't recommend this book highly enough, even if mysteries are not your standard fare I urge you to make an exception for this truly exceptional work.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By a reader from Peoria on August 28, 2004
Format: Hardcover
This is a terrific book. The characters are compelling, the plot complex, the pace swift. Rachel's evident professionalism is in evidence throughout, while her dog, Dash, adds another dimension to her activities. Beware, though, if you're expecting Dash to solve the crime. Fall Guy is surpringly Hard-boiled, a lot closer to Sue Grafton, then to Lillian Jackson Braun. I heartily recommend it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By P. Pelham on March 10, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have read most of Ms. Benjamin books and I have to say this was one of the best. It was not the normal who-done-it. Bringing all the pieces of the puzzle together at the end in an unexpected twist. I had not drawn the same conclusion until the last moment and then it made perfect sense. Being a dog lover myself, I always enjoy the unique manner that "Dash" is worked into the storyline.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shadowhelm VINE VOICE on February 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent mystery by Carol Lea Benjamin. I had read some of her earlier books, but this is her best to date. She weaves an interesting mystery -- it's not cookie-cutter like so many of them out there.

PI Rachel Alexander is chosen by an NYPD detective as the executor for his estate who tragically dies in a fatal gun-cleaning "accident." Rachel barely knew the cop, which adds to the overall mystery as to why he chose her.

I found that they mystery became more and more intriguing and the ending was quite a surprise. A good read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By L. J. Roberts TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 9, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I found the first half of this book a bit slow but interesting. The interesting characters, particularly Brody, the investigating policeman, Irving, O'Connor's neighbor upstairs, and Dashiell, Rachael's dog, kept me going. The story picked up in the second half picked up considerably and it became an interesting story of family secrets and guilt. At the end, I did quite enjoy it, but more for the characters than the plot.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By booksforabuck VINE VOICE on April 19, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Rachel Alexander barely knew Timothy O'Fallon and certainly has no idea why a man she briefly counseled after 9/11 would name her as executor of his will. But now O'Fallon is dead--another cop suicide by all appearances--and Rachel attempts to understand what could have happened, what it means, and why O'Fallon might ask a private investigator he hardly knew to take this job when he had the entire police department available to him.

Rachel finally decides that O'Fallon wanted her to investigate something, but what? She starts with O'Fallon's roommate, a young man O'Fallon had offered a home to after catching him shoplifting. Parker is a piece of work--always chasing an angle, wanting something more from the world, but just how evil is he? For many readers, certainly including myself, Rachel's ongoing training of her pit bull, Dashiell, to be a cadaver dog adds interest to the story.

Author Carol Lea Benjamin starts this story slowly. Rachel remains an enigma with no clear motivation other than a compulsive need to live up to O'Fallon's unclear desires for the first half of the book. But as evidence about O'Fallon's death mounts, and as Rachel learns more about Parker and O'Fallon's disfunctional family, I found myself pulled more and more into the story. Benjamin's writing is smooth and kept me involved even in the slow-going early section.

Give the book a chance--the payoff is certainly worth it.
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