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Open and Shut Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

It's no surprise to find Harlan Coben giving a blurb to Rosenfelt's debut mystery, an homage to Coben's popular Myron Bolitar series. Like Bolitar, lawyer Andy Carpenter lives in suburban New Jersey, has strong bonds with his father, is a sports nut and has a refreshing lack of respect for wealth and power. Andy also has Myron's self-deprecating sense of humor, which allows him to make fun of his personal shortcomings. But Rosenfelt lacks both Coben's powerful narrative engine and gift for bringing weird minor characters to credible life. Andy, a flamboyant district attorney who dazzles the onlookers in Paterson with cute courtroom antics that probably wouldn't last a New York or L.A. minute, stumbles through a couple of plots that just don't ring true. When his father, Nelson, a straight-arrow DA, asks him to defend a death row rapist/murderer seeking a new trial, Andy reluctantly agrees. When the older man dies (spectacularly, at a Yankees game), a totally unexpected $22 million estate surfaces. On the side, Andy works to restart his failed marriage to an important politician's daughter while also pursuing his no-nonsense female chief investigator. Then Andy finds much too conveniently an old photograph linking his father and a bunch of boyhood friends to the original crime. We never learn enough about Nelson to understand or care about his guilt. Loose ends that a Coben would never have left to dangle undermine the ending. Hopefully, a more seasoned Rosenfelt will do better next time.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

(*Starred Review*) Written with the skill of a veteran, Rosenfelt's debut legal thriller boasts fresh characters, an engaging narrator, and a plot that forces readers to keep flipping the pages. Andy Carpenter, a defense lawyer, takes on a new client: a man on death row, appealing his conviction for the murder of a woman nearly a decade ago. Andy takes the case as a favor to his father, the district attorney who originally prosecuted the inmate. When Andy's father dies, leaving him 22 million dollars and a 35-year-old photograph, Andy has some tough questions to answer. Where did his father get the money? Who are the men in the photograph? And could one of them have some connection with the murder for which Andy's client was convicted? Andy Carpenter is a welcome addition to the lawyer-as-sleuth roster; he's a charming and witty hero whose literary allusions and snarky asides keep us thoroughly entertained. In addition, the present-tense, diary-style narrative voice adds another layer of dramatic tension, because--as he's writing--Andy has no idea what's going to happen next. As soon as readers finish this remarkable first novel, they will begin clamoring for a second Andy Carpenter adventure. David Pitt
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 305 pages
  • Publisher: Warner Books; First Warner Books Printing edition (May 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446612537
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446612531
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (244 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #30,869 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Rosenfelt, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, is a graduate of NYU. He was the former marketing president for Tri-Star Pictures before becoming a writer of novels and screenplays. "Open And Shut" was his first novel; "First Degree," his second novel, was named a best book of 2003 by Publishers Weekly. He currently lives in Southern California with his wife and 35 dogs.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 39 people found the following review helpful By L. Quido VINE VOICE on July 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
in town. Rosenfeldt worked in marketing for Tri-Star pictures before trying his hand at screenplays, and this, his first novel. He has a smooth, confident style and a hero steeped in courtroom shenanigans. Like Coben's hero, Myron Bolitar, Andy Carpenter is a sports nut and a smartass, but a loveable one. Like Koontz's heroes, Andy is hung up on his Golden Retriever, Tara, and much of the charm and humor of the character comes out in his frequent references to her.
Carpenter's first story (I say first, because the book cries out for a sequel or two or thirteen) involves an appeal in a case of capital murder. His case is tangled in his past with his beloved father, and his feeling that there is more than meets the eye to his dad's request for him to defend a man that he, himself, had convicted. Tangled with the defense of his client, Willie Miller, is Andy's own broken marriage and his attempt at reconciliation after he's already fallen in love with someone new.
The plot to prove Willie's innocence is less than original, and a little shallow, but the witty repartee and diarization style of writing adopted by Rosenfeldt is charming and breezy. Many small humorous passages will make you laugh, even though the scene is serious. Carpenter's explanation to Miller of why he will probably still lose the trial..."suppose Dinky University's football team goes down to Florida State and loses ....but the game doesn't count because FSU's water boy wasn't eligible....Dinky is still Dinky". Carpenter's rants against DNA, his soliloquy to the Yankees and his betting contests with his father, courtroom antics such as the stunt with Kevin's cousin -- all are irreverent and totally New Jersey in their origin and humor.
It's not a great novel, but it ranks as a great and entertaining first effort, and Rosenfeldt will have a terrific career if there are more like this to come!
Read it, enjoy,laugh!
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Nancy R. Katz VINE VOICE on January 18, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
In the tradition of Harlan Coben and Nelson DeMille's characters, David Rosenfelt introduces us to Andy Carpenter, a lawyer based in New Jersey. And be prepared because once you begin this book you won't be able to put it down.

When Andy's father, a former District Attorney, suddenly dies, Andy never expected to inherit 22 million dollars. Neither did he expect to be seeking a new trial for a man on death row who is there after Andy's father successfully prosecuted him. Then while Andy is going through his father's things, Andy finds a photograph which was hidden behind another photo which shows his father with three men. The photograph which was taken in 1965 shows one man who looks vaguely familiar but the other two are unknown to him. Now confused by the size of his inheritance and the surprising photograph while seeking a new trial for Willie Martin, Andy decides to investigate not only where the money came from but who else is in the picture. Unfortunately for Andy though as he gets deeper and deeper into his investigation along with some colleagues, some disturbing events occur. His home is broken into, he's assaulted in his office by a man wearing a ski mask and then a bullet meant for him mistakenly wounds somebody else, Andy begins to wonder if somehow all of these events aren't


This is one terrific book which I couldn't put down. It is a roller coaster of a read which although convoluted is easy enough for readers to follow and enjoy. And as improbable as it may seem, I couldn't help but think that the plot of this novel could very well have happened.

I found this book exciting, entertaining and well written.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By M. C. T. Henry Jr. on July 25, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Andy Carpenter is a defense lawyer whose prominent father just died, leaving him with a lot of unanswered questions. First is why he wanted Andy to take on an appellate case of a convicted murderer, which he prosecuted years ago. Second is how is it possible that his father left him 22 million dollars in his will. If that weren't enough, his personal life takes a turn as well. After being separated from his wife, Nicole, he's been seeing a beautiful private investigator, Laurie. And yet his wife wants to try again by moving back in with him.

This legal thriller is an excellent quick read with fantastic courtroom maneuvers. It's one of those rare books that strikes the right balance between plot and character development. Well-written, concise, and entertaining, Rosenfelt's first book will not disappoint. Andy is a charismatic character whose sarcastic wit, courtroom antics, and investigative techniques are extremely appealing. I look forward to reading the other books in this series.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By rstack on May 31, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is entertaining. I'll give it that much. But there were several things about this novel that just didn't work (at least for me).
I seem to be in the minority, but I didn't like the protagonist, Andy Carpenter. For starters, almost immediately you find out that he is married, but sleeping with a co-worker. He attempts reconciliation with his wife, but you can tell it is a very half hearted attempt. His constant attempts at humor throughout the first person narrative, are at times funny, but eventually just become annoying. His lawywering techniques are often questionable and in the real world would probably lead to disbarment. In his favor, he does have a golden retriever who is probably my favorite character in the book (although sadly she doesn't get a lot of screen time).

There were several legal inaccuracies that were difficult for me to overlook. At one point during the case, Carpenter is questioning a witness and she begins to relate a story someone told her. This is arguably the most important moment in the case, but the prosecutor does not even bother making the "hearsay" objection. There were also several instances where the "relevance" objection should have been made and sustained. But the judge basically lets Carpenter get away with just about everything under the sun.

Some of the plot points were just too far-fetched and contingent on coincidence to be believable. There was one instance in particular involving Carpenter's wife that just didn't add up, but I won't risk a spoiler by going into it.

Content analysis: Profanity- profanity in this novel was present but not pervasive; none of the characters were particularly foul mouthed.
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