37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
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!
24 of 25 people found the following review helpful
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. And the author certainly knew that readers would look forward to more books about Andy Carpenter since there are now two more titles in this series. I can hardly wait to begin the second book, First Degree and only hope its as good as Open and Shut. And than I will look forward to more books by David Rosenfelt either in this series or as stand alone titles.
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on July 25, 2006
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.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2010
Open and Shut had me laughing hard. I like to read at coffee shops some times. Big mistake bringing this book along. Every couple of minutes I was barking out loud and everyone was looking at me like I was a mad man.
Rosenfelt, an author I had never read before, has a true gem here with 'Open and Shut'. He plots a good traditional mystery around some first rate characters and a wit a mile long. Its been a little while since I read a genre story exactly like this plot wise. It got me to thinking about how in the 80's there were nothing but lawyer mysteries. This is in many ways an homage to that era. (whoops, I have read Rosenfelt before and didn't like what it very much "Dont Tell a Soul" was an poorly plotted thriller with big holes).
The story itself is very simple. Andy Carpenter, a married (though separated) lawyer working in a small suburb outside of Manhattan defends a death row inmate on his last appeal. At the same time, he is looking for the 'real' killer and tries to make amends with his estranged wife.
Some of the reviewers here are tying strings between Rosenfelt and Harlen Coben. I dont buy it. Bolitar and Carpenter are too different. I also dont agree that this book is a pale companion to the Bolitar books. I find it more like a Stuart Woods novel (let me just say I think Woods has been a disaster over the last 15 years, but he started off as a decent writer). It has that jaunty, tongue-in-cheek, in-the-know style.
What got me down a little was how unbelievable some of the courtroom stunts were. This guy should have been dis-bared long ago. Instead he continuously pulls out last minute rescue ploys. Its also on the simpler side. Your not going to be wowed or bowled over by anything here. This is what I would consider an 'All American Stick to the Ribs' starch meal.
If you want a simple easy to read genre tale that feels like it stepped out of the 1980's, this one is for you.
23 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on May 31, 2011
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. Mostly only milder profanities are interjected into the first half of the book, but it does seem like the author's misuse of "Jesus Christ" and his combination of God's name with damn increases throughout the last half of the book. There were no sex scenes, and no gore although some of the descriptions of the crime were detailed (necessary for the court case).
All in all, this wasn't a bad novel, I just didn't particularly enjoy it either.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 2006
Rosenfelt has written a series of books involving Andy Carpenter and after reading Sudden Death, I decided I needed to read the book that was the well spring for the series and that would be this one, Open and Shut.
The books title refers to a case that Carpenter's father, a legendary prosecutor, asks him to handle the motion for a new trial on. It is a case his father tried some seven years before and resulted in a conviction and the death sentence for one Willie Miller. "It would be important to me," was the only reason his Dad gave him for taking on the case, but it was all he needed to say.
Miller was discovered standing over the deceased, he ran from the scene; a knife was recovered that had the victim's blood on it and his finger prints; his skin tissues are found under the victims fingernails; her blood is on his shirt and he is too drunk to have any memory of what happened. Open and shut!
Before the new trial is granted, Carpenter's father dies and in going through the estate Carpenter discovers that (1) his father had twenty two million dollars in assets that no one in the family knew anything about and (2) a mysterious picture is found underneath a picture of his Mom and Dad. It is of some young men, his father being one, in a celebratory mood. It turns out the picture was taken the same year that his father recieved two million dollars.
How those factor into the defense of Miller is really what the story line is all about. There is, in my judgement, a really fine novel in this book. However, they manner in which the author approaches his characters and the twists and turns of the plot are entirely too cavalier for me. It remains a nice piece of light reading, but in my judgement an opportunity was missed.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on June 9, 2002
It's hard to believe this is David Rosenfelt's first novel, but that's what the book jacket says.
New Jersey attorney Andy Carpenter's biggest problems are fretting over whether to work things out with his estranged wife or move forward with pretty PI Laurie Collins. He's good in court, wins most of his cases, and is popular with judges and prosecutors alike. He lives with a Golden Retriever named Tara in a house he likes a lot, and life is pretty darn good.
And then Andy's father, Nelson, a retired prosecutor, asks him to take on the appeal of Willie Miller, on death row for a murder Nelson himself prosecuted. Before Andy can ask his father what's going on, Nelson dies. Finding himself heir to a mysterious fortune and a troubling photograph, Andy plods ahead with his new client's appeal. And that's when the threats start. Andy himself had always believed Willie Miller was guilty, so who could feel so threatened by a re-trial?
As the investigation of the murder Willie was convicted of, that of young newspaper reporter Denise McGregor, progresses, evidence of an old and ugly murder gradually comes to light. What are the connections, and what could Willie Miller have had to do with it? More intriguing, what about the photo of Nelson Carpenter and his powerful friends? And where did Nelson Carpenter get all that money which he never touched? This novel is artfully constructed and superbly plotted and, if this is a first novel, I hope it's only the first of many to come. This author is uncommonly talented and this is a spectacular debut.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
In Open And Shut, Rosenfelt's debut novel, he introduces Andy Carpenter, a wise-cracking suburban New Jersey defense attorney that I hope to see around for quite awhile. As a result of my enjoyment of this attention-grabbing, fast-paced legal thriller/mystery and Rosenfelt's nail-bitng writing style, I've ordered the other three books in this series. If you've enjoyed Harlan Coben's books, particularly his series featuring Myron Bolitar, I think you'll find many of the same positive characteristics in Open And Shut. Without wanting to tell too much of the plot of this exciting story, Open And Shut involves Andy Carpenter seeking a new trial for a man who, after being suceesfully prosecuted for murder by Andy's father seven years earlier, is on death row with time running out. The only reason for my not giving this book a five-star rating is that Rosenfelt does not give closure to a few of the sub-plots; however, I assume these "loose threads will be tied tighter" in his subsequent books in the series. I highly recommend Open And Shut to you.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
I found the beginning of the story rather slow and Andy's humor somewhat annoying. But as the investigation picked up, so did the story. There were some definite holes in the plot and a major coincidence, but the courtroom scenes were interesting and it was a very enjoyable book overall. I shall probably read another by this author.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
This book draws you in immediately with the excellent writing style of the author. It is told in first person which I usually have trouble with but this book is definately an exception.
Andy Carpenter is a wise cracking defense attorney who is separated from his wife and likes to spend most of his free time with his golden retriever. His father convinces him to take the appeal of an inmate on death row that his father had put there when he was a prosecuter.
So many wierd things happen especially after Andy's father suddenly dies and leaves him a hidden fortune that he could not possibly have earned in his career as a prosecutor. To add to that there is a mysterious photograph of Andy's father with a four other men. When Andy starts to investigate who the other men are, threats to his life start to happen. Andy is not sure if it has to do with the death row murder case he is trying to overturn or not.
The author also masters the courtroom dialogue so that the reader actually feels they are there. Excellent work Mr. Rosenfelt!