I’m sure these are laborious at times, and it takes a lot of effort to make a novel read as smoothly as these do, but it really seems like David Rosenfelt is on automatic pilot these days with his Andy Carpenter books, they’re consistently entertaining, clever, and filled with the requisite twists for a good mystery — he almost has to be working off an assembly line.
The investigator/bodyguard Marcus in the Hawk/Joe Pike/Bubba Rugowski role here is ever closer to the super hero that Rosenfelt has had in mind since his introduction — he eats more Michael Phelps, fights better than Batman and talks only a little more than Marcel Marceau. But it’s fun, and there’s no pretension to anything approaching realism, so it works.
The same is true for Sam, Andy’s accountant/hacker. He’s faster with a computer than is possible, and somehow gets into places he shouldn’t be able to very easily. Again — it’s fun enough that it’s excusable, and he’s not nearly as nigh-omnipotent as Marcus is, he messes up, is far too focused on being in the field, in the midst of action. I worry this’ll either spell doom for him soon, or he’ll become as incredible as Marcus. I do miss the song-talking Sam days, though — but I can’t imagine Rosenfelt going back to that now.
I realize that with the bench of recurring characters he’s established, not everyone gets the kind of “screen time” they once did, but there was so little of Laurie in this book I was pretty disappointed — part of the charm of the books is the two of them working together. Hopefully that’s rectified in the next book.
These were all thoughts that came to me after I read and stopped to think about it — by page 2 or 3, most of my critical functions turned off and I just had fun with the book. But one thing did stick out to me, the big crime that’s being carried out during the trial (and has a direct bearing on the outcome of Andy’s case — not that anyone could tell him about it, until it’s too late) has been so big, so epic in scale that it’s mind-boggling. They almost feel like they don’t fit both in tone or scope with the rest of the book/series. When the bad guys did _____ this time, it really took me out of the moment. It didn’t ultimately detract from the book (I don’t think), but it was incongruous enough, that I had to work at it for a chapter or two.
Still, one of the most enjoyable mystery series around — I laughed, I got tense, I didn’t see much of the ending coming at all.