Author David Rosenfelt (website
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Date Published: August 25, 2010 (Hardcover
, Kindle Edition
368 pages (Read the first chapter for free direct to your Kindle or other device)
A German Shepherd police dog witnesses a murder and if his owner – an Iraq war vet and former cop-turned-thief – is convicted of the crime, the dog could be put down. Few rival Andy Carpenter’s affection for dogs, and he decides to represent the poor canine. As Andy struggles to convince a judge that this dog should be set free, he discovers that the dog and his owner have become involved unwittingly in a case of much greater proportions than the one they’ve been charged with. Andy will have to call upon the unique abilities of this ex-police dog to solve the crime and prevent a catastrophic event from taking place.
Dog Tags is author David Rosenfelt’s eighth comic legal thriller in this series and it picks up several months after New Tricks ended. Andy Carpenter is a defense attorney who can afford to be picky about the cases he chooses to take on because he inherited a rather large sum of money when his father died. He has also made a small fortune on his own by taking on a few high profile cases over the years. When his detective friend Pete calls him in to check out an ex-cop/ war veteran friend of his who has been accused of murder, it is initially the man’s dog he is willing to take as a client. The dog is being held in the county kennel and has police guard 24/7.
While working to free the poor dog, Andy reluctantly agrees to take on the ex-cop’s case. The usual cast of characters is back for this book, along with a few additions. Andy’s ex-cop/investigator girlfriend, Laurie, is still recovering from her gunshot injuries from the last book, so she’s teaching criminal justice at the local university. His partner at the dog rescue foundation, Willie Miller (who also happens to be an ex-client of Andy’s) is back and this case turns personal when a hit man is sent to grab the dog and winds up holding Willie’s wife at gun point. Andy’s law partner, hypochondriac Kevin, met his ideal woman (a doctor) and moves to Bangladesh after getting married at the beginning of this book. Andy hires Hike, a pessimistic lawyer recommended by Kevin, who isn’t happy about anything, but is a brilliant lawyer in his own right. Rounding out the usual cast are detective Pete, computer hacking CPA Sam, and newspaper runner Vince, and the largest/scariest/meanest/best protector ever Marcus.
While working to free the ex-cop, Andy and his team trace the events back to a suicide bombing in Iraq. Many branches of the federal government are interested in finding out what Andy knows, and a few powerful dirty business people are very willing to silence whatever he does know. The German Shepherd figures prominently in this case, from the envelope that the dog stole when the murder occurred right until the thrilling conclusion.
This book is the best out of the eight so far in this series. Even though this book is a legal thriller, David Rosenfelt keeps it from being stuffy and too serious with light humor spread throughout the entirety. The courtroom proceedings are believable and never boring. This is the first book not entirely told from Andy’s point of view. The author alternates chapters with other character’s point of view thrown in, so you get a good idea of the bad guys’ motives. I really love the character of Andy, he isn’t your typical fearless, strong main character. He’s very self-deprecating and cowardly about a lot of things. But he is ultimately a very good lawyer who doesn’t stop until he has the answers he’s looking for. And his love of dogs is very endearing.
I give this book a 5 out of 5, this is the best Andy Carpenter book yet. This book does stand alone enough to understand what’s going on with the characters, but you might want to start with Open and Shut, the first book in the series, and work your way forward. I promise you won’t be disappointed.