Sunday 1 October 2023

Book ~ "'Twas the Bite Before Christmas" (2023) David Rosenfelt

From Goodreads ~ Reluctant lawyer Andy Carpenter is at the Tara Foundation’s annual Christmas party. The dog rescue organization has always been his true calling and this is one holiday tradition he can get behind because every dog that’s come through the rescue - and their families - are invited to celebrate.

This year’s party is no exception. But before the stockings can be hung by the chimney with care, homicide detectives ruin the evening. Derek Moore, one of the foundation’s best foster volunteers, is arrested for murder.

Andy discovers Derek - whose real name is Bobby - is in the witness protection program after giving evidence against his former gang. The police believe Bobby murdered a member. But Bobby swears to Andy he didn’t do this. He’s built a new life, a new business, has two new dogs after being a double foster-failure.

There isn’t much Andy likes about this case but he likes Bobby. If he’s innocent, Andy wants to help. Before Andy can settle down for his long winter’s nap, he has a client’s name to clear, a murderer to catch and two new dogs to look after: a golden and a Dalmatian. Andy’s golden retriever, Tara, will have to adjust to not being the only golden at the house while Andy gets to the bottom of this one.

Andy is a criminal defense lawyer who doesn't want any clients.  Because of the money his father left him and some lucrative cases, he is able to not work and spend his time with his friend, Willie, running the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue that he and Willie formed.  He is married to Laurie, they have a young son, Ricky, three dogs and he is enjoying his life.

Andy is doling out eggnog at a Christmas party at the Tara Foundation when his friend, Pete, a police officer, asks him to send out Derek, one of the volunteers. Knowing it's not going to end well, Andy begrudging does and Derek is arrested for murder. It turns out that Derek is really Bobby and he had been placed in witness protection a couple years ago after he testified against fellow gang members. He has now been charged with the murder of one of the higher ups in the gang. Derek swears he didn't do it but the evidence says otherwise. Because he is dog lover, Andy believes in him and agrees to represent him.

This is the 28th in the Andy Carpenter series ... I've read them all and I'm still enjoying this series.  Even though it is part of a series, it works as a stand alone (so you don't need to have read the ones before it to know what is going on). I like the writing style as it was funny, sarcastic and amusing. It was written mostly in first person perspective in Andy's voice.

I like Andy ... I think he would be a hoot to be around and he's quite generous with his time and money (he never charges for his services and he always picks up the tab for his friends at his favourite restaurant whether he is there or not). Andy admits he is a bit of a wimp so part of his team is the K-Team (Laurie, a former police officer and now an investigator; Marcus, an investigator with "persuasive" reasoning skills; Cory, a former police officer; and Simon Garfunkel, Cory's former canine partner). Sam is his accountant who is also a computer hack who wants to be part of the action.

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