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by David Rosenfelt
Minotaur Books, July 2013
320 pages
ISBN: 1250024722

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Sam Willis, Barry Price and his wife Denise have been friends since high school. At a party Barry Price has asked his long time friend Sam Willis to accompany him on a business trip the following evening. Sam is on his way to meet Barry when he hits a dog in the road. Sam stops to help the dog, and Barry takes off without him. While Sam is visiting with Barry's wife Denise, the police arrive to inform her that her husband's plane has crashed and Barry is dead. Very soon afterwards, Denise is arrested for Barry's murder and Sam asks his friend and retired attorney, Andy Carpenter to take her case. Andy spends most of his time working at his not-for-profit dog rescue the Tara Foundation, and is reluctant to get involved, but finally as a favor to Sam agrees to defend Denise. It soon becomes clear to Andy at least, that there is much more to the death of Barry Price than a wife wanting rid of her husband. The case has a major twist along the way that drastically changes Andy's focus. As legal thrillers go, this one is fairly interesting if the reader is willing to suspend belief a bit about the ease with which Andy is able to get information from the FBI and other sources. Some might be a bit frustrated that Andy continually walks into extremely dangerous situations and find it a bit farfetched that his luck holds out so well.

The Andy Carpenter books all have dogs - always Tara, Andy's Golden Retriever and generally at least one more dog which is often also a Golden Retriever. The door is opened for the dog part of the story when Sam hit the dog. The dog saved Sam's life and so Barry is determined to do right by the dog. The next day Sam asks Andy Carpenter to come with him to the animal hospital that is treating the dog and see what can be done. When they discover the dog will most probably be destroyed because of its age and injuries, Andy pays the bill and the dog is moved to the Tara Foundation. Sam ends up adopting the dog, and names him Crash. Crash becomes the good luck charm for Sam and Andy throughout the book. While the dog part of the book is endearing for animal lovers, it is not really intrusive on the flow of the book. The dogs are dogs who are presented as pets. They mostly go on walks and lie around on the couch leaving the crime solving to the humans. However, people who have read others in the series and are especially fond of Tara may be a little disappointed. Although there is a dog element to the plot, Tara is barely mentioned.

While UNLEASHED is the eleventh book in the Andy Carpenter series, each of the books stands alone quite nicely so it is not necessary for a reader to have read any of the previous books to enjoy this one. For long time fans of Rosenfelt's humor, dogs, and the off beat group of characters in the series, UNLEASHED should be a pleasant late summer read.

Caryn St.Clair resides in University City, Missouri and is a former elementary school media specialist, President of the Parks Commission and a docent at the St.Louis Zoo.

Reviewed by Caryn St Clair, August 2013

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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