Introducing David Rosenfelt at your library | SummitDaily.com
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Introducing David Rosenfelt at your library

PAT HASENFUS
special to the daily

It’s snowing again. Mexico is not an option. You’ve slogged through a 50-page set-up, only to face 50 more of explanation. Your pile of rejected books is starting to teeter.

Enter David Rosenfelt: master craftsman, storyteller and award nominee. You are drawn in from the first sentence: “If you’re a corpse, you should get your name in the paper.” It’s about murder, journalism and philosophy. You transition from cautiously optimistic observer to willing participant. You’ve got believable characters, well drawn and distinct. You’ve got humor, sarcasm, witty dialogue and a glimpse into the writing process. You’ve got the usual: father issues, mother issues, health issues and affairs of the heart. You’ve got bureaucratic snafus, universal truths and action – lots of action. “Down to the Wire” is the book you didn’t know you were waiting for.

Chris Turley is a second-generation journalist drifting along in a small town newspaper, when an anonymous tip leads to the story of a lifetime. Not only does he get the scoop, he gets to star in it. He basks in the glow and starts to believe his own press. Visions of Pulitzers dance in his head. Of course, it can’t last. The benevolent source becomes a sinister force, his fan club becomes an angry mob, and the body count mounts. He is swiftly demoted from hero to goat. He must identify the bad guy, negotiate puzzling technology and placate a boss looking for his own 15 minutes of fame. Uptight FBI agents clash with hard-boiled city cops, leaving Chris in the middle.

No need for a bookmark here. If you don’t finish in one or two sittings, you will surely be able to find your spot. The plot is tight, with nifty twists. There is homespun wisdom mixed with spectacular detonation. The wrap-up is concise, leaving you hungry for more. There is more.

“Down to the Wire” is Rosenfelt’s second stand-alone thriller. His first, “Don’t Tell a Soul,” offers the same detail and immediacy, with the everyman identification and dialogue to keep it all moving.

These two novels will necessarily lead you back to his centerpiece: a series of seven legal thrillers. They feature Andy Carpenter: lawyer/philanthropist, rescuer of the wrongly accused, and of down-on-their-luck dogs. A recurring cast of characters includes Laurie, on again/off again girlfriend; Willie, reformed thug with a heart of gold; Kevin, legal assistant/laundromat operator; and Judge Hatchet, testy yet worthy opponent. Andy struggles to balance the out-of-district ambition of his police officer girlfriend with his desire to stay firmly rooted in his beloved New Jersey. He loves beers, basketball and his remote control, but his moral compass requires more. He delivers it. Start with “Open and Shut.” Although each novel can stand alone, like the Grafton, Kellerman and Stephen White series, there is a progression of events and character development. When done right, they offer new visits with old friends.

Reviewers have variously said: “Rosenfelt’s got it all … and displays it all with an economy that should make his courtroom brethren hang their heads in shame” (Kirkus Reviews) and ” … the balance of humor and mystery is dead-on. Read it as soon as you can” (Booklist).

I concur. Rosenfelt is entertaining and accessible. He welcomes comments and responds to e-mails. In real life, he has rescued over 4,000 dogs and currently shares his home with 27 golden retrievers.

All his novels leave you connected and satisfied. All are available at Summit County Libraries. So, let it snow. There is an antidote – and we need the moisture.


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