'Twas the Bite Before Christmas
‘Twas the Bite Before Christmas is the twenty-eighth book in the Andy Carpenter series, and I must say up front this book cover is adorable. I mean, who could resist that face? However, for those who may say “Bah Humbug” to Christmas themed books, spike your glass of eggnog and dive in as references to the holiday are mostly limited to this sweet doggie in the window type cover and a few snarky remarks from Andy about what he considers the highly overrated eggnog.
‘Twas the Bite Before Christmas is all about Andy and gang’s efforts to work through a complex group of misfit red herrings with mafia and gang ties to solve a murder and save a client and friend from being convicted of something he swears he didn’t do. Andy believes him, but can he prove it?
The annual Christmas party at the Tara Foundation is in full swing complete with all the trimmings including the often-maligned eggnog when the police arrive. The Tara Foundation, a dog rescue organization, is lawyer Andy Carpenter’s passion and he’s not happy to have to call his friend Derek outside at the request of the police. Derek is slapped into handcuffs, read his rights and carted off to jail to stand trial for the murder of a gang member from Derek’s past. Andy is stunned to learn Derek has been in a witness protection program for years, having testified against members of his former gang. Derek, aka Bobby swears he’s turned his life around and asks Andy to represent him and take care of his two rescue dog adoptees until he returns home. As always, Andy is reluctant to take on another case, but agrees to do some digging and see what turns up. He willingly takes Derek’s two dogs home bringing his in-house total to five. It doesn’t take Andy long to recruit his own gang, wife Laurie, ex-cop Corey and Marcus, to assist him in the quest for answers. Their only hope of clearing Derek’s name is to discover the identity of the real killer.
David Rosenfelt is challenged with the same issue facing many other authors of long running series, and that’s to keep stories fresh, unique and entertaining for readers. I’m happy to say he accomplished these goals in ‘Twas the Bite Before Christmas. This story is beautifully written, fast paced and humorous in all the right places. Rosenfelt presents an interesting, complex case that keeps Andy and his gang befuddled for some time as they pick through all the various clues to find the missing piece that will win the case for the good guys. As always, characterizations are great with a fired-up, highly confident support cast that series readers will recognize. While Andy remains the same reluctant lawyer, his signature courtroom antics with the philosophy that it’s better to ask forgiveness than permission along with his tongue in cheek sense of humor carries the plot forward while entertaining both readers and courtroom participants. The story is nicely rounded out with the individual attitudes and tomfoolery of the family dogs, especially the immensely lazy basset hound Sebastian. While this is one of many Andy Carpenter series books, new readers will have no issue picking it up to read and enjoy as each book stands alone.
‘Twas the Bite Before Christmas is an intriguing mystery and legal thriller with a good side dose of humor and heartwarming scenes. I highly recommend this book to fans of the series as well as readers who love a good who-done-it mystery to solve.
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