Leader of the Pack is the 10th literary fiction book in the An Andy Carpenter Novel series by author David Rosenfelt.
Throughout his legal career, Andy Carpenter has lost a number of lawsuits. Andy has always believed that Joey Desimone, a man convicted of murder nine years ago, is innocent and believes that Joey’s family’s connection to organized crime played a key role in his conviction. . There’s not much Andy can do for him while he’s serving his prison sentence, Joey suggests he check out Joey’s elderly uncle. He doesn’t want to, but as a favor for Joey, Andy agrees to take his dog, Tara, to visit a few places.
The old man’s memory was gone, but when Andy tried to explain why he was there, something popped into his head. His comments leave Andy wondering if Uncle Nick is confused, or if he might finally hold the key to Joey’s freedom this time. Andy takes this possible thread and follows it into a world where vows of silence are stronger than blood ties, and where people will do anything to ensure their secrets are kept.
This is about the seventh book in the Andy Carpenter series, and by now we have come to know the loosely-formed family around Andy. Each case he takes on is interesting, and he always finds ways to tell us things about his dog, Tara, and his dog rescue foundation, The Tara Foundation, run by a guy he sprung from prison on a trumped-up charge.
The current case takes Andy into mob territory, which is common for him, despite the fact that he paints himself as something of a schlemiel. What initially looks like two local murders turns into something extremely larger. The very end of the book is another twist of our expectations, which I have come to appreciate from Rosenfelt. Grover Gardner can simply do no wrong. No matter what the subject, he has one of the friendliest, most comfortable voices around, and it is always a pleasure to listen to him.
These books are not great literature, and they are not meant to be: they are fun. Period. They may be a bit formulaic, but if you like the formula, as I do, then that just doesn’t bother. I also like the quirk that Andy is wealthy and doesn’t have to work, meaning that each case he takes on has to grab him in some way. If I won the lottery, as people say, this is what I would do with my life. Turning the books into mass-market successes is the icing on the cake.
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