Get Blog Posts Via Email

View RSS Feed


Book Author: David Rosenfelt

CITIZEN K-9 by David Rosenfelt: Book Review

The K-9 Team is definitely an interesting group of investigators.  There’s Corey Douglas, a former sergeant with the Paterson, New Jersey police force; Laurie Collins, also a former cop; and Marcus, an enforcer with no last name given or needed.  And, of course, there’s Simon, Corey’s canine partner when they were both on the force, last name Garfunkel.

The Paterson Police Department, like most others in the country, has an overload of current cases to deal with, but because detectives never want to ignore a case that wasn’t solved no matter how long ago the crime was committed, it has recently established a cold case division.

Pete Stanton, the captain in charge of the department’s homicide division, explains to Corey, Laurie, and Marcus that although money is tight, there is money available from a different part of the budget to hire the K-9 group.  Pete offers them a choice of four cases to investigate, and they decide to investigate the seven-year-old disappearance of two people attending the fifteen-year reunion of the city’s high school.

From all accounts, Chris Vogel and Kim Baskin barely knew each other in high school.  The two left the reunion together, which their friends thought was strange looking back at it, but at the time no one commented on it.  Chris’ car was found on a highway near the school, Kim’s was still parked at the school, and neither of them was seen again nor were their bodies ever found.  The only clue, if that’s what it is, is a playing card, the king of clubs, found in Chris’ abandoned automobile.  However, that led nowhere in the original investigation.

Nevertheless, the team decides to begin their focus with Chris.  His two closest, and perhaps only, friends still live in the area.  Corey first visits Bruce Sharperson, now a professor of psychology at Rutgers University.  His field is predictive theory, which he explains to Corey as an attempt to forecast what will happen in a particular case based on past events.

Sharperson tells Corey that he and a third teenager, Harold Collison, were friends with Chris in high school but afterwards parted ways.  Sharperson says that Chris was developing some habits, including using drugs and possibly gambling, that made him uncomfortable, and Collison, in a later interview with Corey, agrees.  They both stress that although all three of them were academic “nerds,” Chris was absolutely the brightest one.

As the investigation uncovers additional information about Chris’ gambling and drug use, the K-9 team becomes even more certain that he is the reason for the disappearances.  They discover that he owed approximately twenty thousand dollars to a local bookie and had been selling drugs as well as using them.  But then, why involve Kim?  It would seem to have been easier to abduct Chris, either at his home or his place of work, and deal with him in whatever manner the kidnappers wanted.

The team’s human members are likeable and believable, and the plot moves along swiftly.  They are putting their hearts and souls into discovering the truth about this cold case, doing their best to solve a crime that has stymied the Paterson police for years.

David Rosenfelt has written thirty-three novels and three television movies.  In addition, he and his wife started The Tara Foundation, which saves dogs from euthanasia.  In the fourteen years since its founding, The Foundation has saved over 4,000 dogs.

You can read more about David Rosenfelt at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden OldiesPast Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

THE K TEAM by David Rosenfelt: Book Review

Old friends, new friend, old dogs, new dog.  That’s the cast of characters in David Rosenfelt’s first novel in a new series.  He is also the author of the series that features Andy Carpenter, a lawyer and amateur detective.

The setting of The K Team will be familiar to readers of the Carpenter novels.  It’s Paterson, New Jersey, across the river from Manhattan, and the “new friend” is recently retired Paterson police detective Corey Douglas, with his “new dog” Simon.  Simon isn’t new to Douglas, only to the reader, because he was the detective’s canine partner, and through Andy’s clever maneuvering, Douglas was allowed to take Simon with him when he left the force.

Now Douglas has been approached by Laurie Collins, Andy’s wife and a retired police lieutenant herself, to start a private investigations company to be called The K Team in Simon’s honor.  The team’s third human member is Marcus Clark, according to Douglas, “the toughest, scariest man on the planet.”  With everyone in place, the team is ready for its first client.

Via Pete Stanton, another character familiar to readers of the earlier series, the investigators have a case.  Judge Henry Henderson is a well-respected, if not well-liked, jurist, but he is the recipient of a troubling letter.  The letter tells him that he shortly will be called upon to do a service, for which he already has been paid, but Henderson tells the team that he has no idea who has sent this message or what the service is.

When Laurie asks him about having been paid, Douglas, who is the novel’s narrator, expects another negative answer.  Instead, the judge gives the investigators a statement from a bank in the Cayman Islands, showing an account in his name with deposits totaling over $390,000, going back over eighteen months.  Due to the Islands’ confidentiality laws concerning banking, there is no way to trace who deposited the money, even though it is Henderson’s name on the account.

There is a lot going on.  At the same time we read about the team’s investigation, we also read about a mysterious group of ultra-wealthy men who are engaged in an ultra-secret enterprise.  The judge is being followed, a murder is committed, and Henderson receives a photo that shows him opening the door of what is obviously his hotel room and kissing a young woman who, from her appearance, is a prostitute.

Since The K Team is narrated by Corey Douglas, we are privy to his thoughts and to the decisions he and Laurie make.  However, we do not know the identities of the mysterious men who are behind the scheme, what their purpose is, and how they intend to reach their goal.

David Rosenfelt has written an excellent first entry to his second series.  Although the novel features many familiar characters and settings, it’s told in a fresh voice by a sympathetic protagonist who will draw you into the book and keep you engrossed until the end.

You can read more about David Rosenfelt at this website.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her website.  In addition to book review posts, there are sections featuring Golden Oldies, Past Masters and Mistresses, and an About Marilyn column that features her opinions about everything to do with mystery novels.

BLACKOUT by David Rosenfelt: Book Review

Doug Brock is a New Jersey police detective.  He’s honest, aggressive, and, some would say, a loose cannon in his pursuit of criminals.  So it’s no surprise that when Blackout opens he’s been suspended from the force for failing to follow orders.  But, Brock being Brock, that doesn’t deter him from following leads, even as he ends up in a hospital room, unable to remember the events of the past decade.

Doug had been mentoring an orphaned teenager whom he coached in baseball.  He was planning to adopt Johnnie Arroyo as soon as possible.  One night, as they walked along a Teaneck, New Jersey street after dinner, shots were fired at them from a passing car.  Despite Doug’s effort to shield Johnnie, two bullets passed through the young man’s body, killing him instantly.

Certain that he knows the man behind the murder, Doug disobeys orders and starts his own investigation.  Even being put on indefinite suspension doesn’t stop him, and in his downward spiral he has broken off his engagement to fellow officer Jessie Allen.  And then comes his phone call to his partner, Nate Alvarez.

Nate is frankly tired of the emotional basket case that Doug has become.  He’s received too many phone calls about Doug’s unofficial search for Johnnie’s killer, each one more strident and over-the-top than the one before, so only the fact that he’s Doug’s best friend keeps him on the line this time.  In the midst of the call, with Doug telling Nate to call the FBI, the phone on Doug’s end is dropped and Nate hears the devastating sound of two gunshots and then two more.  Then silence.

When Doug awakens five days later from his drug-induced coma, not surprisingly he’s exhausted and weak, barely able to speak.  However, much worse than that is the fact that he believes it is 2005, a decade earlier than the actual date, and that he is twenty-six, ten years younger than his true age.  He’s suffering from retrograde amnesia, with no guarantee that his memory of the last ten years will ever return.

Blackout is a gripping thriller that will captivate the reader from the first chapter.  The police department tells Brock that he apparently was investigating Nicholas Bennett, an important crime figure in the state, but as it’s obvious that Doug has no memory of Bennett or his probable connection to the shooting of Johnnie Arroyo, they withhold some pertinent information from him.

However, there’s enough information for Brock to disregard his captain’s orders to start back to work slowly; he’s frantically hunting his memory for his connection to Bennett and the reason why the crime boss would have tried to have him killed.

All the characters in the novel are terrific–Doug Brock, determined to regain his memory and discover what led to the shooting; Nate Alvarez, trying with little success to rein in his partner and finally agreeing to help him fill in the gaps in his memory; Jessie Allen, the woman Doug can’t remember he was engaged to; and Nicholas Bennett and Ahmat Gharsi, two men of widely disparate backgrounds who are working together to commit a horrific crime.

You can read more about David Rosenfelt at this web site.

Check out the complete Marilyn’s Mystery Reads at her web site.



ON BORROWED TIME by David Rosenfelt: Book Review

A man and his fiancee are driving in her hometown in New York state.  A sudden tornado-like storm whips his car off the road and down a ravine.  When he regains consciousness, he’s surrounded by police and emergency technicians, and he frantically asks them to help him find his fiancee.  But she’s nowhere to be found.

That’s the hook of On Borrowed Time by David Rosenfelt. Richard Kilmer, the novel’s protagonist, is distraught and insists on going back to his fiancee’s parents’ house, where he and Jen have just spent four days, on the chance that she somehow got out of his car and was able to make her way back there.

But when the police take him there the house looks slightly different, older and less well-kept, than the house Richard and Jen left only an hour earlier.  And the woman who answers the door says that she’s never seen Richard before and that her husband has been dead for many years.  When Richard asks about her daughter, she slaps him across the face and slams the door.

Richard returns to his apartment in New York City, still reeling from the accident.  He talks to his two closest friends with whom he and Jen spent several evenings, but they say they never met her.  He goes to the art gallery she and a friend owned, and there’s a different business in that location.  What is going on?

Richard is a free-lance investigative journalist, so he decides to make his next story the search for Jen. After the story appears, he’s contacted by hundreds of cranks–some say they know where Jen is, some claim to be Jen, and some tell him they could get in touch with Jen on the “other side.”

But one night Richard gets a call that is very believable. A woman phones to say she thinks she knows who Jen is and can prove it.  She sends a photo to Richard on his computer, and when he opens his e-mail he’s looking at a photo of his fiancee.

The woman who called Richard, Allison Tynes, claims that her identical twin sister has been missing for several months.  Allie flies to New York from Wisconsin, and when Richard meets her she is, in fact, the double of his missing fiancee.  Together they decide to find out if Julie Tynes and Jennifer Ryan are, or were, one and the same person.

The chapters narrated by Richard  are interspersed with chapters narrated by someone called The Stone.  He is the mastermind of the plot involving Richard, Jen, and a mysterious drug that will make him billions.  But who is he, and why is he having Richard followed and his apartment bugged?

David Rosenfelt has written a real page-turner, a mystery with a touch of medical science fiction built in.  I don’t know how much of what turns out to be the core of the plot is “science” or “fiction,” but it certainly makes for a thrilling ride.

You can read more about David Rosenfelt at his web site.