I watch sixteen football games over nine hours. It's an extraordinary accomplishment...With the remote secure in the palm of my hand, or more often resting on my chest, I am all powerful. I haven't missed an important play since the Carter administration. His streak of murder case acquittals made him a regular on cable talk shows. His recent $22 million inheritance bought him a dog rescue operation named after his beloved golden retriever. Now after turning down cases left and right, attorney Andy Carpenter feels like he's facing a midlife crisis. And just when he decides he needs some real work, a newspaper owner friend asks Andy to protect his star reporter. Daniel Cummings is being used as a mouthpiece by a serial killer...but the reporter gets way too close to his story when he's found near the murderer's latest victim. Quickly working to save what's left of Cummings's rep, Andy soon makes news himself when he starts receiving death threats-and moves dangerously close to becoming tomorrow's big obituary.
Read an Excerpt
Bury the Lead
By David Rosenfelt
Mysterious PressCopyright © 2004 David Rosenfelt
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAS SOON AS I WALK IN, the woman gives me the eye.
This is not quite as promising a situation as it sounds. First of all, I'm in a Laundromat. The actual name is the Law-dromat, owned by my associate Kevin Randall. Kevin uses this business to emotionally, as well as literally, cleanse himself of the rather grimy things we're exposed to in our criminal law practice. In the process he dispenses free legal advice to customers along with detergent and bleach.
Also, the woman giving me this particular eye is not exactly a supermodel. She's maybe four feet eleven inches tall, rather round, and wearing a coat so bulky she could be hiding a four-gallon jug of Tide under it. Her hair is stringy and most likely not squeaky clean to the touch.
Truth be told, even if we were in a nightclub and the woman looked more like Halle than Boysen Berry, I doubt I could accurately gauge the situation. I'm no better than average-looking myself and thus have almost no experience with women giving me the eye. In fact, though I'm not in the habit of counting offered body parts, it's safe to say that over the years I've gotten the finger more than the eye. And I've probably gotten the boot more than both of them combined.
To totally close off any romantic possibilities in this encounter, I remain inlove with, and totally faithful to, one Laurie Collins. So no matter how this round stranger tries to tempt me, I'm not about to engage in an early evening bout of tawdry Laundromat sex.
I notice that the woman's eyes start alternating between me and the door, though no one else is entering. And as I move in her general direction, she starts to inch toward that door. This woman is afraid of me.
"Hi," I say, figuring a clever opening like that will put her at ease. Instead, she just nods slightly and seems to draw inward, as if she wants to become invisible. "Kevin around?" I ask.
The woman mutters, "No ... I don't know ...," then gathers her clothes, which she hadn't yet put into the machine, and quickly leaves. In the process she bangs into Kevin's cousin Billy, who is just coming in. Billy runs the place when Kevin is not around.
"Hey, Andy. What's with her?" Billy asks.
"I'm not sure. I think she was afraid she might succumb to my charms."
He nods. "We've been getting a lot of that lately."
"What do you mean?"
Billy just points toward a shelf high up in the corner of the room, and for the first time I realize that there is a television up there. It's turned to local news, though the sound is off. There was a day when that would have been a problem, but now all the stations have that annoying crawl along the bottom of the screen.
The subject of the newscast is the murder of a woman last night in Passaic, the third such murder in the last three weeks. The killer has chosen to communicate and taunt the police through Daniel Cummings, a reporter for a local newspaper, and in the process has created a media furor. The woman who just left is not alone in her fear; the entire community seems gripped by it.
"They making any progress?" I ask, referring to the police.
Billy shrugs. "They're appealing to the guy to give himself up."
I nod. "That should do the trick. Where's Kevin?"
"Is he sick?" I ask, though I know better. Kevin has as many admirable qualities as anyone I know, but he happens to be a total hypochondriac.
Billy laughs. "Yeah. He thinks his tongue is swollen and turning black. Kept sticking it out for me to look at."
"Was it swollen?"
He shakes his head. "Nope."
"Did you tell him that?" I ask.
"Nope. I told him he should get it checked out, that he might be getting 'fat black tongue' disease." He shrugs and explains, "I'm a little short this month; I needed the hours."
I nod; the more time Kevin spends at the doctor, the more time Billy gets to work here. I hand an envelope to Billy; it had come to the office for Kevin. "Give this to him, okay?"
"You making deliveries now?" he asks.
"I'm on my way to the foundation."
Billy nods. "Listen, do me a favor? When you see Kevin, tell him his tongue looks like a bowling ball."
Excerpted from Bury the Lead by David Rosenfelt Copyright © 2004 by David Rosenfelt. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
A Double Dose of David Rosenfelt
Fans of courtroom drama will enjoy David Rosenfelt's Andy Carpenter novels. Andy is a North Jersey lawyer with a flair for the dramatic and a deep dedication to justice. He's generous with his wealth, a devoted lover, a loyal friend, and crazy about dogs -- especially his golden retriever, Tara. After getting an innocent man off death row (in the Edgar Awardnominated first novel Open and Shut) Andy finds it tough to choose his next client. He overcomes that "lawyer's block" in First Degree, agreeing to defend a crook accused of the brutal murder of a dirty cop. Andy has reason to believe his unsavory client is innocent of this particular crime. Unfortunately, his efforts to prove it make Andy's lover, Laurie, the new prime suspect. Then, in Bury the Lead, a friend's plea pulls Andy into defending a journalist accused of being the serial killer he'd claimed had chosen to speak through his column. Deliver your own verdict, as David Rosenfelt gives Ransom Notes some fascinating evidence about how he created the captivating characters and events in the Andy Carpenter series.
David Rosenfelt: When I started writing, I naturally gravitated towards what I like to read -- mysteries. It's audience participation literature that allows the reader to enter a world in which logic and emotion coexist as equal partners.
Other than our shared hometown of Paterson, New Jersey, my lead character Andy Carpenter's biography is quite different from my own. He's a lawyer, and I spent most of my adult life marketing movies. The only real similarity is that Andy and I can both be relentlessly argumentative and sarcastic. In fact, that's why I made Andy a lawyer. It's the one profession where those qualities are admired. However, not being a lawyer myself, I bring a layman's point of view to Andy's client selection. A criminal trial is an incredibly long and arduous experience for a defense attorney. I could not see going through that if I knew my client didn't deserve his freedom. I made Andy extremely wealthy so that he can afford to pick and choose his cases.
Laurie's being the defendant in First Degree made it personal for Andy in a way that nothing else could; he literally could not imagine living his life while she was behind bars. Laurie is Andy's link to human sensitivity; she exposes him to the kind of things that he can't learn by clicking his TV remote. His love for her is the one thing he can't control -- a vulnerability that cannot be shielded by logic or wisecracks. Likewise, he only agreed to work for Daniel in Bury the Lead, despite his doubts about the man's innocence, because the case was crucially important to his friend Vince. Since Andy can count his good friends on very few fingers, when one of them needs him, he's there.
Ransom Notes: Why did you make Andy so interested in rescuing dogs from death row? DR: Shortly after my dog (the real Tara) died in 1993, my wife and I started the Tara Foundation, dedicated to rescuing large dogs. To date we have rescued over 4,000 dogs. When the foundation has a dog that is too old or sick to be wanted by others, I bring it home. The point, if it isn't already obvious, is that I am a certified dog maniac, and I have decided to spread my lunacy through Andy.
RN: Do you like to hear from readers?
DR: Hearing from the terrific people who take the time to let me know their reactions to what they've read makes going to the computer each morning a pleasure for me. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or through my web site at www.davidrosenfelt.com.