Andy Carpenter

Created by David Rosenfelt

Baby I’m a rich man…

ANDY CARPENTER is just another hard-working criminal lawyer with a gift for gab, living in the Paterson, New Jersey burbs. Then his dad, Nelson Carpenter, an allegedly straight-arrow former DA, ups and dies, leaving Andy $22 million dollars richer.

Well, what more can a poor boy do, ‘cept to find out where the hell that money came from? That’s the premise of Andy’s first recorded case, the Edgar and Shamus-nominated Open and Shut (2002).

Okay, maybe the dead dad with the dark past isn’t the freshest plot at the time (several other then-recent legal thrillers — including John Grisham’s The Summons and Stephen L. Carter’s The Emperor of Ocean Park — also used it), but Andy’s an appealing character, a wise-ass with a self-deprecating sense of humor and a refreshing lack of respect for wealth and the-powers-that-be.

And he likes dogs.

A lot.

So he’s not all bad.

And while he has the flashy, successful lawyer down pat, he proves to be a pretty competent detective as well, with more than a few tricks up his sleeves.

Not that it seems to impress his wife, a big shot politico’s daughter, or necessarily help him in his on-going relationship with Laurie Collins (later Laurie Carpenter), an attractive but no-nonsense ex-cop turned private eye.

Still, by the 2003 sequel, First Degree, Andy’s doing pretty okay for himself. His marriage may have finally crashed and burned, but he’s got 22 million simolies in the bank.

So he no longer needs to sustain his legal practice–though he does decide to continue to take cases that interest him. And he’s still got Tara, his beloved Golden Retriever, a house he likes a lot, and an on-going relationship with Laurie that seems to be going places.

Possibly to the dogs.

Because somewhere along the line, the series began to emphasize Andy’s love for all things canine, and the series became much more dog-centric, boasting doggy titles and mutts on the cover, and focussing more and more on what we are told is Andy’s true passion: the Tara Foundation, a dog rescue organization he runs.

Even more troubling? Yes, puppies in Christmas stockings are cute. And yes, puppies in Santa hats are cute. But the author has apparently discovered a lucrative sideline within the series penning Christmas-themed books that not only sport cloyingly cute covers but also some of the most painful title puns imaginable.

The Twelve Dogs of ChristmasDeck the HoundsDashshund Through the SnowSilent BiteSanta’s Little Yelpers?

Can a series of TV movies on the Hallmark channel be far away?

Well, maybe not, but in 2020, Laurie and her P.I. partner Marcus Clark, were spun off into a new series, The K Team.


  • “Written with the skill of a veteran, Rosenfelt’s debut legal thriller boasts fresh characters, an engaging narrator, and a plot that forces readers to keep flipping the pages.
    –Booklist on Open and Shut
  • “I… am continually in awe of just how good his writing continues to be… Ordinarily, these books are clever and funny and quite thrilling, but this was the first time I actually felt moved by the proceedings. Great stuff, Mr Rosenfelt.”
    — Doreen Sheridan on Bark of Night (July 2019, Criminal Element)




Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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