Lately I seem to have hit a winning streak for choosing good mysteries to read. (See the post from last week for the first two in this lucky run.) I just finished New Tricks by David Rosenfelt and Donald Westlake's latest Dortmunder mystery Get Real - both fun, entertaining, quick reads for fans of those authors and fans-to-be. If you are not a fan or a fan-to-be, it's possible you are a humorless-mystery-avoider and there is no hope for you. You can stop reading this post now.
Mr. Rosenfelt who grew up in Paterson, N.J., brings back Paterson attorney and dog lover, Andy Carpenter whose client Waggy is a Bernese Mountain puppy, the center of a doggie custody dispute initially and a murder investigation later. Carpenter's patter with his team of eccentric investigators and hypochondriac legal partner is sharp and sarcastic and the courtroom scenes and prosecutor/defense attorney tactics, as explained by Carpenter, are presented clearly to the laymen and seem plausible. For example, Carpenter hopes for a "Perry Mason" moment to save his case, that is, one where the witness breaks down and confesses everything, but it doesn't happen in the real world, only on TV, he adds.
Recommended for readers who like legal mysteries, love dogs, New Jersey, fast Jersey dialogue, believable characters and satisfying plots. Addie gives it 4 bones out of five.
Mystery author Robert Crais in his L.A. Times review of Get Real, the 14th Dortmunder criminal caper cuts to the chase, so to speak:
'Here's the premise: Reality TV producer Doug Fairkeep of Get Real Productions wants to film Dortmunder and his crew planning and committing a major crime. Fairkeep doesn't care so much what this professional burglary crew does; he just wants them to commit a crime -- preferably a felony -- and he wants to broadcast it on national television as his latest reality show. (Working title: "The Gang's All Here." Canyoudigit?)'
The obvious problem, how not to end up in jail, is one that Dortmunder and his gang work around because the TV show money is too good to pass up. Read Mr. Crais' review for more on Get Real and the late, greatly funny Donald Westlake.
For fans of crime capers, humorous mysteries and the many movies made from Westlake's books, like the Hot Rock.