ANDY CARPENTER is just another hard-working criminal lawyer and sports nut with a gift for gab living in the Paterson, New Jersey burbs when his father, 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 (several other recent legal thrillers -- including John Grisham's The Summons and Stephen L. Carter's The Emperor of Ocean Park -- also use 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. He's also a flashy, successful trial lawyer with more than a few tricks up his sleeves, and he proves to be a pretty competent detective, as well.
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, 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 marraiage 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 his Tara, beloved Golden Retriever, a house he likes a lot, and an on-going relationship with Laurie that seems to be going places.
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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