Sunday, May 13, 2007

Open and Shut by David Rosenfelt and much, much more

Open and Shut
Copyright 2002
Warner Books
Fiction - 292 pages

My childhood is filled with great memories, in fact, great ones are the only memories I have. I talked to a shrink about it, and we pretty much agreed that unpleasant things must have happened when I was growing up, but that I had just repressed them. I asked him how long I could go on repressing them, and he said maybe forever. That worked for me, so I left therapy before I could blow it and get in touch with my true feelings.

Before I start chattering about this book, I have to tell you that SuziQ at Blogging My Books reviewed Open and Shut, here. It was her wonderful review that piqued my interest. I told her it sounded like the kind of legal thriller I love to read, the kind with a sense of humor. Suzi assured me that I would enjoy it as it also lacked blood and guts. I trust Suzi and the book was readily available through Paperback Swap, so I ordered a copy. And, I did absolutely love it. This is the quote that really grabbed me, in Suzi's review:

The only sports Nicole tolerates are sports cars, and occasionally sports shirts. It was a problem in our marriage. One time I planted myself on the couch and watched football for so long that she came over and watered me. Tara licked it off my face and I didn't miss a single play.

That quote was, I thought, reminiscent of Harlan Coben (who is quoted on the cover - Suzi mentioned that) and I love a good legal mystery with a sense of humor. Lisa Scottoline's early novels are also favorites of mine.

Open and Shut is the story of an irreverent, wise-cracking lawyer asked to defend a man who has long since been convicted of murder and sentenced to death. His retrial is based on a minor technicality and the case should be open and shut as there was an eyewitness and plenty of incriminating evidence. Willie Miller appears to be guilty as sin. However, as lawyer Andy Carpenter begins to prepare Willie's defense, it becomes obvious that the circumstances surrounding the murder were not what they seemed.

There's a lot more to the story than just a murder mystery and a legal defense process. Andy has a lot going on in his life: loss, danger, unearthing of a family secret, the reappearance of the wife who left him (at a most inconvenient time). The story is perfectly paced, gripping, funny and surprising. Rosenfelt even handled se* scenes just the way I like:

"I had forgotten about you," she says.
"You never shut up."
With that, she prepares to shut me up, except for an occasional moan. She does a really good job of it, but hell, somebody had to.
I have a great night's sleep, which carries right through the usually effective wake-up call planted in my brain.

Perfect. Se* is, in my humble opinion, seldom integral to plot and a waste of time. It's obvious that there was a coupling, but just a few sentences were enough to portray the encounter and skim right past, back to the meat of the story. I appreciated both the lack of graphic se* and the absence of grisly detail about the murder. There's obviously some necessary description, but it was not nightmare-inducing. I enjoyed every minute of reading Open and Shut. In fact, I'm still paying for my inability to put the book down until finishing. The rest of his books will be added to my wish list.

5/5 - gripping, funny, often surprising

Yesterday was a whopper. I should be back to regular posting, now that the husband has been safely shipped off to Italy. He had one heck of a long day with a delay that caused him to miss his international flight by 15 minutes, hours and hours on standby, a storm that temporarily diverted incoming flights, etc. Last I heard, the spouse had arrived and located one of his two bags. He's probably lucky that part of his luggage showed up. And, maybe I should count my blessings that I didn't manage to accompany him.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch . . . or, anyway, back in Jackson . . . the kiddo and I managed to hear a raptor expert who spoke at the Natural Science Museum. Here he is with a small red-tail hawk:

We also dropped by Borders, where we happened across an incredible sale - a wide variety of remaindered books were marked down to $3.99 and $5.99. I was particularly excited to find a copy of The Birth House by Ami McKay, which has been positively reviewed all over the bloggy world. You can imagine my excitement when I got to the cash register and the books marked $3.99 rang up $1.99, while those labeled $5.99 came up $2.99. I got The Birth House for $2.99!!! And, a lot of other books. I am going to be in so much trouble when the spouse returns. I'd better start reading faster.

After Borders and the Natural Science Museum, we headed to the north side of town to stop for reinforcement (food) and then over to Barnes & Noble.

Here's where things got embarrassing. I wandered around Barnes & Noble for about 20 minutes, mostly waiting for the youngster (certified book nut - must spend time in bookstores or he will crumble). I wandered over to the recommended reads because Book Nook Les mentioned her excitement over the choice of The Book Thief as a monthly selection and I love the book so much that I wanted to see it in a prominent place. I was floating along, looking at the recommended reads and then turned around to see that friends from my former writing group (which I'm about to rejoin) were sitting at a table, having a book signing. They'd been betting on how long it would take me to notice them for . . . well, ages. Of course, it was terrific to see them and I ran out to the car to grab the camera. Here they are:

Left to right: Delores Fossen, Melanie Atkins and Rickey Mallory, who also writes as Mallory Kane. I don't really know Delores, but she's written for Harlequin's former Flip Side line and I think she's now writing for Harlequin Intrigue (romantic suspense). Melanie writes romantic crime and paranormal and Rickey has published a large number of Harlequin Intrigue books and one of my all-time favorite sci-fi/time travel stories. I'll post links to their websites in my sidebar, later on. I nabbed a copy of Melanie's book Truth or Dare. Her books can be pretty intense and I was fortunate that she just happened to have a scary-but-not-gruesome paranormal book on hand for the signing. Fun!!

I was totally zonked, last night, but my new little poppet traveled with us to Jackson (where her drawstrings fell off - guess I'll have to find her a new traveling bag) and I posed her in various spots at the Natural Science Museum. Since I'm having such a grand time dragging my tiny toy around and posing her, I decided to give her a blog of her own with SuziQ's The Adventures of Pirate Bendy as my inspiration. You can follow Poppet's adventures at Poppet's Magnificent Traveling Adventures. I've posted 7 photos and will add more, soon, as well as a link in my sidebar.

Best kid news of the week: Youngster was inducted into Beta Club for making the A/B honor roll - very nice thing for college applications. And, while waiting for him at poolside, the pool manager - who taught the Red Cross Lifesaving Course kiddo recently finished - told me she was disappointed that, at 15, he's not old enough to hire. She said my son was her best student, great at "absolutely everything". Cool. And, it's always nice to know that your child has both an employable skill and the ability to restart someone's heart.

Coming up: A sticky sign-up post for a Rises the Night drawing. I was so tired, last night, that I actually can't remember what I read before falling asleep. I'll have to look around and see if I dropped any books on the floor. Sometimes when I'm tired, I make my family giggle.

Did I tell you my lily bloomed the day after I posted a photo of the buds for Wahoo Wednesday? Here it is:

Happy Mother's Day to all the mamas!!!


  1. What a post! Lots going on I see!
    The books sounds great. I've been looking for a legal thriller lately, but had no idea who's good and who's not, so I was so happy to see your review and to see that it got a 5/5. I'll have to give this one a shot.

    I'm glad to see that your husband made it to Italy safe even if his luggage may have not made it completely yet :/ Hopefully that's on it's way too!

    Oh, I love those kinds of book sales...the REALLY cheap ones. I usually get quite a few stares as I bring my piles up to the cash registers when the books are discounted that much :p You have to camouflage those books onto the shelves before your husband gets back home :)

    I'm loving your poppet blog! It's the best thing since sliced bread! Very excited about that :)

    Congrats to your boy! Beta club's a big deal, and life guarding is such a great skill to have. He sounds great!

    Your lily is beautiful. I love that color. And of course, Happy Mother's Day to you!!!

  2. Congratulations on all your book deals. The Birth House is WONDERFUL. I have to admit, I'm a little bit sad for Ami McKay to hear that it's already on a remainder table. It's such a great book and I hope more people read it. Well, maybe they will at $2.99!

  3. Open and Shut sounds like my kind of book. I'll definitely have to check it out. I have never read anything by David Rosenfelt, although I've come across his name now and then.

    I hope your husband is able to get his second baggage returned to him soon.

    Your day visiting the museum and bookstores sounded like heaven!

    Congratulations to your youngest and what a lovely photo of your lily!

  4. Chris,

    Boy, yes, we've been very busy! Open and Shut is a great one; I hope you do read it.

    Hopefully, hubby will manage to get his other suitcase back. I always worry about luggage when I travel; it's too easy for someone to shove the wrong bag onto a plane going a different direction! So far, luggage has always caught up with us.

    I'm so glad you're as bad as I am. I really don't need any more books at all, but it's awfully hard to resist when the price is right and the titles have been on the wish list for a while! I already confessed to the husband, who was fairly forgiving because he was just happy I wasn't snarling at him (I was very angry with him when he left, for reasons I won't go into).

    Oh, thank you. Poppet may soon be in the running for most-photographed toy. LOL

    I do have a terrific kid. Now, if I could just get him to comb his hair.

    And, thank you. Isn't that lily spectacular? The color is amazing. Mother's Day was quiet, apart from my first experience as a passenger with the kiddo driving. Oh, my gosh! It was horrible! I had to make him pull onto a parking lot and let me take over. We have some work to do!!


    I've heard so many wonderful comments about The Birth House that I'm really excited to finally own a copy. My guess is that it's remaindered because the publisher had enough faith to go for a large print run. Printing a bit more than those ordered is a leap of faith, especially for a beginning author. It's all good, really. :)


    I don't think I'd ever heard of David Rosenfelt until Suzi's review. I'm so glad she recommended him!

    Hopefully, that suitcase will arrive soon. Hubby travels a lot and eventually the suitcases tend to catch up.

    We had a great day - very tiring, but so fun. I was hoping to find a copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell (which I recently saw on the bargain shelves at Borders) but it was gone. Ask me if I care, since I ended up with quite a few other titles on my wish list!

    Thank you and thank you. :)

  5. I think that IS a good example of a sex scene. I'm not squeamish or anything, but it's been written about so much there's really nothing new to say about it. And it doesn't really advance the plot, usually.

  6. My sentiments exactly, Bybee. :)

  7. THAT was a post!! Open and Shut sounds great! I haven't read a good legal thriller in a while. I hope your husband gets the rest of his luggage soon. That's never fun.

    Congrats to your son! Beta club is a big deal and yes, it looks great on college app's!

    Happy Momma's Day to you too!

  8. Stephanie,

    It was kind of a long post, wasn't it? LOL I hadn't read a legal thriller in quite a while, either. Open and Shut was just right for me because I needed something light-hearted.

    Hubby has written me a few emails and he said he got his second suitcase. He went out looking for a shirt, just in case, though.

    Thanks. I'm proud of the kiddo. He works hard when he's not sleeping through class.

    Hope you had a good Mother's Day! My eldest called but we celebrated last week, so it was just another day. :)

  9. LOVE the poppet site! Love!

    Congrats on the cheap books! I wish I'd run up on a sale like that. No! No I don't! I have to remember that I'm gonna have to move all my books cross-country soon! Ugg!

  10. Oh I LOVE it when a recommendation works out !!

    Hope the suitcase has arrived. I've now got Poppet's blog on my feed reader list - I always love looking at your photos.

    I think I may be reading Rosenfelts second book soon :-)

  11. Andi,

    Thanks. I have such fun with my poppet. :)

    I might have to foist some of my bargains on you, after you've moved. I read one of them last night: We Are All Fine Here by Mary Guterson. I love it when a book is so quick and easy.


    Me, too! And, the opposite is true - it's horrible when a recommended book shows up on someone's "oh, my gosh, that was torture" list. LOL

    The suitcase made it. Hubby emailed to let me know he went shopping for a white shirt, but then the suitcase arrived.

    Thanks, Poppet looks forward to your visits and I appreciate the compliment. :)

    Oh, boy! I can't wait to hear what you think of the next Rosenfelt book!

  12. Good grief! I don't know where to begin with this comment. You have been one busy lady!! First things first - I hope you enjoy The Birth House. I was actually going to email you and see if you want my copy when I'm finished. I'm just not lovin' it like I'd hoped. I'm going to stick with it and see if it's just a mood/busy life thing, but at this point, I'm missing all the joy others found in it. Sigh.

    Let's see, what else - glad your hubby finally made it to Italy. Yah, I don't think I'd do to well with all the delays. Hope he has better luck with his return flights.

    I've got the poppet blog bookmarked. Not sure when I'm going to find time to look at more blogs, but I continue to add them to my favorites in spite of neglecting many this past month.

    Oh! Rod read Open and Shut and said it was very good and that he'd like to read more by Rosenfelt. From the passages you included, he does sound like Myron Bolitar, so I'll definitely have to seek this one out for myself. Thanks for the great review.

    I'm sure I'm forgetting something to comment on, but it's time to log off and go read.

  13. Les,

    Maybe you should just hang onto The Birth House and give it a try when the fervor dies down. Or, later. Sometimes it's just not the right moment for a particular book, true. I've come back to books and loved them on a second attempt.

    Hubby's doing great and I'm now back to green with envy. He's staying at a lovely little place with a courtyard and has decided we need a courtyard, now. Yeah, right (he called, today - it took three attempts but he finally got patched through enough to tell me what a wonderful time he's having and make me feel bad). I told him, "First, you must get someone to remove the huge poison ivy vines." He said, "No, no, on the other side of the yard!" Yeesh.

    Good news: Poppet is a low-text blog. I think reading long posts (like this one, sorry) is what makes blog-hopping so time-consuming.

    Definitely read Open and Shut if you like Myron.


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