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Play Dead

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Talk about muzzling a witness. When dog-loving attorney Andy Carpenter successfully appeals to spare a golden retriever from the gas chamber, he learns the pooch may be the key to a high-profile murder trial from five years earlier. Before you can say ”roll over,” Carpenter’s been shot at by any of a number of suspects: a shady operator from the Newark docks, a Jersey Mob boss, or someone with considerable pull at the Pentagon. In Play Dead, David Rosenfelt concocts a taut thriller full of whiplash plot twists and wisecracking dialogue from Carpenter’s Godfather-quoting partner, proving that he’s long since earned his crime-novelist pedigree. B+