So far three women in the New Jersey area have been murdered, with their hands cut off to further complicate the crime scene. Journalist Daniel Cummings is in direct contact with the murderer and acting as a liaison with the police until the last murder, when Cummings is arrested as the killer. Against his better judgment, attorney Andy carpenter agrees to defend Cummings, even in the face of damning physical evidence. The case has all the earmarks of defeat, as Carpenter struggles with complex clues that lead directly back to Cummings. By this time I am at page 95 and bored.
If I only reluctantly read 95 pages of a mystery/suspense novel that is about 250 pages, then this particular fiction has failed. Sure, lawyer Andy Carpenter is rich enough to pick his cases and glib enough to offer a smart remark in every other paragraph, but the basic elements of suspense writing have not been met. This isnít a formula you can put your finger on; either the mystery has a pulse or it doesnít. From my point of view, Bury the Lead flatlines way too early.
An eccentric group of characters from ex-cons to hookers and mob figures donít do much to spice up the menu, perhaps because Rosenfelt uses humor as a substitute for passion. In this case, the stale jokes are an avoidance of the skills necessary to build a truly suspenseful story. Save the cost of this hardcover mystery and wait for the paperback edition. Better yet, get Bury the Lead from the public library.