Book Review: The K Team by David Rosenfelt
Fresh from the latest in David Rosenfelt’s superlative Andy Carpenter series comes a brand new spin-off featuring the investigative unit Laurie and Marcus decided to found at the end of Dachshund Through The Snow. The K Team is both the name of their little squad, as well as the title of the debut novel in this series. While The K Team features Laurie – former cop turned private investigator for Andy, her wise-cracking defense attorney husband – as well as the extremely strong and equally silent Marcus, the real focal point of this novel is their third teammate Corey Douglas, the retired cop whose German Shepherd K-9 partner inspired their name. Corey does most of the narrating, and I’ll admit that while I was a little disappointed that Laurie wasn’t a viewpoint character in these pages, I can understand Mr. Rosenfelt not wanting to stray too far from what he knows.
The K Team was set up to investigate cases outside of Andy’s purview, a relief to the latter, whose main aim in life is doing as little work as possible. So it’s a bit ironic that their first job comes with the proviso that Andy is also attached to the case in order to add a layer of attorney-client privilege to the proceedings. Judge Henry “Hatchet” Henderson is being blackmailed. Well, sort of. He’s being sent all sorts of information that insinuates corruption and other scandals but hasn’t been asked to do anything by the anonymous senders yet. Proactively, he’s decided to hire The K Team to look into the matter before things get out of hand.
Assuming that this has something to do with the judge’s upcoming court docket, the team begins to investigate all his forthcoming cases, sometimes together, sometimes separately. Corey and Simon Garfunkel, as his K-9 partner is named, decide to have a chat with a suspect in a park, where some of Corey’s background as a cop comes into play:
“You’re a cop,” he said, dispensing with ‘hello’.
I’ve actually thought about this. I have enough leftover ID to pass as a current police officer, and it certainly could help in some investigations for people to think so. But I’m not going to actively deceive in that manner; it doesn’t feel right. I retired, so if there are perks to being active, I’m not entitled to them.
But in this case Kenny has made the assessment and I am under no obligation to correct him. So I neither confirm nor deny; he can think whatever he wants.
This painstaking approach isn’t the only way that Corey differs both from Andy and from amnesiac Doug Brock, the hero of Mr Rosenfelt’s other mystery series. While Corey is a (retired) cop through and through, he’s also a good cop, much like Laurie was when she was still on the force. So after the team comes to an investigative dead end with Judge Henderson’s upcoming cases, Corey is surprised when Laurie suggests that they call in Sam Willis, Andy’s accountant and secret genius hacker, to engage in not strictly legal activities in order to dig deeper:
As a cop, I was known as something of a hard ass, which means I was a stickler who did things by the book. There were a few exceptions over the years, but those resulted from my considerable temper overcoming my rationality, at least in the moment.
“You know how I feel about this,” I say.
She nods. “Yes, I know, and for the most part I agree. But here’s the other way to look at it. First of all, we should consider Sam’s potential involvement on a case by case basis, and only if there are no viable alternatives. Second, we should and will only use any information we get in the pursuit of justice.”
“We are not the people that get to decide what is justice and what isn’t,” I say.
Will this ethical quandary put an end to The K Team just as they’re getting started? Or will sinister figures with a callous disregard for human life be the means by which the team is stopped for good?
With his straight-laced perspective and complicated personal life, Corey is a fun new addition to Mr. Rosenfelt’s stable of leads. I’m not as much of a fan of his as I am of Andy or Doug so far, but I’m more than happy to read more books starring him and the rest of The K Team. As Mr. Rosenfelt’s Number One Fangirl on this site, though, I did think this mystery was a little less tightly plotted than his previous ones, with loose ends that I was surprised to see from him. That said, this was still a highly entertaining crime novel that features the coolest retired police dog you’ll ever meet.