Fresh Meat: Airtight by David Rosenfelt

Airtight by David RosenfeltAirtight by David Rosenfelt is thriller of murder, family loyalty, and corruption (available February 12, 2013).

When a judge is found murdered in his garage, the New Jersey police department take action on a mission to find his killer. Luke Somers is lead on the investigation and the clues he follows bring him to Steven Gallagher, a drug user who was about to be sentenced by the deceased judge. When the police show up at Steven’s place, things go from bad to worse and Luke shoots Steven when he pulls a gun of his own.

The media is in a frenzy, congratulating Luke for catching the judge’s killer and making sure justice was served, albeit in the form a dead perpetrator. It’s the kind of media coverage and sensationalism we see in real life. But Luke isn’t happy about the attention.

The publicity shit had hit the fan sometime during the night. Barone had alerted the Governor, the media, and the FBI, in that order. I was already being called a hero, which didn’t thrill me and led me to believe that our hero standards are being lowered somewhat. I had shot a drug- addled kid sitting on the floor; that didn’t exactly make me Davy Crockett defending the Alamo.

Lester Holt conducted the interview, which was fairly uncomfortable. He kept trying to talk to me, since I was the one who did the shooting, but Barone kept cutting in. It’s not that he was imparting crucial information; he basically repeated the mantra that the investigation was ongoing, so there was very little we could say. If I were Holt, I would have asked that if there was nothing we could say, what the hell were we doing there? But he didn’t. Nor did anyone else, and there were plenty of opportunities.

Steven’s brother Chris Gallagher, however, is not singing Luke’s praises. Instead, he knows that they’ve killed the wrong guy and decides to make Luke pay. He kidnaps Luke’s brother Bryan, hiding him away in an unknown, airtight location with only seven days of oxygen for him to breathe, satellite television, and email access on a computer with limited battery life. Luke must either conclusively prove that Steven Gallagher was the judge’s killer, or find who was really responsible. If he doesn’t, Bryan will suffocate.

As he mounts an investigation, he starts to see that there are more players than he thought, and the evidence isn’t quite as clear as everyone imagined.

David Rosenfelt manages to keep you on the edge of your seat by telling the story from two angles. You are alongside Luke as he rushes to find out the truth and save his brother from certain death. The reader is also in that airtight container with Bryan, as he sits alone and helpless. His emails to his brother are the only thing that connects him to the outside world and he has very little to offer him that will help pinpoint his location.

Lucas . . . something happened this morning. I was watching television at about ten forty-five, and the satellite went out for about five minutes. Then, maybe twenty minutes later, it went out for three minutes. Could it be the weather? Would that have happened everywhere, or just certain areas?

Sorry to say serial numbers have been scraped off. He’s smart. Please be smarter (just this once).

Let me hear from you.

It’s interesting, I found myself wondering what I would do in the same situation. Who I would email, what I would say. I’ve read David Rosenfelt before, but I am used to his funny Andy Carpenter series. This was my first foray into the thriller/suspense books that he writes. As much as I love the lighter, funnier stuff, I very much enjoyed the darker side of the author. He really is able to write great stories in each genre.

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Kerry Hammond has been an avid mystery reader ever since she discovered Nancy Drew at the age of 8. She enjoys all types of stories, from thrillers to cozies to historical mysteries.

Read all posts by Kerry Hammond for Criminal Element.


  1. Deborah Lacy

    @Kerry – Thanks for another great review. I will add this one to my TBR pile.

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