Tuesday, August 23, 2022

#MacmillanAudio Review of Holy Chow by David Rosenfelt

Today I'm reviewing the Macmillan Audio version of David Rosenfelt's latest in his Andy Carpenter series, Holy Chow. I love everything about this series from the comedy, the mystery and of course the pups! See why I thought this one was so good.

Publisher: Macmillan Audio
Release Date: 07-05-2022
Length: 6 hours-27 minutes
Source: Publisher for review
Buy It: Audible/Chirpbooks



"Gardner's familiarity with Andy and the team is clear as he characterizes the larger-than-life characters with aplomb. His spot-on timing allows Andy's wisecracks to shine, while his subtle changes in inflection help signal passages not told from Andy's point of view. The result is a thoroughly enjoyable listen."- AudioFile Magazine

This program is read by longtime series and award-winning narrator, Grover Gardner.

In Holy Chow, the next mystery from bestselling author David Rosenfelt, the beloved characters—both human and canine—of this fan favorite series are back on the case with the author’s trademark wit and humor.

Retired lawyer Andy Carpenter’s calling has always been running the Tara Foundation. The dog rescue organization places hundreds of dogs in new homes every year. It’s added up to so many dogs and new owners that Andy can’t even do the math. But there’s one dog—and one owner—Andy will always remember.

About a year ago, Rachel Morehouse came to the foundation looking for a companion. In her sixties and recently widowed, Rachel wanted a senior dog that also needed someone. Andy took a liking to her, Rachel took a liking to Lion, an older Chow Chow, and the rest is history.

That is, until Rachel calls Andy begging for a favor: If Rachel dies, will Andy take care of Lion if her stepson cannot? Andy agrees, no questions asked, and promptly forgets about it... until he receives a call from Rachel’s estate to attend her will reading. Which is where he meets Rachel’s stepson, Tony, who is promptly arrested for his stepmother’s murder. And he wants Andy to prove his innocence.

Andy has continued to learn more about the woman he so greatly admired and the businesses she ran, and holy chow, was this woman impressive. The person who killed her deserves to be held accountable, and if Tony is to be believed, they’re still out there. And that possibility is too much for Andy to remain on the sidelines.

A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books.

Read an excerpt:

Matt Reisinger knew what he needed and when he needed it.

It was the key to his business success. Most executives on his level would credit some business mentor, or perhaps a parent, or maybe a business school professor, as the person who most helped them along the way.

Not Matt. Without question, in his mind the individual most responsible for his professional achievements was Mother Nature.

Twice a year Matt would drive from his Cincinnati home to the mountains of North Carolina. He always chose to drive, though as the CEO of a company that supplied private planes to wealthy clients, he obviously could easily and comfortably have traveled by air.

Driving was part of the mental cleansing; it was the time in which he made the transfer from his high-pressure job to his period of freedom. By the time he arrived at the mountains, his head was clear and he had put the real world behind him.

These trips had an irony that always became clear to him afterward, yet always surprised him. Even though he almost never thought about business or his job while he was there, he always returned with a bunch of ideas and new strategies.

Obviously, clearing his mind left space to think in fresh ways. He even thought about mandating these kinds of outings for the executives under him, but decided that it was impractical, and also that not everyone was likely to react in the same way.

He always stayed up on the mountains for four days, hiking and camping. He brought all the supplies he would need with him in the car, since it was not the kind of place where you can run in to a Walmart. He never varied this routine, which had served him well over the years.

Matt’s life was privileged; it had always been. He was born into a reasonably wealthy family, had been taught the value of money and ambition, and had done what he needed to maintain his lifestyle. But up on the mountain, none of that mattered; he was like everyone else, dealing with the elements and the difficulties that the wilderness presented, and that appealed to him on a basic level.

He was in the third day on this current trip, which was typically the day when he started dreading his return to the real world. That dread usually peaked on the fourth day and then started to wane, and by the time he’d driven back home he would always be refreshed and enthusiastic.

But this trip and this time were different. He was dealing with business and personal challenges he had never before faced, yet he had resolved to confront them. It might change his life, but he could not turn away from these challenges.

Matt always slept on the inside of the trail, away from the ledge. He didn’t have a fear of heights, but he did have a healthy respect for them. He was not prone to walking in his sleep, but there was no sense taking any chances.

Matt woke up and, as he had on the previous two days, made a fire, cooked himself breakfast and made coffee. Every day in North Carolina breakfast was the same … bacon, eggs, and oatmeal … and plenty of coffee. That was true of Matt both on the mountain and in the office: he required copious amounts of coffee.

“Is that real coffee? Or am I dreaming?”

Matt looked up to see another hiker. This big guy was obviously in good shape, and he carried a large backpack with ease. He had a smile on his face and made eye contact with Matt, though the stranger occasionally glanced eagerly at the coffeepot.

“It’s real,” Matt said. “I’m guessing you’d like some?”

“I’ll trade you two protein bars and an apple. If necessary I’ll throw in my firstborn. I forgot to bring coffee with me, the first and last time that will ever happen.”

“Well, I can’t make you a nonfat, no-foam venti latte, but I can definitely give you some black coffee. No trade necessary.”

Matt didn’t tell him his name or shake his hand. Those were unnecessary courtesies up here; they knew they would never see each other again. But Matt was happy to supply coffee and make this guy’s time on the mountain easier and more pleasant; that was the way that things were done in this world.

The way they should be done in every world.

He poured the guy a cup of coffee and handed it to him. The stranger reached for it with his left hand and punched Matt in the face with his right. The punch traveled less than a foot, but was tremendously powerful.

Matt quite literally never saw it coming and was never able to reflect on it because he instantly lost consciousness. His face was badly bruised and starting to bleed, but the stranger was not concerned about that because plenty of bruising and bleeding was to follow.

No one would ever be able to determine that this blow was the first damage to Matt’s body. No coroner in the world was that good.

The stranger looked around to make sure that no other hikers were within sight, though he had already scouted out the area. He quickly put on gloves, so as not to leave fingerprints, then gathered all of Matt’s stuff and repacked it, leaving it not far from the ledge.

He almost effortlessly picked up Matt’s unconscious body and tossed it over the ledge. There was no way to tell when Matt actually died from the impacts he made along the way, but that wouldn’t matter to anyone, least of all the stranger.

There would be no reason to suspect foul play, and certainly no way to prove it. Matt was a hiker who for a horrible moment was not careful, and who had paid for it with his life.

In everyone’s eyes, it would just look as if Matt had lost a battle with Mother Nature.

“Mr. Carpenter, this is Rachel Morehouse. I don’t know if you remember me.”

My memory seems to fail me every day; for example, I should start walking my cell phone on a leash to remember where I’ve put it. But I definitely remember Rachel Morehouse.

“Of course I do. How are you, Rachel?”

“I’m fine, thank you.”

“Is there a problem with Lion?” I clutch the phone a bit tighter. I do not want there to be a problem with Lion. He is a magnificent dog, a chow chow, and we named him Lion because his looks reminded me of the Cowardly Lion in The Wizard of Oz.

Lion is the reason I am able to find Rachel in my depleted memory bank. One day about a year ago she walked into the Tara Foundation, the dog rescue group that I run with my partner, Willie Miller. She saw Lion and fell in love, adopting him immediately.

Until that day Lion had been a bit of a problem for us. Not only was he large and approaching senior age, two qualities that made placing him in a home more difficult, but he had an alleged biting incident in his past. That made it much more difficult, and we had him for almost six weeks. I was afraid his wait to find a loving home would drag on forever.

But enter Rachel Morehouse, a tiny woman in her sixties who looked comical next to Lion. He was almost as big as she was, and when they left, it was hard to tell who was walking whom.

She said that she had lost her husband a while back and was all alone. She wanted a dog who needed her and who she could love and care for the rest of his life. Lion fit the bill perfectly; and right now I’m afraid that something might have happened to change that.

“Oh, no, Lion is fine,” she says. “Wonderful, actually. More than wonderful.”

“I’m glad to hear that; you had me worried for a minute.”

“Sorry, but Lion is the reason I am calling.”

“You want a brother for him? Or maybe a sister? That would not be a problem.”

She laughs. “No, but I do want to make sure he’s taken care of.”

“You’re losing me.” People seem to lose me a lot these days; my wife, Laurie, thinks I should wear a collar with a name tag or maybe tie a bell around my neck.

“People don’t live forever, Andy. If something happened to me, I want to make sure Lion is cared for.”

“Oh. So you’d want me to take him? And find him a great home? That I can guarantee.” I’m not sure what I was expecting her to say, but this is an easy promise.

“Thank you; I knew you would. But you’re in second position; my stepson is coming to visit; I’m going to ask him as well.”

“Whatever you need, Rachel. Does your stepson like dogs? Because Lion is a lot of dog.”

She laughs again; Rachel Morehouse has a great laugh. “You know something? I don’t know. I’m trying to reestablish our relationship. Family, Andy. You know how that can be.”

Actually, I don’t, at least not firsthand. My family relationships have always been comparatively good, but obviously there have been issues in Rachel’s. I don’t know what they are, and I’m not about to ask.

“Well, I’m here if you need me. But I sure as hell hope it’s a long time before you do.”

“So do I, Andy.” Her tone is suddenly serious. “So do I.”

Opening day has always excited me.

Going with my father to the season opener at Yankee Stadium, as we did every year, was a tradition that in my mind stood out above all others. Even when I became a Yankee hater, in the George Steinbrenner / Billy Martin era, I just switched over to the Mets and went to their first game every year instead.

Today’s opening day is a bit different, but every bit as exciting, maybe even more so. My son, Ricky, is a pitcher and shortstop on his Little League team, and today they are starting the season by playing Clifton at Eastside Park.

My wife, Laurie, and I are here to watch Ricky in action, and she is almost as proud and excited as I am. He’ll be going to overnight camp soon, so won’t get to play in many of these games, which only heightens the anticipation today. Only one thing is putting a damper on the day, and that is the coach, Frank Vandeweghe.

His philosophy is that all the kids should play, that they are here to have fun and that winning is not the main objective. He believes that eleven- and twelve-year-olds need to learn sportsmanship; he doesn’t want to step on Clifton’s tiny necks and crush their souls.

The man is clearly an idiot.

That idiocy has never been more evident than today. Ricky is starting the game on the bench. A Carpenter on the bench! The coach has told him that this other kid is going to pitch the first three innings, and that Ricky will pitch the next three.

“What’s the difference?” Laurie asks me when I express my outrage to her.

“What’s the difference? What if there are major-league scouts here? How will it look if he can’t even start in Little League?”

“You think there are major-league scouts here to watch this game?”

“You never know. They start really young.”

“I think the coach has the right attitude,” Laurie says. “There’s too much emphasis placed on winning.”

“What are you talking about? Winning is why they keep score. Without winners nobody would know who the losers are. Fans would never boo; coaches would never get fired. It would be chaos. Winning makes the world go round.”

Keeping score today turns out not to be such a good idea, as those Clifton animals beat Paterson by a score of 14–6. Ricky gives up eight of the runs.

When the game ends, Laurie says, “It’s just as well that there were no major-league scouts here.”

“Ricky’s not a relief pitcher,” I say. “He’s a starter. Not starting threw him off. And those Clifton kids were ringers; half of them were over age.”


“I’m telling you, that catcher had to be at least thirty. He probably shaved twenty minutes before the game. His wife and kids were in the stands.”

Ricky and his friend Will Rubenstein, who is the team’s starting third baseman, come over after the coach gives them their postgame pep talk. Will’s father, Brian, is a pediatrician and couldn’t leave his office to see the game.

“Good game, guys,” Laurie says, completely misrepresenting what happened.

“We lost, Mom,” Ricky says.

“But you played hard. You want to go for pizza?”

The prospect of pizza appeals to them, so we head to Patsy’s, easily the best pizza place around. If the kids are upset by the result of the game, they’re hiding it well, so I feign a good mood as well. By the time we’re finished laughing through dinner, I don’t even have to feign it.

We drop Will off at his house and head home. We live on Forty-second Street in Paterson, not far from the park. Once Will is out of the car, I say to Ricky, “You looked good out there on the mound.”

“Good? I gave up seven runs.” But he doesn’t seem that concerned; maybe he knows the major-league scouts didn’t show up.

“Eight,” I say, as Laurie shoots me a dirty look. So I try to fix it. “But one of them was unearned.”

When we get home, Ricky goes off to do his homework, and I take the dogs for a walk. We have three, starting with Tara, a golden retriever who is the greatest dog of all time. She is the Willie Mays of dogs. We also have Sebastian, a basset hound whose main hobbies are sleeping and eating. There are anvils more active than Sebastian. Finally there’s Hunter, a pug who worships Tara and does everything she does.

The four of us go back to Eastside Park, the scene of Ricky’s baseball humiliation, though we don’t go to the lower level where the field is. Instead we stay up top, near the tennis courts. We have to walk slowly, much to Tara’s dismay, because Sebastian regards walking as something to be done with extreme reluctance.

When we get back, Laurie is on the phone, and I hear her say, “He just walked in.” She hands me the phone. “It’s Bernie Hudson.”

Bernie Hudson is an attorney with a firm in Manhattan. He does mostly estate stuff for high-end clients. He lives in Teaneck, and Laurie and I have been out to dinner with Bernie and his wife a few times. I would categorize him as a friend, but not a close one.

We make small talk for a couple of minutes. For me, a small-talk minute is equivalent to an hour; I hate it and am bad at it. Finally I cut it off by saying, “So what’s going on, Bernie?”

Copyright © 2022 by Tara Productions, Inc

My #Macmillan Audio review of Holy Chow:

Holy Chow
Andy Carpenter #25
David Rosenfelt


Holy Chow this was fantastic, a perfect read for the dog days of summer full of murder(s), secrets, corporate coverups and of course dogs! And while it’s #25 in David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter series it’s still fresh and inventive plus it stands well on its own. In this instillation David gives his audience a cozy mystery growing up to be a legal thriller, as usual uses his pups as a sounding board and includes his eclectic team of players to help Andy solve the mystery while winning his case.  Marcus the muscle plays an important role in protecting Andy and speaks in complete sentences (which long-time fans will appreciate). Plus the Bubeleh Brigade make their magic happen investigating and hacking into corporate systems while keeping Andy supplied in important information and rugelach. Andy and his self-deprecating humor will supply full belly laughs as he and wife Laurie and the rest of the team fill the pages with humorous antics and some rather anxious moments and the extra short chapters are ideal. While there is always some suspense in the series this installment has more than it’s share of nail-biting, edge of the seat moments. Fans of this series and of authors like Linda Castillo will find this novel absolutely unputdownable!

Grover Garland once again makes an unforgettable Andy and plays every other role to perfection. His placing just the right sentiment in just the right place gives listeners a definite benefit over readers.

When Rachel Morehouse, a woman who rescued a dog from Andy’s Tara Dog Rescue Foundation asks him to take care of her dog if she dies then ends up murdered Andy is once again forced out of retirement when her stepson, Tony Wasserman, is accused of her murder. Tony had been long estranged from his father but happily agreed to Rachel’s request to build a relationship with each other. Andy is more or less convinced that Tony is innocent especially when it seemed that Tony and Rachel were indeed building a relationship and when it also becomes clear that there is something very fishy going on with the company Rachel inherited.


 About the author:
DAVID ROSENFELT is the Edgar-nominated and Shamus Award-winning author of more than twenty Andy Carpenter novels, including One Dog NightCollared, and Deck the Hounds; its spinoff series, The K-Team; the Doug Brock thriller series, which starts with Fade to Black; and stand-alone thrillers including Heart of a Killer and On Borrowed Time. Rosenfelt and his wife live in Maine with an ever-changing pack of rescue dogs. Their epic cross-country move with 25 of these dogs, culminating in the creation of the Tara Foundation, is chronicled in Dogtripping.


  1. Ooo, yes, I think I could get into these. Cute, fluffy Chow-Chow! :)

  2. I've read and liked a few of these. I want to try the related K-9 series too.

    Anne - Books of My Heart

  3. Sounds really good and I love that he has the pups involved. It makes me want it!