Open and Shut - By David Rosenfelt

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

The “I couldn't have done it without my teammates” speech, which I ordinarily find insufferable, is unfortunately so accurate here that I'm compelled to give it. So, in no particular order, I would like to sincerely thank:

My agents, Robin Rue of Writers' House in New York on the book end and Sandy Weinberg of the Summit Talent and Literary Agency in LA on the film side. They are two of the most talented, honest, dedicated people I've had the good fortune to work with.

The many terrific people at Warner, including but certainly not limited to Jamie Raab, Susan Richman, Bob Castillo, Colin Fox, Julie Lu, and most especially Sara Ann Freed, an outstanding editor who is responsible for any coherence the book might possess. All of them could not be more supportive of a first-time author who doesn't have a clue what he is doing.

Jerry Esbin, David Matalon, and Steve Randall, three friends who were there for me when I needed them, and who taught me that big business can be intelligent and human and a lot of fun.

My legal advisers for the book: George Kentris of Findlay, Ohio, and Eric Weiss of Clifton, New Jersey. They generously lent me their remarkable expertise, and if the book doesn't sell and I find myself forced to commit a serious felony, it'll be in Findlay or Clifton.

Al and Nancy Sarnoff, who provided help in any way they could, and in their case that is considerable.

Those who read the book in its early drafts and offered gentle criticism, which is the only kind I can really tolerate. They include Debbie Myers, Heidi, Ross, Lynn, Rick, Mike, Sandi and Adam Rosenfelt, Stephanie Allen, Betsy Frank, Emily Kim, Jerry Esbin, Steve Randall, Robert Greenwald, Joe Cugini, George Kentris, Amanda Baron, Holly Sillau, Edna, Abbey and Sandy Silver, Nancy Carter, Roz Wagner, Suzanne Jarmusz, Nancy and Al Sarnoff, and the entire, wonderful Heller family.

Robert Greenwald, an extraordinarily talented director and producer, and an even better friend, who has gone out of his way to help me in every way possible. It was Robert's encouragement and counsel that is the only reason I am writing today. I leave it up to the reader to decide whether or not that is a good thing.

I would welcome feedback on the book from all readers at dr27712@aol.com.

THE LINCOLN TUNNELIS A SCARY place. Especially now, at the end of the workday. I'm one link in an endless chain of drivers, all moving our cars through an atmosphere of one hundred percent pure carbon monoxide. Tunnel workers patrol walkways along the walls; I assume they are there to make sure no car achieves a speed above three miles an hour. Their lungs must have a life expectancy of an hour and a half. Surrounding us all are thousands of tons of dirt and water, just waiting for a crack to come crashing through.

I usually avoid this tunnel. It is one of three main passageways between New York City and Northern Jersey, where I live. I prefer the George Washington Bridge, where oxygen is plentiful and it doesn't feel like I'm driving through an enormous MRI machine.

The fact is, I don't come into New York that often, and when I do it's rarely during the absurdly misnamed “rush” hour. But I needed to go to the NYU law library to do some research for an appellate case I'm handling, and I was stuck in court all day, so here I am.

I have two choices. I can ponder my impending death by suffocation under all this mud and water, knowing my loved ones will forever wonder whether my final resting place was in New York or New Jersey. Or I can think about the case, and what my strategy will be if the Court of Appeals turns us down. I go with the case, but it's a close call.

My client is death row inmate Willie Miller, a twenty-eight-year-old African-American convicted of murdering a young woman named Denise McGregor in the alley behind the Tea-neck, New Jersey, bar where he worked. It's a case my father, Nelson Carpenter, prosecuted seven years ago, when he was the State District Attorney. Ironically, it's also my father's fault that I'm on the case now.

I think back almost two years to the day I was at home watching the Giants play the Redskins on television. It was a frigid, windy, December Sunday, the kind of day that passing would be difficult, so each team would try to run the ball