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VOL. 129 | NO. 119 | Thursday, June 19, 2014

Vic Fleming

More ‘Unicorns,’ More Rosenfelt

By Vic Fleming

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When I wrote about the 2014 Little Rock Film Festival, I reviewed, in three paragraphs, “I Believe in Unicorns.” This just in from that film’s director, Leah Myerhoff: “I appreciate your thoughtful response to the film. However, [please] make one correction: the lead actress is Natalia Dyer, not Amy Seimetz.”

“Oops,” I wrote back. “How’d that happen?” After researching that query, my final answer is, “I don’t know.” And “I apologize.” I remember Leah saying that a casting-pro friend of hers had referred her to a 16-year-old actress in Nashville. That 16-year-old was, in fact, Natalia Dyer.

Dyer’s pre-“Unicorns” film experience includes “Hannah Montana: The Movie” (2009) and “The Greening of Whitney Brown” (2011). Anyhow, it was Natalia, not Amy, who was brilliant in “Unicorns.” Natalia is from Nashville. Amy, who was superb in her supporting role in “Unicorns,” is not.

•••

When I wrote about David Rosenfelt’s “Without Warning,” I mentioned “Hounded,” the 12th installment in the Andy Carpenter series, due out July 22. The author has sent me an advance copy. It’s fun to read a novel that’s not out yet.

As the “Hounded” plot begins, Edna, Andy’s office manager, is in 11th place at the American Crossword Puzzle Championship – yes, in Brooklyn at the Marriott. Andy and Laurie are there with her, when Pete Stanton calls. You remember Pete: He’s the police captain who sits at a table with Andy and Vince, the newspaper editor, at the sports bar back in Paterson, N.J., where they all work.

Pete needs to see Andy ASAP! So, he and Laurie leave Brooklyn before the tournament’s final round. Pete’s instructions are that Andy and Laurie first visit an unfamiliar address. Which turns out to be a crime scene at which Pete, hours earlier, discovered the dead body of an ex-con named Danny. Upstairs are the deceased’s dog and toddler, whom Pete wants to be kept safe during the turmoil ahead.

Andy and Laurie take the kid and the basset hound home with them, not yet knowing that Pete needs another favor – a big one. He needs them to solve the mystery of who murdered Danny and why. And, oh yes, he also needs Andy to represent him, since he’s about to be charged with Danny’s murder.

Told from Andy’s point of view, with his trademark one-liners, sarcasm, sophomoric excitement about sex with Laurie, and adoration of dogs in general and golden retrievers in particular, the story spills out in a series of 2- to 5-page chapters over roughly 300 pages. About the length of a movie script, as always.

Yes, there’s an FBI angle, so expect a cameo by Cindy What’s-her-Name from Boston. Yes, there’s a military angle, but not enough to require a major (pun intended) breach of protocol to dig up secret records.

Call it what you will – a whodunit, a legal thriller, a murder mystery – but the main thing is: Just sit back and enjoy it. And ... be prepared for a surprise ending that might just change the tone of all future installments of the series.

Vic Fleming is a district court judge in Little Rock, Ark., where he also teaches at the William H. Bowen School of Law. Contact him at vicfleming@att.net.

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