Genial reporter Carter Ross, who never met a wisecrack he didn’t like, goes up against every police officer in Newark in defense of a dead cop’s good name.
Detective Sgt. Darius Kipps’ widow, Mimi, assures Carter that her husband was a good guy, and Carter, not normally one to be suckered by sentiment, believes her. So why did Kipps get roaring drunk and shoot himself in the 4th Precinct station? The short answer is that he didn’t. He never drank the bourbon he must have been force-fed on the last night of his life, and even the most cursory look at his corpse—which Carter gets courtesy of some highly improbable help from Powell, a well-placed party buddy of his punk librarian girlfriend, Kira O’Brien—reveals ligature marks on his wrists and ankles dating from shortly before his death. So why have Newark’s finest, from Capt. Denise Boswell on down, closed ranks behind the story of his suicide? Clearly because they’re not so fine after all, a conclusion that becomes even more obvious when Kipps’ partner, Mike Fusco, becomes a second suspicious suicide after blurting out an unlikely confession that he killed his partner. Targeted for death by a gun-selling concern whose tentacles reach deep into the Newark Police Department, Carter can only pray that his luck holds out till he’s rescued by somebody more powerful than he is.
The combination of Borscht-Belt dialogue, ebullient first-person narration, and mean Jersey streets with lots of menace but very little mystery, makes Carter (The Girl Next Door, 2012, etc.) a strong contender for the title of best Stephanie Plum male impersonator.