Pot-smoking Jackie Swaitkowski, attorney to sleuthing Southampton carpenter Sam Acquillo (Hard Stop, 2009, etc,), gets a wild, wacky case of her own.
Each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, but few can rival Sergey Pontecello, his sister-in-law Eunice Wolsonowicz, and her daughter Wendy and adopted son Oscar, aka Fuzzy. His late wife’s sister has taken up residence in his home and won’t budge, Sergey tells Jackie; he wants to evict her. In a subsequent late-night phone call, he complains that Eunice has now locked him out of the master bathroom. Jackie soothes her client only to learn the next day that he’s been found dead, “pretty chewed up,” as Southampton Town cop Joe Sullivan puts it. In one pocket Pontecello is carrying Jackie’s business card, in another a severed nipple that turns out to have been the property of Edna Jackery, a scuba-shop bookkeeper and hit-and-run victim whose body parts have a disconcerting way of escaping the ministrations of family mortician Alden Winthrop III and his son Denny. Clearly, Watson, these are deep waters, and although no case that kicks off with this kind of a bang can possibly maintain such a sublime level of invention, Knopf does his best to keep his motor-mouthed heroine from stealing the show.
All in vain. Manic Jackie may have a law degree and a place in the Hamptons, but she’s still worthy kin to her more downscale Trenton sister Stephanie Plum.