A dog finds yet another way to drag Paterson lawyer Andy Carpenter into his 19th recorded murder case, this one with even more than 19 fatalities.
Andy’s vet, Dr. Dan Dowling, is distressed because somebody’s dropped off a French bulldog in perfectly good health and paid to have him euthanized even though a chip implanted in the dog indicates that he belongs to someone else. Naturally, Andy overrules the order, takes the dog home, and thinks no more about it—until he realizes that documentary filmmaker James Haley, who’s just been shot to death, was the real owner of the bulldog, whose name is Truman, and that the man who ordered Truman’s death was almost certainly Haley’s killer. It’s too late for the police to arrest George Adams, the mob enforcer Dowling’s receptionist recognizes as the man who wanted Truman euthanized, because he’s already dead, executed along with his wife in suburban Philadelphia. The Paterson police, knowing no better, meanwhile arrest Joey Gamble for Haley’s murder because he visited Haley that night, his prints are all over Haley’s place, and they find the murder weapon in his home. So despite Andy’s well-established resistance to the practice of law (Deck the Hounds, 2018, etc.), he agrees to defend Joey. The case looks tough because the evidence, though it’s all circumstantial, is impressive. So Andy’s only chance is to tie Haley’s murder to the shooting of Christopher Tolbert, a homeless man in nearby Clifton, and to a total of 18—no, make that 26—oddly similar deaths across the country in what turns out to be a startlingly widespread criminal conspiracy. One of the best hooks ever by an author who specializes in them, along with a constant stream of appealingly throwaway wisecracks and one of Rosenfelt’s most successful portrayals of the professional criminals whom he often loves not wisely but too well.
Even dog haters should lap it up.