Ebulliently inventive Rosenfelt finds yet another way to involve unwilling Paterson attorney Andy Carpenter (The Twelve Dogs of Christmas, 2016, etc.) in a case in which one of the leading roles is played by a canine.
Two and a half years ago, Jill Hickman, who’d shot to success as the founder of the retail DNA corporation Finding Home, suffered a bitter loss when someone abducted her adopted infant, Dylan, and her border collie, Cody, to boot. Spurred largely by the description of the man who grabbed the child and dog and the car they drove off in, provided by Dylan’s nanny, Teresa Mullins, the police convicted Jill’s former fiance, Keith Wachtel, Finding Home’s chief chemist, of kidnapping. Nobody has seen Dylan from that day to this, but now someone has seen Cody, who’s been left outside the Tara Foundation, the charitable organization Andy uses to disperse his oversized wealth to the dogs of New Jersey. Not content to reunite Cody with his grateful owner, Andy decides that his sudden return amounts to new evidence in the case against Keith and works like a beaver to get it reopened. The trail of Teresa Mullins, who’s also disappeared without a trace, leads Andy’s associate, Hike, to South Carolina, where a woman who has an awful lot in common with Teresa has been burned to death in her own house. And so to court, where Andy cheerfully acknowledges: “I have never been involved in a case in which the key witness in a trial is a dead nanny.”
Rosenfelt’s matchless gift for feather-light exposition that hurtles along without ever feeling rushed or foggy allows him to keep the complications coming until nearly the end. It’s only the denouement that feels as if a lesser ghostwriter, perhaps an obliging pooch, had taken over.