Only true love, not a murder case, could lure attorney Andy Carpenter (Sudden Death, 2005, etc.) from his beloved Paterson, N.J., to the frozen north.
Acting Chief Laurie Collins, who fled Paterson for her childhood home of Findlay, Wisc., is holding Jeremy Davidson for killing of two coeds. The official story is that Jeremy stabbed Elizabeth Barlow because she broke up with him, and her friend Sheryl Hendricks because she happened to be on the scene. But even Laurie doesn’t believe the official story, and she wants her ex-lover to drop everything and defend him. The case is a mess. No sooner does Andy, second-chaired by one-legged local counselor Calvin Marshall, get in a few good licks at District Attorney Lester Chapman than the finger points toward a neighboring religious community called Center City, followed by a sudden tsunami of suspicion cast on Elizabeth’s ex-boyfriend, Eddie Carson, and Eddie’s convenient suicide. Or is it murder? Either way, Jeremy’s soon off the hook, and although Andy vows to stay local till the bitter end, the febrile suspicions of Eddie, the Centurions of Center City and a drug-smuggling operation don’t generate much mystery or suspense.
Andy and Laurie eventually come to an accord about their relationship, which upstages a case starved for suspects, clues and twists. This is the most disappointing of ebullient Andy’s five cases to date.