“Is the client at least a human this time?” asks North Jersey attorney Andy Carpenter’s partner. No such luck.
Billy Zimmerman and Milo, a German shepherd, were in the police force together. Then Billy went to Iraq without Milo and lost a leg in a suicide bombing that killed 18 people, including the new reformist oil minister. Now Billy and Milo are together again, this time as thieves. On the night when they’re preparing to nab a crucial batch of papers from Major Jack Erskine, who returned from the Iraq disaster with both legs but no friends, something goes wrong. When the smoke clears, Erskine is dead, Billy is bending over him, the police are bending over Billy, Milo has hidden the papers someplace only he knows, and some well-armed bad guys are determined to get Milo to share his secret even as they cover their murderous tracks with more murders. The setup is a natural for Andy Carpenter, a sucker for hopeless cases and canine clients. And it’s a pleasure watching Andy’s ebullient maneuvering in Milo’s defense. Once he gets custody of the dog, however, the case bogs down in low-impact courtroom wrangling, rumors of far-reaching terrorist plots and government cover-ups, and intercut scenes showing sinister assassins winnowing the cast of faceless co-conspirators. Worst of all, Milo gets upstaged by threats that “the world could blow up any minute.”
Despite the clever title, dog lovers are well-advised to tune out after the first half of wisecracking Andy’s lumpy, overscaled foray into international intrigue.