Dog-loving, work-averse New Jersey attorney Andy Carpenter (Who Let the Dog Out?, 2015, etc.) is dragged back into the courtroom to defend a client who escapes from a minimum security prison hours after hearing that he’ll certainly be paroled.
The bearer of this good news is Andy himself, who assures Brian Atkins, who’s served three years for embezzling from Starlight Systems, the tech company he co-founded, that there’s no way the parole board will turn him down four months hence. Evidently that’s not quick enough for Brian, who forces Fred Cummings, the trainer of Boomer, the Prison Pal dog Andy’s foundation has placed with him, to give him his clothes, then makes his escape and heads for his estranged wife Denise’s place, from which a neighbor sees him fleeing shortly after Denise and Gerald Wright, the Starlight partner rumored to be her lover, were stabbed to death there. Reviewing the case against Brian, Andy finds little reason for optimism: “He’s an escaped convict with a motive who was found at the murder scene.” Andy’s only hope to vindicate a client who’s perfectly willing to plead guilty is to follow the hints that tangle the murders in the dirty business of fearsome mob boss Dominic Petrone, whom Denise had told Brian she was afraid of (hence his breakout) but didn’t tell him why. As Andy makes his amiable rounds asking questions, Petrone gets wind of his inquiries, and in short order the bodies pile up, leaving more than a dozen fatalities, some of them unnamed thugs, before a sudden bright idea allows Andy to ring down the curtain.
Perhaps the weakest outing for Rosenfelt, who cuts back and forth between his ebullient hero and the nefarious criminals arrayed against him as if waiting in vain for mystery and suspense to break out. There’s not even much about dogs.