Rosenfelt, who continues to write some of the best hooks in the genre, saddles attorney Andy Carpenter (Outfoxed, 2015, etc.) with a client who’s got only six months to brighten her Paterson neighborhood—if a guilty verdict doesn’t remove her from her home first.
Despite all Andy’s coaching and beseeching, irrepressible Martha Boyer, universally known as Pups, is already on record as having threatened Randy Hennessey, the neighbor who filed a legal complaint against her houseful of two dozen rescue dogs, in open court. Andy gets the case dismissed, but before he can begin to gloat properly, Hennessey is dismissed, too—by a handgun that turns up in Pups’ basement shortly after a neighbor sees her leaving his house. Her story that her former legal adversary had asked her to come over so he could apologize and give her a present sounds highly implausible even to Andy. What really complicates the case, though, are a pair of unwelcome developments that seem to come out of nowhere: the news that Pups’ recurrent cough is actually a symptom of malignant mesothelioma, a surefire death sentence, and forensic evidence that identifies the murder weapon as the same gun that widowed Pups 18 months ago, when her husband, Jake, and local Bloodz member Raymond "Little Tiny" Parker fell victim to a drive-by shooting that suddenly looks a lot more premeditated to rookie prosecutor Dan Tressel. Even getting Pups acquitted won’t end her troubles, for Jake’s long-estranged son, Hank, is ready to launch a civil suit against her in order to claim his father’s estate.
Though the falling action never rises to the level of the setup, Rosenfelt’s canine-loving hero is always good company—especially when he deals with someone who’s gone to the dogs even more completely than him.