Not content with taking on the New Jersey mob (Leader of the Pack, 2012), Andy Carpenter, Paterson’s laziest attorney, goes up against a mob of international terrorists.
The case starts small. Wealthy investment counselor Barry Price wants to hire Andy and his accountant, Sam Willis, on some unspecified matter that involves Barry flying Sam to some undisclosed location aboard his private plane. Sam, delayed by hitting a dog with his car, misses the flight and is spending the evening with Barry’s wife, Denise, who just happens to be Sam’s former high school sweetheart, when Lt. Chuck Jennings, of the Morristown PD, arrives with the news that Barry is dead. It turns out, not only has his plane crashed, but Barry was fed a lethal dose of botulism before taking the pilot’s seat. Jennings promptly arrests Denise for his murder, and Andy is stuck with the worst kind of client: the kind whose plight demands that he actually bestir himself to work. What makes the case even tougher is that every lead Andy and his PI girlfriend, Laurie Collins, uncover is instantly cauterized by another murder. Andy can’t know what Rosenfelt has warned readers in the opening pages: that Barry’s death is only a minor detail in a diabolical terrorist plot that calls for assassinations across America. Even though he doesn’t know about it, the terrorist angle seems to cast a pall over normally wisecracking Andy, and it’s a lot less convincing than the courtroom intrigue that brings out his best—even after a mortal accusation against Sam himself arises from an unexpected quarter.
The assassination targets escape their fate, and the dog Sam’s car struck, newly christened Crash, is nursed back to health. So this overscaled yet minor addition to Andy’s string of successes ends with three cheers for the red, white and blue.