A case of dognapping distracts public defender Gordy Seegerman from rehearsals as he again readies himself and his band of fellow worshippers to meet the man of their dreams, Barry Manilow.
San Francisco Bay Area lawyer/musician Seegerman, the big-hearted hero of Misdemeanor Man (2004), still unmarried, still devoted to the artistry of Bette Midler’s onetime pianist, is again preparing his band for a possible meeting with his idol in Vegas. But there are complications. Maeve O’Connell, the band’s bad-tempered, middle-aged, Irish, lesbian vocalist is laid up in the last weeks of a surprise pregnancy, forcing Gordy to enlist the services of ex-girlfriend Silvie, the next best interpreter of Manilow ballads in Santa Rita. He’s still got a thing for her, but it’s unrequited and she’s married. And Seegerman still hasn’t gotten tested for the early onset Alzheimer’s that is erasing his father’s personality. The work intruding on the world of music is the misdemeanor mischief of Marcus Manners, superstar quarterback of the local public high school who has been charged with the theft of the canine mascot belonging to archrival Saint Illuminatus, enraging powerful alumni—including the crooked cop who found the missing dog behind Marcus’s apartment and the crabby judge who will try the case. And then the middle-aged heiress from whose estate the dog was stolen and who may have had a thing for Marcus (although Maeve swears she’s gay) takes three bullets, and Marcus, who was seen with her and who has blood on his sneakers, is the lead suspect in her murder. Gordy needs considerable help from the talented boys in his band to sort out clues that lead back to a big drug deal in the ’80s and involve Marcus’s foster father, a prominent black politician in a town that is ready to riot over the charges against their young sports hero.
Overlong, and the constant references to Manilow songs will result in persistent, uninvited theme music for readers of a certain age. Still, Seegerman remains likable.