I plucked this book from the library shelf when I saw a picture of an appealing beagle on the cover. I thought it might be one of those books with a "dog narrator" or where the dog is a major character. That's not the case but I enjoyed the book anyway.
In this book (number 12 in the series) New Jersey defense attorney Andy Carpenter - who's wealthy enough to take very few cases - agrees to defend his friend Pete Stanton, a cop accused of murdering Danny Diaz. Diaz, a police informer, allegedly snitched about Pete selling drugs and was shot in his home - leaving behind his son Ricky and dog Sebastian (the hound on the cover). Pete was observed at the scene of the crime and drugs were found in his apartment, so things look dark for him.
Andy looks into the case with his live-in investigator girlfriend Melanie and a cadre of assistants, including a bone-breaker tough guy, a computer whiz, an accountant, etc. They soon find that some kind of conspiracy involving the deaths of several people from "natural causes" seem to be tied to the Diaz killing. Meanwhile, Ricky and Sebastian move in with Andy and Melanie (and their dog Tara) while the cops look for the boy's absent stepmother who left the home a while back.
The book reminded me of 'Perry Mason' novels, being partly investigation and partly courtroom scenes, all well-written and compelling. In addition, Andy is a wise-cracking funny guy, and the humor in the book was an added bonus.
An enjoyable mystery, recommended for all fans of the genre.
Rating: 3.5 stars