This is book #5 of the stand-up comedy/mystery/dog-related legal procedural series featuring lawyer Andy Carpenter and his golden retriever Tara.
In Dead Center, Andy’s girlfriend Laurie Collins has left Paterson, New Jersey to take her “dream job” on the police force of her old home town in Findlay, Wisconsin. Although she hasn’t seen Andy in four months, she calls and asks him as a favor to come out there and defend a friend of her family, Jeremy Davidson. Jeremy has been charged with the double murder of his girlfriend Liz and her girlfriend Sheryl. The bodies were found in a shallow grave on his property. Blood flecks were spattered in Jeremy’s car. Jeremy’s guilt seems so obvious that ordinarily Andy wouldn’t take the case, but he wants to see Laurie again, and so he and his golden retriever Tara make the drive to Wisconsin.
Liz and Sheryl were members of a bizarre religious cult located in Center City, about ten miles from Findlay. The people of this faith have no desire for interference from, or information sharing with, the outside world. Thus, Andy needs help, and he brings some others from his team up to Findlay to help out. Soon they are all in danger. On the bright side however, Laurie seems more conflicted than ever about whether she really wants to live apart from Andy.
Evaluation: One gets the impression that this plot was designed to showcase funny remarks about Wisconsin, and if you’ve ever lived there (as I have) you will get a big kick out of this book. Even aside from the jokes about winters and cheese, however, these humorous mysteries from Rosenfelt never fail to entertain me. I don’t see a Pulitzer in the author’s future, but I do see a lot of loyal readers like myself who love having a witty, diverting read.
Published by Mysterious Press, 2006