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It’s a bonus that the corpse is that of Paterson Mayor Alex Oliva and that it’s discovered by Tara, the beloved golden retriever of Andy Carpenter, the city’s most work-averse lawyer. As usual, Andy’s inclined to walk away from his discovery, but that quickly changes with the arrest of disgraced reporter Bobby Nash, whom Andy’s old pal, executive editor Vince Sanders, fired after a story he reported exposing a pay-to-play scheme that linked businessman Richard Minchner to Oliva’s gubernatorial campaign was proved false and Bobby’s principal informant, election committee member Theresa Minardo, said she’d never talked to him. Andy doesn’t owe Vince a favor, but when Vince points out that he’d certainly pay up if he owed Andy, he reluctantly takes on Bobby’s defense. It’s a good thing, too, since the case is about to blow up—literally for Theresa Minardo and several other locals hanging around structures that shadowy forces seem to have targeted for demolition. Bobby is poisoned during his stay in the prison hospital; prosecutor Dylan Campbell is clearly licking his chops over the surfeit of forensic evidence linking Bobby to the crime; and as Andy prepares his impossible defense, he can’t help wondering why the killer, after shooting Oliva in his driveway, would take so much trouble to dump his body a mere three blocks away.

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