Goodreads ~ After Laurie Collins left him and headed west, New Jersey defense attorney Andy Carpenter didn't expect to ever see her again. So he's shocked when his ex-girlfriend appears on TV - and then calls him pleading for his help. Two coeds in Wisconsin have been found brutally stabbed to death. As the town's acting police chief, Laurie had to arrest a young college student with a carful of bloodstains who argued with one of the victims just before her death. Yet Laurie strongly believes that the suspect, Jeremy Davidson, is innocent.
Trading the refineries and factories of Paterson for the frozen pastures of Findlay, Wisconsin, Andy soon finds himself in a small town handling a big-time double homicide case. He looks into Jeremy's romance with one of the victims - and the possible involvement of a bizarre religious cult - one that may sanction the most unholy, and vicious, of acts.
While Andy tries to save Jeremy, make sense of his love life, and find a decent pizza for his beloved dog, Tara, the secrets of an ultra-religious community begin to rain down on him like bricks from a cracked fortress. The path to the truth is littered with lies and misdirection. And before it's all over, the unexpected is the only thing Andy can count on.
Andy is trying to move on after Laurie, his investigator and girlfriend, moved four months ago to become a police officer in a small town in Wisconsin she grew up in. Then he gets a call from her ... a young local has been arrested for murdering his ex-girlfriend and her friend and Laurie wants him to be his lawyer. Andy and his dog, Tara, head to Findlay to see what he can do.
The two women who had been murdered were from a religious neighbouring town that likes to keep their affairs private. Needless to say, Andy gets no help from the residents as he is investigating the murders. With the help of a local lawyer, Laurie (as acting police chief) and Andy's team from New Jersey, they must prove that their client is innocent.
This is the fifth book I've read by this author and I thought it was just okay. I found the plot a bit boring. Perhaps I didn't like it as much as the others in the series because Andy was acting more like an investigator rather than doing his usual lawyer thing. I found the whole religious cult kind of dumb ... the head is called a "Keeper" and he makes the town's decisions (marriages, occupations, etc.) by spinning a wheel. I thought the ending wrapped up really quickly. Andy suddenly figured it out and the bad person(s) caught ... done! I would have liked a bit more explanation as to why things had happened to wrap it up. During the book, Andy did some dumb things like meeting people but forgetting his cell phone. And since he was out of town, there was no interaction with his friends, Pete or Vince, which is comical ... Andy and Sam barely song-talked.
The writing style was funny, sarcastic and amusing. It was written in first person perspective in Andy's voice. It is the fifth in the Andy Carpenter series (and the fifth I've read) and it works as a stand alone (so you don't need to have read the first one to know what is going on).