The ninth Brady Coyne novel opens when his client and long-time friend, Chester "Pops" Popowski, calls Brady with a problem. Already a distinguished jurist, "Pops" has been nominated for a seat on a federal court, and he has ambitions of one day sitting on the Supreme Court. But, as fate would have it, someone has chosen this rather inopportune moment to blackmail him over an incident that happened years earlier.
If the incident were to become public knowledge, it would almost certainly derail Popowski's judicial ambitions, and the blackmailer wants ten grand to keep the secret. He also wants to meet with Pops at a somewhat seedy bar to discuss the deal. Pops refuses to tell Brady what the incident involves and insists that it was nothing all that serious--just potentially embarrassing. He wants Brady to take the meet and tell the blackmailer that he's not going to pay.
As instructed, Brady meets the guy and delivers the message. The blackmailer gets huffy about it and they exchange some words. The blackmailer leaves the bar. Brady leaves the bar. The blackmailer gets murdered. Oh, crap.
The police identify the blackmailer and trace his movements to the bar where the cooperative bartender identifies both the victim and Brady, and tells the cops that he saw them arguing. The cops want to know what they were talking about and why they met, but Brady is bound by client privilege to protect Pops and can't tell them. Not surprisingly, he becomes the prime suspect.
Through the rest of the novel, then, we watch Brady attempt to extricate himself from this mess without breaking his obligation to his client. This means that he will have to find the Real Killer himself. It's an interesting hunt, but this is not one of the more compelling books in the series. Brady wanders here and there, attempting to solve the crime, but there's not a lot of suspense. He's never in any physical danger and the reader realizes that he's probably not really going to be arrested and convicted of the murder, and so we watch him go about his business, feeling pretty confident that things will all work out in the end.
It's an okay book, and those readers who are fans of the series and who are as compulsive about these things as I, will certainly want to read it. More casual readers who want to sample the series would be best advised to dip into other entries, and this will not be a problem. There are a lot of good Brady Coyne novels out there.