Meet Homicide Detective Ollie Chandler and his bullmastiff mutt, Mike Hammer, otherwise known as Mulch. Chandler, a thirty year police officer in Portland, Oregon, keeps people at bay with cynicism, sarcasm, spiritual skepticism and simmering humor. Even his daughter can’t get close to him. After the death of his wife, who was also his best friend, Chandler is mad at the world and everyone in it. But, mostly, he’s mad at God. Plenty of long hours, hard work and hard drinking are the only things that keep his sanity in check.
However, that tenuous thread of sanity is challenged when Police Chief Lennox makes a political agreement with the Oregon Tribune to assign reporter Clarence Abernathy to the next homicide investigation. It doesn’t matter that Abernathy is Chandler’s only remaining friend—Abernathy is a journalist and Chandler’s a cop—that’s like mixing oil and water.