Grippando, James


Jack Swyteck
The Pardon The Pardon (1994)
From Publishers Weekly
Matters like realism and credibility take a back seat to high concept in this brisk but far-fetched first novel by a Florida attorney who poses a nifty question: What if a governor who favors the death penalty faced the prospect of allowing his own son to be executed for murder? In 1992, Florida governor Harold Swyteck allowed convicted killer Raul Fernandez to die in the electric chair despite the pleadings of his lawyer son, Jack, who claimed to have confidential proof that Fernandez was innocent. Now, in 1994, the man who supposedly gave Jack that proof-the man who claims to have committed the murder that was pinned on Fernandez-is blackmailing the governor by threatening to reveal that he let an innocent man die. Meanwhile, Jack has gotten an admitted killer, Eddie Goss, free on a technicality; when Goss is killed and all the evidence points to Jack as the murderer, the governor faces his dilemma: Will he sign his son's death warrant if he's convicted-or will he try to save him? Grippando's fast pacing obscures much plot manipulation and heavy-handed characterization. The novel's premise is compelling, but the structural holes sink this narrative. 75,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; audio rights to HarperAudio; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild alternates; author tour.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Beyond Suspicion Beyond Suspicion (2002)
From Publishers Weekly
Grippando might not be the most lapidary of legal thriller writers, but he certainly has the imagination and research skills to plot up a storm. Readers of his seventh book (after A King's Ransom) will find themselves riveted as Miami criminal lawyer Jack Swyteck the hero of Grippando's first thriller, The Pardon returns to discover himself and his family under attack from several corners. Jessie Merrill, a particularly hot old flame of Jack's who's now dying of ALS, has hired him in an unusual civil case involving a "viatical settlement," in which she sells an insurance policy in return for an immediate cash payment. But the doctors were wrong: Jessie isn't dying, and the shadowy consortium of Russian mobsters who bought her policy are now suing to get their money back. Jack and Jessie win the case; Jack realizes that he and the Russians have been scammed; and when a principal character turns up dead in the Swyteck bathtub, Jack's unstable wife soon joined by a vengeful prosecutor thinks Jack did the dirty deed. There's also a tough and dangerous young Cuban woman with reasons of her own for wanting the Russians brought down, a likable roughneck whom Jack once rescued from death row, and enough mean-spirited federal agents and prosecutors to settle a career's worth of scores for a lawyer-turned-writer like Grippando, who was a partner in Janet Reno's firm before he took up the quill.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
Last to Die Last to Die (2003)
From Publishers Weekly
Dangle $46 million in front of six people and tell them the last one standing gets it all. From that shopworn yet undeniably tantalizing premise springs Grippando's latest thriller starring Miami attorney Jack Swyteck. The big pot of money comes from wealthy divorcee Sally Fenning, who leaves an enormous estate following her murder. Not only is her death suspicious, the terms of her will are insidiously cunning. None of the six heirs, all people Fenning despised, can collect until all but one has either died or renounced their share of the inheritance. The common denominator is that all were connected to the murder of Fenning's daughter five years earlier. There is Fenning's ex-husband, his divorce attorney, the prosecutor who failed to bring charges against any suspect, the newspaper reporter who wrote about the case and a mystery man who can't be immediately located. Swyteck's client, hitman Tatum Knight, is the only one not connected to the little girl's murder, though his tie to Fenning is odious in its own right: Fenning tried to hire him to kill her, but he steadfastly denies taking the job. As expected, someone starts knocking off heirs. Those who survive are brutally intimidated into dropping their claim on the estate. Swyteck, meanwhile, scrambles to find out who's behind it all while balancing a love affair on the side. Grippando (Beyond Suspicion) handles his eighth thriller, his third featuring Swyteck, with workmanlike dexterity. As a protagonist, Swyteck is likable, yet there is little to distinguish him from the current throng of attorney-heroes: he's white, refined but not prissy, fighting off middle age. Yet his adventures are comfortingly enjoyable. Despite including a pointless trip to Africa's Ivory Coast, Grippando's latest lives up to its promise as a $46-million game of survival.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Hear No Evil Hear No Evil (2004)
From Publishers Weekly
Miami lawyer Jack Swyteck is in for one hell of a roller coaster ride in this lapel-grabbing thriller, Grippando's ninth (Last to Die; etc.). Lindsey Hart, about to be charged with the murder of her husband, Marine Capt. Oscar Pintado, comes to Jack because she believes he is her last, best chance—and also the biological father of her adopted son. Stunned, Jack thinks he recognizes the picture of the 10-year-old she shows him ("he knew those dark eyes, that Roman nose"), but he still isn't sure whether he should take the case. What if he doesn't and she's innocent? She could be convicted. But if she's guilty—and he takes the case and wins it—he doesn't want to see the child raised by a murderer. Thanks to Grippando's devious mind, that's just the beginning. Plot twists, doled out with perfect timing, include the story of the murder victim, who's the son of a rich and powerful anti-Castro activist; the prosecutor's connection to Swyteck's family; and the testimony of the defense's prime witness, who is a private in Castro's army—the murder took place on the U.S. military base at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. It's manipulative Lindsey, however, who proves to be the book's most unpredictable element. This character-driven, intricately plotted thriller will keep readers guessing up to the end.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Got the Look Got the Look (2006)
From Publishers Weekly
Attorney Jack Swyteck and his jazz musician sidekick Theo Knight josh, joke and kid, but unfortunately the case they're working—the kidnapping of Jack's girlfriend by a sadistic murderer—doesn't lend itself to humor. The disconnect of monkeyshines versus the grim, detailed torture of a helpless woman cripples this thinly plotted, disappointing thriller set in Grippando's familiar South Florida. The girlfriend in question, the gorgeous Mia Salazar, turns out to be (unknown to Jack) married. After she's been seized, her betrayed husband makes it clear that he has no interest in paying any significant ransom. This duty then falls to Jack, who, working with FBI agent Andie Henning (reprised from Under Cover of Darkness), frantically tries to find Mia. Though Jack and Andie are the proverbial oil and water, the results of this pairing are entirely predictable. And when the kidnapper is finally revealed, his identity is as unbelievable as the tortured reasoning that attempts to connect the many disparate plot elements. The chase scene at the end lends some much-needed firepower, but it's too little too late for anyone but the most diehard Grippando fan. (On sale Jan. 3)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
When Darkness Falls When Darkness Falls (2007)
From Publishers Weekly
A tense hostage crisis in Miami propels the action in bestseller Grippando's solid sixth thriller to feature criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck (after Got the Look). Jack represents an armed homeless man known as Falcon, who takes among his hostages in a seedy motel Jack's best friend, Theo Knight, an innocent man the lawyer once pulled off death row at the last minute. Vincent Paulo, the recently blinded negotiator, has been dating the one person Falcon insists on talking with, police officer Alicia Mendoza, who also happens to be the mayor's daughter. With strands reaching back to Argentina's dirty war, the plot relies heavily on coincidence, but engaging characters, notably the blind Vincent ("People either pity me to death and think that I can't possibly manage a minute of my life without a sighted person holding my hand, or they think I've been magically transformed into some kind of blind mystic with extrasensory powers"), will help readers overlook the implausibilities. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Last Call Last Call (2008)
Many years ago, Jack Swyteck saved Theo Knight's life.
Theo grew up on the streets of Miami's roughest neighborhood and lost his mother to a violent crime. Although his uncle Cy tried his best to raise him right, by the time he was a teenager, Theo was on death row for a murder he didn't commit. Jack was the lawyer who proved him innocent.
Now a successful bar owner, Theo has turned things around. But he needs Jack's help again, this time more than ever.
An escaped convict from the old neighborhood shows up at Theo's back door, asking for help. In return, he'll finger the man who murdered Theo's mother. But the answers aren't so simple, and soon Theo's own life is in danger.
Jack and Theo must piece together a twenty-year-old conspiracy of greed and corruption that leads to the very top of Miami's elite, while revisiting a past that Theo has tried hard to forget. But Theo also has the opportunity to seek the revenge that has fueled him since the day he found his mother dead in the street on a hot Miami night. Last Call is a brilliant and bullet-fast thriller, complete with revelations that no reader will ever forget.
Born to Run Born to Run (2008)
Jack Swyteck gets caught in a dangerous web of intrigue and murder at the top levels of the United States government in his most high-profile and disturbing case yet.
Miami criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck guards his own family secrets closely, after his father's two terms as Florida's governor made some personal rifts public. Things between the two men are finally better, and whenever Harry Swyteck asks for Jack's help he gets it. Suddenly, Harry needs it more than ever before.
When Harry's friend, the vice president of the United States, goes hunting for alligators in the Everglades and winds up dead, the president positions Harry to be his new VP. Harry immediately asks Jack to be his lawyer. The prestige that comes from the job turns lethal, however, when Jack finds himself at the heart of a complicated cover-up that spans nearly fifty years and the globe. Before hostages can be released, an old secret must be revealed, one that could threaten the life of the president of the United States himself.
Afraid of the Dark by James GrippandoAfraid of the Dark (2011)
Grippando's 18th novel (after Money To Burn ) brings together three series characters—criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck; FBI undercover agent Andie Henning, now Jack's fiancée; and Miami cop Vince Paulo. All are tied to the murder three years earlier of 16-year-old McKenna Mays, the daughter of Vince's best friend, Chuck, an Internet entrepreneur. Vince was blinded by an explosion meant to destroy evidence left behind by the killer. But McKenna's dying words implicated her ex-boyfriend Jamal, who is now being held as a Somali terrorist at the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo. Jack gets involved when he decides to defend Jamal, despite being warned off the case by Andie, who knows more than she can say. So what do you do when your defendant has an alibi—his abduction to a black site in Prague—that can't be verified because of government secrecy? And if Jamal is innocent, as Jack believes, who was the killer? To find out, Jack, Vince, and Chuck must penetrate illegal websites and a world of evil in search of a terrorist who calls himself The Dark. VERDICT Superb plotting, high suspense, compelling timely issues, and finely honed characters make this crime novel/international thriller a great read. Ron Terpening Library Journal



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