The Abduction

( 24 )


Allison Leahy is the US Attorney General, the mot renowned lawyer in America. She and her wealthy husband are the twenty-first-century version of the couple who has it all: a happy marriage and two successful careers. To top it off, Allison is the highly touted Democratic nominee for the presidency.

Her opponent is Lincoln Howe, a retired four-star general and bona fide African-American hero. Like Allison, howe is living the American dream, and for months the candidates hav run ...

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The Abduction

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Allison Leahy is the US Attorney General, the mot renowned lawyer in America. She and her wealthy husband are the twenty-first-century version of the couple who has it all: a happy marriage and two successful careers. To top it off, Allison is the highly touted Democratic nominee for the presidency.

Her opponent is Lincoln Howe, a retired four-star general and bona fide African-American hero. Like Allison, howe is living the American dream, and for months the candidates hav run neck and neck. Both sides need jut one extra push to swing the election - and on Halloween morning, they get it: A twelve year old girl is kidnapped on her way to school. The girl is Kristen Howe, Lincoln Howe's granddaughter. The nation and the candidate explode in outrage. As Attorney General, Allison launches a massive nationwide manhunt. But her motives are under fire, as each side claims the other is exploiting the tragedy and manipulating the investigation for political advantage.

In truth, Allison's drive to bring Kristin home safe is far more personal than political. Years before Allison's adopted baby daughter was stolen from her home never to be found. Now it seeks likely that her own child's fate is somehow tied to the current crisis. Allison now must step off the political ladder if she is to help save the life of an innocent young girl and unravel the secrets of her own painful past.

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Editorial Reviews

Miami Herald
His best so far...Grippando keeps you guessing.
Denver Post
Entertaining...Grippando has produced another exciting and cleverly plotted novel.
Miami Herald
His best so far. . . Grippando keeps you guessing.
Denver Post
Entertaining. . . Grippando has produced another exciting and cleverly plotted novel.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
The presidential election of 2000 is coming down to the wire in this disappointing thriller, when Democratic candidate (and attorney general) Allison Leahy blows a solid lead by refusing to answer the question whether she's ever been unfaithful to her husband. Just as Republican candidate Lincoln Howe (read: Colin Powell) is about to pull ahead, his granddaughter is kidnapped. Leahy's own newly adopted baby daughter was the victim of a similar crime eight years earlier. Are the abductions linked? Is someone connected to either of the candidates responsible? Those are the questions that never quite propel Grippando's latest, after The Informant. While that novel had a strong narrative engine fueled by insider information on the FBI, this one never hits second gear. Neither Leahy nor Howe seems a particularly worthy candidate or likable person, and the possible villainsan ex-boyfriend, a pair of conniving campaign managers, Leahy's tough businessman husbandare equally flat and unconvincing. Author tour. (Apr.)
Library Journal
A U.S. attorney general running for president must deal with the kidnapping of an opponent's granddaughter.
Kirkus Reviews
Woman-in-periler in which the second female US attorney general, who also happens to be the first Democratic female presidential candidate, puts her campaign on hold two weeks before Election Day to rescue the kidnapped granddaughter of her Republican adversary. Thriller-machinist Grippando (The Informant, 1996, etc.) takes us back to 1992, when Emily, the adopted baby daughter of his heroine, the have-it-all, never-lost-a-case, unmarried career prosecutor Allison Leahy, is mysteriously spirited away from her Chicago home. Despite the considerable law enforcement resources available to Leahy, Emily's disappearance remains unsolved as, eight years later, the beautiful, courageous, now-married US attorney general and Democratic presidential hopeful blows a televised debate against her rival, the General Lincoln Howe (a thinly fictionalized Colin Powell), and finds herself slipping in the polls. Then, in the last week in October, a pair of cartoonish thugs snatch Howe's granddaughter Kirsten from her public school. Remembering the pain she endured when her own daughter vanished, Leahy decides to duck campaigning and, as head of the FBI, do her job by catching the kidnappers, even if means losing the election. As he's done in previous page-turners, Grippando again reveals too much of his story too soon—here, not only that the kidnapping was politically motivated but that the mastermind behind it all may be too close to Leahy for comfort. Among the usual suspects: Leahy's wet-blanket husband Peter; her torch-carrying ex-lover Mitch O'Brien; her Machiavellian campaign strategist David Wilcox; Howe's even more Machiavellian strategist Buck LaBelle; and a host of unsavory Beltwaytypes. Meantime, Leahy's spunk and gutsy bravado have her dodging bullets and wringing every possible victory from a series of preposterously affected defeats. Corny dialogue, cheesy political stereotypes, and a shrill, headstrong heroine who wouldn't last a minute in a real courtroom, much less the Oval Office. (Author tour)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060824006
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 12/7/2004
  • Format: MP3
  • Edition description: Abridged
  • Sales rank: 140,172
  • Ships to U.S.and APO/FPO addresses only.

Meet the Author

James Grippando

James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author. Blood Money is his twentieth novel, the tenth in his acclaimed series featuring Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck. James Grippando was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon). He lives in South Florida with his wife, three children, two cats, and a golden retriever named Max, who has no idea he's a dog.


Whether standing before the bench in a courtroom or penning one of his bestselling thrillers featuring defense attorney Jack Swyteck, James Grippando has a deep fascination with the law. He practiced as a trial lawyer for twelve years before shifting his career in a more literary direction. However, the decision was not the result of bitter disillusionment. "I actually liked practicing law," he explains on his web site. "I just wished I could do less of it. That may sound like a contradiction, but the problem with being a lawyer is that, if you get caught up in it, eventually you won't know anything about anything except what you happen to be working on at the moment."

As he contemplated leaving the law, Grippando set his sights on becoming a writer, a career shift not as drastic as one might imagine. "A trial lawyer is in many ways a story teller," he said in an essay in Mystery Scene magazine. "Still, I had no idea how to become a novelist... So, I set a couple of ground rules. First, I would do my writing on the sly, nights and weekends, while continuing to bill my obligatory two thousand hours a year. Second -- and this was by far the most important rule -- I was determined to keep it fun."

Both Grippando's legal expertise and his determination to "keep it fun" were readily apparent in his 1994 debut, The Pardon, a taut thriller that introduced Jack Swyteck, a brash young Miami criminal defense attorney who successfully defends an admitted killer -- only to find himself framed for his defendant's murder. Called "a bona fide blockbuster" by the Boston Herald, this well-plotted first novel marked Grippando as a writer to watch.

Despite the popularity of The Pardon, Grippando would not return Jack Swyteck to active duty for eight more years. His second novel, written while he was still practicing law, was a fast-paced crime thriller called The Informant. Shortly after it was published in 1996, he left his practice for full-time writing and published a string of well received stand-alones, including The Abduction, Under Cover of Darkness, and A King's Ransom.

Then, in 2002, Grippando revived Jack Swyteck, placing him at the center of Beyond Suspicion, a gripping courtroom drama involving an insurance scam and the Russian Mafia. Readers reacted so joyfully to Swyteck's return that the author has -- with very few exceptions -- kept attention focused on his beloved series protagonist. As the review journal Booklist put it : "Grippando, whose best thriller have been full of imagination and out-of-left-field surprises, looks like he's found a winner in the Swyteck series."

Good To Know

When he was a lawyer, one of Grippando's most prominent cases found him defending a group of chicken farmers against, according to his essay in Mystery Scene magazine, "the largest privately-held corporation in the world." The Wall Street Journal deemed the case "the catalyst for change in the $15 billion a year poultry industry."

Before becoming a writer, Grippando was on the fast track to becoming a partner at Steel Hector & Davis, the Miami law firm at which former Attorney General Janet Reno began her career.

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Grippando:

"In this world of revolving doors, I'm what you might call a professional anomaly. I've had the same publisher (HarperCollins) and agent (Richard Pine, along with his father Artie until his death) since the start of my career. I've also had the same editor (Carolyn Marino) since my second novel. I treasure these relationships. It is because of them that I am able to do what I love for a living."

"My first published novel was actually inspired by a near arrest in a case of total mistaken identity. One night in October 1992, tired of staring at a blank computer screen, I went for a walk before going to bed. I got about three blocks from my house when, seemingly out of nowhere, a police car pulled up onto the grassy part of the curb in front of me. A cop jumped out and demanded to know where I was going. I told him that I was just out for a walk, that I lived in the neighborhood. He didn't seem to believe me. "There's been a report of a peeping Tom," he said. "I need to check this out." I stood helplessly beside the squad car and listened as the officer called in on his radio for a description of the prowler."Under six feet tall," I heard the dispatcher say, "early to mid-thirties, brown hair, brown eyes, wearing blue shorts and a white t shirt." I panicked inside. I was completely innocent, but it was exactly me! "And a mustache," the dispatcher finally added. I sighed with relief. I had no mustache. The cop let me go.

But as I walked home, I could only think of how close I'd come to disaster. Even though I was innocent, my arrest would have been a media event, and forever I would have been labeled as "the peeping Tom lawyer." It was almost 2 a.m. by the time I returned home, but I decided that I needed to write about this. I took the feeling of being wrongly accused to the most dramatic extreme I could think of. I wrote about a man hours away from execution for a crime he may not have committed. What I wrote that night became the opening scene of The Pardon."

"My first editor on everything I write is my wife, Tiffany, who was an English Lit major."

"I can't underestimate the impact Miami -- the city in which I live -- has had on my writing. Miami evokes all the right buzz words -- smart and sexy, young and beautiful -- but it also has a self-destructive quality that triggers the kind of fascination we have with a reckless youth. It is blessed with natural beauty, but it's threatened by developers. It has the gift of cultural diversity, but is plagued by ethnic tension. Its nightlife is unrivaled, but the threat of violence is never far enough away. There's glitz, there's money, there's the see-and-be-seen -- and then there are neighborhoods that seem straight out of the third world. You often hear it said that truth is stranger than fiction, and nowhere is that more true than in south Florida. Where else could the United States Attorney lose his job after losing a big case, getting drunk, and biting a stripper? But it's where I live, it's where I practiced law, and it will always be an inspiration to my writing.

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    1. Hometown:
      Coral Gables, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 27, 1958
    2. Place of Birth:
      Waukegan, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A. with High Honors, University of Florida, 1980; J.D. with Honors, University of Florida, 1982
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Allison could feel her heart pounding. Her lungs burned as she fought forair. The treadmill's digital display told her she was passing the two-milemark. She punched the speed button to slow the pace and catch her breath.Perspiration soaked her, pasting the nylon sweat pants and extra-large T-shirtto her trim forty-eight-year-old body. It was her favorite T-shirt, whitewith bright red and blue lettering.
It read, "Leahy for President—A New Millennium."
After nearly four years as the United States attorney general, Allison wasjust fifteen days away from the historic date on which voters would decidewhether the nation's "top cop" would become its first woman president.The race was wide-open and without an incumbent, as her boss—DemocraticPresident Charlie Sires—was at the end of his second and final four-yearterm. Allison was his second-term attorney general, part of the president'sshake-up of his own cabinet upon reelection in 1996. Eight months ago, Allisondidn't consider herself a serious presidential contender. But when the Republicansnominated Lincoln Howe, the nation's most beloved black man, the polls madeit clear that the only Democrat who could beat him was a charismatic whitewoman.
Ironically, thirty minutes of walking in place on the treadmill had actuallyput Allison thirty miles closer to her afternoon rally in Philadelphia.She was on the last leg of a two-day bus tour through Pennsylvania, a criticalswing state with twenty-four electoral college votes. Her campaign bus hadlogged nearly ten thousand miles in the past six months. Now more than ever,it was showing the signs of a well-oiled political machine in the homestretch—whichto the averageorganized human being looked remarkably like utter chaos.A dozen noisy staffers were busy at the fax machines and computer terminals.A scattered collection of bulging archive boxes blocked the bathroom entrance,as if strategically placed to trip up anyone desperate enough to use theon-board facilities. Thousands of campaign buttons, leaflets, and bumperstickers cluttered the rear storage area. Four small color television setswere suspended from the ceiling, each blaring a different broadcast forsimultaneous multi-network viewing. One set was electronically "padlocked,"permanently tuned to CNN's virtually continuous coverage of Campaign 2000.
"That's about enough self-flagellation for one day," said Allison,groaning. She hit the stop button and stepped down from the treadmill.
Walking had been her chief source of exercise since the beginning of theNew Hampshire Democratic primary in January. Whatever the town, she'd walkup and down Main Street, and people would join in and walk along with her.It provided great photo ops early in the primary, but after she won theDemocratic nomination in August the crowds grew so large that she neededa parade permit. In the last week, time constraints and cold Appalachianrains had forced her to confine her walking to the treadmill during bus-ridedebriefings from her campaign strategist, David Wilcox.
"What else, David?" she said as she leaned over and stretchedher calf muscles.
Wilcox was a tall and wiry fifty-one-year-old graduate of the Woodrow WilsonSchool of Public Affairs at Princeton. He had shone as a young White HouseFellow under President Carter, but a bitter loss in a personal bid for Congressin 1982 convinced him he'd rather not be a candidate. In high school hewas voted most likely to become a game show host, and he'd finally foundhis niche as a political strategist. Over seventeen years his list of satisfiedclients included nine United States senators, seven congressmen, and fivegovernors, and he'd masterminded Allison's upset victory over a sittingvice president in the Democratic primaries. In the last few weeks, however,he'd grown concerned about the growing influence of outside consultants,so he'd decided to glue himself to Allison's side for the bus tour. At themoment, he was reviewing his checklist, seemingly oblivious to Allison'ssweaty exercise attire or to the blurred Pennsylvania countryside in thewindow behind her.
"The drug problem has reared its ugly head." He had an ominousvoice for a thin man, part of an overall seriousness that was more suitablefor a White House state dinner than the frenetic campaign trail. "Ithink our distinguished opposition is turning desperate. They're finallytrying to make something out of your treatment for depression, back in '92."
"That was eight years ago. Politically speaking, it's ancient history."
"They're saying you took Prozac."
"I told you I was in counseling."
"Are you splitting hairs on me?"
She flashed a sobering look. "My four-month-old daughter was takenright out of her crib, right from my own house. Yes, I was depressed. Iwas in group counseling. Eight of us. Parents who'd lost children. No, Ididn't take Prozac. But if you ask the other members of my support group,they'll probably say I needed it. So don't expect me to apologize for havingreached out for a little support. And don't sit there and act like thisis news to you, either. I laid out all the skeletons the day I hired you."
He grimaced, thinking it through. "I just wish we could put the wholeepisode in more of a context."
Her look became a glare. "I won't make Emily's abduction part of thiscampaign, if that's what you mean."
"Allison, we can't just say you were depressed and leave it at that.We need a positive spin."
"Okay," she said sarcastically, "how about this? Depressionis a good thing. It's what stimulates ideas. Every invention, every accomplishmentstems from depression, not euphoria. Nobody ever said, 'Life's swell, let'sinvent fire.' It was the malcontent in the back of the cave who finallystood up and said, 'Hey, I'm freezing my ass off in here!' You want somethingto get done in Washington? By all means, elect the clinically depressed."
He was deadpan. "Please don't repeat that publicly. Or I'll be verydepressed."
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 24 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 24 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 24, 2003

    Grippando hits it out of the park again

    UNDER COVER OF DARKNESS is yet another example of a great mystery/thriller/suspense novel. I really liked this book. I think it's the fastest moving Grippando book that I have read, and I've read them all except for A KING'S RANSOM which is next up. Once I started reading I couldn't stop. Gus Wheatly is a prominent Seattle lawyer working in a prestigious law firm. When his wife (Beth) suddenly disappears at the same time as a string of murders takes place, Gus is left to wonder if his wife is another casualty, or an accomplice to the murders. James seamlessly weaves together the story from a couple different angles. One from the point of view of Gus, another from Andie, the local FBI agent in charge of the murder mystery case, and a third from the point of view of the killer. It's story telling at it's best. The tension is high throughout the book with enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. The end was a shocker to me. James Grippando is my new favorite author. Thanks James and keep the books coming!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2002

    Very suspenseful and gripping

    I read this book in only four days and I've got a very busy schedule. I actually woke up at 4 in the morning to finish because I was tossing and turning at night anxiously awaiting the ending. This book has quite a few twisted plots and interesting characters, particularly Allison Leahy. It focuses on all the behind the scenes looks at dirty campaigning, kidnappings and we can also throw in a little bit of marital infedility and racial issues. This book has a bit of everything and would also make for a great movie.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    I'm an avid reader, my husband not so much. This is the second

    I'm an avid reader, my husband not so much. This is the second audio book we listened to on our trip this past weekend, now he's hooked. This was a great book and would recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2012

    Very Interesting

    This book was full of surprises and plot twists. Recommend for sure!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 26, 2012

    Must read!!!

    Very well written story with some unseen turns to the end.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 17, 2012

    Very good read. Couldn't put it down.

    Very good read. Couldn't put it down.

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  • Posted April 23, 2012

    Good Read

    Will read more from this author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2012

    audio book

    Excellent content, and the reader was easy to follow. Wish I would have gotten the unabridged version though.


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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Highly Recommended if you love "who done it"

    The book was a page-turner kept the reader guessing as to who was responsible for the abduction.

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  • Posted September 2, 2011

    A recent lover of reading

    I've never been a person that enjoyed reading till I purchased my Nook. It was easy to carry with me and shortly after purchasing is I was given a free book by James Grippando. I don't remember which was the free one, I just know that I've now read everything he has written. ALL of his books are amazing and keep me wanting more. I can't wait till his next book comes out in January.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2002

    Great Book

    I've just finished reading all of his books, and each one got better and better, which was hard to believe. Each book is completely different-no rehashed themes. The Abduction has so many twists and turns, you're not sure who the kidnapper is, and I couldn't put it down. I highly recommend all of his books!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2000

    unstoppable suspense!!!

    after reading 'Found Money' I vowed to go back and read all of James Grippando. The Abduction is even better than 'Fo und Money'. Where has James Grippando been? He belongs at the top of all best seller charts. He is one of the greats in my opinion. And I discovered his books in my local library. This one makes you wonder about politicians and the lengths they go to just to win an election. MOre from James Grippando, Please

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2000

    The Abduction is a definent page turner!

    This book is definently worth reading! I am not big into politics, but I really enjoyed this book. I had it completed within a few days!

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    Posted April 20, 2013

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    Posted May 10, 2011

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    Posted July 30, 2011

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    Posted March 31, 2012

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