Afraid of the Dark (Jack Swyteck Series #9)

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling author's ever-popular hero, Jack Swyteck, is on his most dangerous case yet, uncovering a sinister underground world that has him racing across the globe.

Then: Sergeant Vince Paulo held his best friend's daughter, McKenna, bleeding in his arms as she uttered the name of her murderer and ex-boyfriend, Jamal. That was minutes before a blast made everything go black for Vince—forever.

Now: Miami criminal defense ...

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Afraid of the Dark (Jack Swyteck Series #9)

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling author's ever-popular hero, Jack Swyteck, is on his most dangerous case yet, uncovering a sinister underground world that has him racing across the globe.

Then: Sergeant Vince Paulo held his best friend's daughter, McKenna, bleeding in his arms as she uttered the name of her murderer and ex-boyfriend, Jamal. That was minutes before a blast made everything go black for Vince—forever.

Now: Miami criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck has been called in to save Jamal from the death penalty for terrorist activity. Despite urgent warnings from his fiancée, undercover FBI agent Andie Henning, to stay away from the case, Jack finds himself inextricably drawn to Jamal's past—even believing his alibi that he was abducted and held in a black site in Prague at the time of McKenna's death. But if Jamal is innocent, then the man who murdered McKenna and took Vince's sight is still out there . . . free.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In Grippando's rousing ninth Jack Swyteck legal thriller (after Born to Run), Jack successfully defends a supposed Somali prisoner in his mid-20s held at Guantánamo. But then the prisoner is identified as an American, Jamal Wakefield, and is transferred to Miami, Fla., where he's charged with the fatal stabbing of his ex-girlfriend, McKenna Mays, three years earlier. In his defense, Jamal offers a wild story of kidnapping and covert interrogation. As witnesses who could confirm Jamal's alibi are eliminated, Jack and his dwindling circle of friends, and not always trustworthy allies, must race to uncover a sadistic killer and his bosses before the conspirators can silence everyone who might speak against them. Working with a cast that includes depraved sexual deviants, corrupt private military contractors, and wannabe jihadis, Grippando transforms what might have been a conventional genre novel in lesser hands into an exciting tale of revenge. (Apr.)
Newark Star Ledger
“Grippando powerfully weaves Afraid of the Dark into a noir look at the fears that seep into each corner of society….Grippando has proven his skills with edge-of-your-seat thrillers. Afraid of the Dark may be his most gripping novel.”
Associated Press Staff
“More twists and turns than a snowy mountain pass…Afraid of the Dark will have readers embracing this darkness.”
Miami Herald
“Grippando has proven his skills with edge-of-your-seat thrillers. Afraid of the Dark may be his most gripping yet.”
Booklist
"Grippando has definitely reached a new level with this series entry. . . . One of his best."
Romantic Times
“Filled with twists and turns and edge-of-the-seat tension.”
Booklist (starred review)
“Grippando has definitely reached a new level with this series entry. . . . One of his best.”
Library Journal
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. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/10.]—Ron Terpening, Univ. of Arizona, Tucson
Kirkus Reviews
Grippando brings back Miami attorney Jack Swyteck to deal with a cold case that wasn't.

When 16-year-old McKenna Mays was brutally murdered, everyone knew who did it. In particular, Sergeant Vince Paulo, Miami PD, knew. At the behest of McKenna's dad, he'd been engaged in a doomed attempt to watch over her, arriving at the Mays house with time only to ask for a name and was not surprised at the one she managed to supply. By all reports Jamal Wakefield, an ex-boyfriend, had not taken kindly to rejection. Then, moments after McKenna's death-bed accusation, the Mays house blew apart, an explosion that destroyed Vince Paulo's sight as well. And that, too—the deadly home-made bomb—was credited to Jamal. So no mystery, no bothersome unanswered questions about motivation, but also no Jamal. He'd vanished. Flash forward three years. Series hero Jack finds himself at Gitmo, defending Prisoner Number 977, who turns out to be the very same Jamal, who, interestingly enough, turns out to have a seemingly rock-solid alibi covering the time he was supposed to be murdering McKenna and blinding Vince: incarceration by federal authorities. Suddenly, McKenna's homicide becomes a case of a different temperature, inasmuch as Jamal has so unexpectedly climbed out from under, and inasmuch as McKenna's actual killer is presumably still at large. Now there are questions, bothersome indeed. How, for instance, to explain McKenna's fateful I.D.? Precisely what had landed Jamal in Gitmo, and why does he refuse to talk about it, even to his own lawyers? All that is for Jack to sort out, a task not beyond him of course, provided he can stay alive long enough.

By the skin of its teeth, Grippando's 18th (Money to Burn, 2010, etc.) survives one of those evil-incarnate villains whose lack of nuance is an invitation to disbelief.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780792775201
  • Publisher: AudioGO
  • Publication date: 3/1/2011
  • Series: Jack Swyteck Series , #9
  • Format: CD

Meet the Author

James Grippando

James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels are enjoyed worldwide in twenty-six languages. Black Horizon is his twentieth novel published by HarperCollins, the eleventh in the acclaimed series featuring Miami attorney Jack Swyteck. He is also the author of Leapholes for young adults. Grippando was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon), and he is now counsel at one of the nation's leading law firms. He lives and writes in South Florida.

Biography

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:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 38 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 38 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    What if the lies are the truth and fiction is fact?

    Many interesting cases have crossed Jack Swyteck's desk and he is a master at knowing when his client is not telling him the truth. The client he has now is not only not telling him the truth he will not event talk to him at all. Very interesting decision since he is being held at Guantánamo with no chance of release unless they figure out why he is being viewed as a terrorist. The world gets stranger when the terrorist charges are dropped and his client becomes suspect #1 in a police officer's injury and the death of another police officer's daughter. Jack figures out quickly why his client thought being in Cuba was safer than getting out of jail.

    How is it possible that the defense becomes that there is no way he could have committed these murders he was being held in a black ops secret interrogation facility? Even Jack has trouble sorting through that and the phone call from his FBI agent fiancé telling him to walk away from this one. The truth is buried so deep and the evidence is based on the police convicting someone regardless of whether they are guilty or not. Jack won't listen to any of this and keeps moving forward resolving to sort through the lies to get to the truth regardless of what country he has to travel to in order to find the answer. However, when Jack puts all the pieces together will he be able to handle the reality that maybe conspiracy theories are true and factual.

    I am a fan of Jack Swyteck and his interesting and diverse life. The back characters are always add flavor and spice to this series and with secrets coming out about Jack's own family the heat is turned up another notch of interesting. Loved it!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2011

    Wonderful!!

    Fast paced, umpredictable, good action, intelligent dialogue, belivable characters, what more can you ask for in a mistery. Excelent, even better than my first james grippando novel that i read, Highly recommende

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2011

    Great mystery story!

    Good reading! Exciting to read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 24, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent

    I have not read any of Grippando's books before and was unaware this was even a series. The story has a great plot, is laid out well and keeps just enough of an edge that you don't want to put it down. The story unfolds beautifully and has everything you could want for a murdery myster, CIA, computer genius, a grieving parent with need for revenge, and lots of secrets that ultimately lead to the killer.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2011

    Jack is back-better than ever

    Jack Swyteck is that old friend you want to keep visiting. Like Coben's Myron and Rosenfelt's Andy, his main character comes alive and draws you in. In this book, defense attorney Swyteck tries to determine if the right man is facing the death penalty. Vince Paulo held his best friend, Chuck May's daughter as she bled to death. The name she whispered, Jamal, seemed to indicate that her boyfriend was her killer. Now Vince, Chuck and Jack must make sure that the right person is paying for the crime. This is a popular genre, and it is difficult to stand out in it. Grippando continues to do so with his vivid portrayals of his characters and their surroundings. As always with his books, I finished this with the disappointment of knowing I would have to wait at least a year to visit with Jack Swyteck again.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 16, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    an excellent tale

    Lawyer Jack Swyteck defends twentyish Somali prisoner 977detained at GITMO, which stands for "Giving Interrogation Teams More Options" for three years. His client distrusts anyone from America after being bushed by enhanced interrogation techniques at Guantanamo. The charge against 977 is he signed a confession that he sheltered al-Qaeda operations chief Fazul Abdullah Mohammed. Jack wins the case for his client, but over lunch with Neil Goderich, instead of the release of 977, he is informed he has been handed over to Florida law enforcement.

    977 has been identified as American Jamal Wakefield, wanted by Miami police for the murder of his former girlfriend McKenna Mays three years ago. Jamal is sent to Florida to stand trial with Jack defending him again. Jamal explains an over the top conspiracy of abduction and rendition to a Prague prison, and forceful interrogation. He names people as his alibi, but each person he claims as a witness is killed by an unknown assassin team; Jack believes the Pentagon is outsourcing murder to Black Ice. Jack tries to find ways to end the killing spree that seems sanctioned high up; even as his girlfriend FBI Agent Andie warns him to drop the case. Still he remains resolute unaware how deadly the Dark truly is.
    .

    The latest Swyteck legal thriller (see Born to Run) is an excellent tale as the attorney goes from defending his African client against terrorism charges to defending his American client against murder charges. With some nasty foes on all sides of the war against terrorism and an irate avenger demanding justice for McKenna, Jack struggles to do right by his client if he lives so long. Afraid of the Dark is a terrific international thriller.

    Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 27, 2014

    Great Intrigue

    This was an exciting, compelling read. Characters seemed real (believable) and the plot did too. Just wished I knew what happened to Shanda. Grippando is an excellent writer.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 15, 2014

    Titw

    Fierse

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2014

    Andrianna

    Heyy this book is kind of weird

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    Dawne

    I fully enjoyed this whole series ( 9 books ) about Jack Swyteck and his family and friends. I found all of the books very enjoyable. The writing kept you drawn in from the beginning and kept you there till the end. In apparently the last book to the series (march 2011) I can honestly say I could NOT put the book down. Wasn't much about Theo but we can't get him in every book. This I would say was the most heart wrenching of them all. I wish more would come but after 2 dry years of none I'll have to settle with re reading. Thank you for this glorious series.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 26, 2013

    reivew

    I read all the Jack series.I could not get enough of this character .If stuff could happen it did to him .I look forward to more in this series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2012

    unknown

    I did not enjoy the book

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Outstanding...best Swyteck to date!!!

    I have long been a big fan of Grippando, both with Swyteck and without. I think this is his most intense work to date, with a complicated plot and a myriad of sub-plots. There was a great deal of disturbing information provided about just some of the goings-on within the Internet sex community...yuk!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 30, 2011

    Forgetable

    Can't recommend

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    action packed

    Afraid of the Dark by James Grippando is the ninth book in his Jack Swytek series. (and 18th book overall)

    Swytek is a criminal defense attorney based in Miami. He is called in by an old friend to help with the defense of a young man who has been in Gitmo for 3 years. His true identity is uncovered - he is not a Somalian, but rather an American named Jamal - a young man wanted in the U.S. for the murder of his girlfriend and the blinding of the cop who tried to save her. But he says he was in a black site camp in the Czech Republic at the time and couldn't have done it. And the US government put him there.

    That's the opening salvo - from there the plot grows exponentially, including terrorism both home and abroad, child porn and more. (Some readers may find the graphic violence a bit too much)

    I like Swytek as a character and the series has always been a satisfying read. Afraid of the Dark was very, very busy in terms of plot - perhaps a bit too much. Grippando was ambitious with this one - I think Swytek being involved at the international level is a bit of a stretch. But the plot elements are very real and very current. This was a good, thrilling page turner - exactly what I've come to expect from James Grippando. Fans of David Baldacci would enjoy this author.

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    Posted April 8, 2011

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    Posted June 7, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2013

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 6, 2012

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