Found Money

Found Money

4.2 24
by James Grippando, (none)

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A young woman finds $200,000 in cash in a cardboard box delivered to her door. A man inherits a fortune from a father who died "penniless." Amy Parkens and Ryan Duffy have never met, but they are about to, as each discovers that found money can be a godsend––or a nightmare.

Amy Parkens is a struggling single mother forced to abandon a career in

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A young woman finds $200,000 in cash in a cardboard box delivered to her door. A man inherits a fortune from a father who died "penniless." Amy Parkens and Ryan Duffy have never met, but they are about to, as each discovers that found money can be a godsend––or a nightmare.

Amy Parkens is a struggling single mother forced to abandon a career in astronomy for a practical computer job. She feels condemned to long hours, low pay, and no time to spend with her daughter. Then an unmarked package arrives. There's no card, no note, no return address. Someone has simply sent her a small fortune. Amy has no idea who––or why. She only knows her dead–end life has changed forever.

Though she longs to keep the cash, Amy fears a mistake, a setup, or even a possible connection to her mother's mysterious suicide twenty years earlier. She has to find the source. But when she tries to look her gift horse in the mouth, someone snatches the money away––quickly, violently.

Ryan Duffy is a decent, responsible man, a small–town physician from the plains of southeastern Colorado. Like Amy, Ryan has recently found unexpected wealth. His father's estate is worth more than Ryan could ever have imagined––millions more. Truth is, Dad was a hardworking electrician for forty–years. But in his attic, he hid a fortune. The Duffy family has been guarding this secret. Was it extortion, burglary, or some other shocking crime? And now that Ryan has the money, what should he do?

Painful as it is, Ryan is drawn to his father's dark past. Amy, on the same desperate quest for answers, soon crosses Ryan's path. Their search takes them through a labyrinth of deception and blackmail, leading to a man of unfathomable power.

Yet the past is not what it appears. Heinous crimes touched their families years ago. Amy and Ryan must solve a treacherous puzzle to learn why the true victims never came forward, why the real wrongdoers went unpunished, and why certain people would kill to keep their secrets.

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Editorial Reviews

David Pitt
If the quality of a thriller can be measured by its ability to confound and then delight its readers, then Grippando's latest is very good thriller indeed. Like his previous novel, The Abduction, this one sets up a situation--28-year-old Amy Parkens receives $200,000 in the mail from an anonymous donor--and piles up question upon question until readers feel they might go crazy trying to figure everything out. Did the money come from a man who recently died, leaving millions of dollars stashed away? What is the secret buried deep in the man's past, and does it have anything to do with the apparent suicide of Amy's mother 20 years ago? The questions keep coming, long after the halfway point (when most thrillers tend to start providing answers), but all of a sudden, everything clicks, and readers will want to applaud. Number this intelligent, cleverly constructed thriller among the best.--Booklist
Larry King
Grippando writes in nail-biting style.
USA Today
Orlando Sentinel
A plot filled with twists and turns. Found Money is a good yarn about two honest people whose main problem is that their parents kept too many secrets.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
For anyone who's ever dreamed of finding a cash windfall, Grippando's (The Abduction) new crime novel offers a cautionary tale of greed, family secrets and the dangers of getting what you wish for. Just before Frank Duffy dies, he tells his physician son, Ryan, that there is $2 million hidden in the attic, and that Frank got the money through blackmail--albeit off someone who "deserved it." The level-headed Ryan considers both claims unbelievable--until he finds the money. What secrets had his mild-mannered, hard-working father been hiding? Meanwhile, Amy Parkins, while struggling to support her daughter and her grandmother and to put herself through law school, receives $200,000 from an anonymous benefactor, apparently Frank Duffy, whom she'd never met. Why? Could the gift have anything to do with her mother's mysterious suicide 20 years earlier? Troubled by the criminal implications of his father's legacy, Ryan decides he can't touch the cash until he knows where it came from. His questions kick off a wild ride involving lawyers and guns, Panamanian banks, seductive strangers and too much FBI interest for comfort. Amy, too, tries to trace the money, putting her on a collision course with Ryan and his greed-maddened family. As Ryan and Amy search for the money's source and meaning, they uncover a conspiracy involving high-ranking government officials, multi-billion-dollar corporations and a hidden crime committed on a hot summer night years ago. The final revelation is a real kicker, but it would carry even more force if overly tricky plot contrivances hadn't diluted the suspense of what came before. (Feb.)
Library Journal
Grippando (The Abduction, LJ 3/15/98) has done it again, crafting a thrilling scenario filled with terrifying images of money's dark side. Dr. Ryan Duffy returns home to attend his father's funeral, expecting to console his mother. Instead, his father's dying words, wrought with allusions to blackmail, encourage Ryan to seek out an unexpected pile of cash squirreled away in the attic. Mom is not talking about the millions there, and Ryan's pregnant sister and abusive brother-in-law turn sinister. Meanwhile, single mom Amy Parkens receives an anonymous package from the dying Duffy Senior--$200,000 in cash in a crockpot box. Amy traces the money to the Duffys through the crockpot warranty, and this results in an immediate but wary attraction between Amy and Ryan. The pair circle around a decades-old mystery involving their parents and those they considered their most trusted friends and allies. Highly recommended. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 10/15/98.]--Susan A. Zappia, Maricopa Cty. Lib. Dist., Phoenix
Kirkus Reviews
A worthy idea is undercut by slapdash craftsmanship. The idea: What to do if, like manna, a big bundle of money drops down out of the blue into your lap-two million dollars, in Ryan Duffy's case; $200,000 in Amy Parkens's. The hitch (there has to be one) is that the money Ryan finds in his daddy's attic may be tainted. In fact, his daddy tells him so: It was gotten through blackmail, he confesses, and then breathes his last before he can divulge the details. But, as Ryan learns, there's this safety-deposit box in Panama that promises to be well, interesting. So off he goes, and there discovers that he now has to add another $3 million to his worrisome treasure chest; also that his father, at age 16, was convicted of rape-though no names are mentioned in the yellowing press clipping. Is that the nasty secret behind the blackmail caper?

Regardless, before Ryan leaves Panama, he's victimized by the kind of sneakily orchestrated heist that convinces him other players are involved in this no-rule game. In the meantime, Amy's also bothered and bewildered by her windfall-sent to her anonymously, no explanation. She's the resourceful type, though, and a bit of sleuthing leads her to Ryan-and to the conclusion that the Duffy family and her own must have been connected at some point, in all likelihood dubiously. Having arranged to meet, Amy and Ryan are instantly smitten with one another. (It turns out, thank heaven, that whoever Ryan's dad did rape, it was not Amy's mom, which certainly would have put a crimp in the romance ) Several murders-and one bad beating-later, it becomes clear that Dad Duffy was indeed framed. What's never entirely understood (or plausible) is why his secret wasworth $5 million. Twists for twists, many of them preposterous. But the real problem is, as always, Grippando's people: So few are persuasive.

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Chapter One

Amy wished she could go back in time. Not way back. It wasn't as if she wanted to sip ouzo with Aristotle or tell Lincoln to duck. Less than a fortnight would suffice. Just far enough to avert the computer nightmare she'd been living.

Amy was the computer information systems director at Bailey, Gaslow & Heinz, the premier law firm in the Rocky Mountains. It was her job to keep confidential information flowing freely and securely between the firm's offices in Boulder, Denver, Salt Lake City, Washington, London, and Moscow. Day in and day out, she had the power to bring two hundred attorneys groveling to their knees. And she had the privilege of hearing them scream. Simultaneously. At her.

As if I created the virus, she thought, thinking of what she wished she had said to one accusatory partner. He was miles behind her now, but she was still thinking about it. Driving alone on the highway was a great place to put things exactly as they should have been.

It had taken almost a week to purge the entire system, working eighteen-hour days, traveling to six different offices. She had everyone up and running in some capacity within the first twenty-four hours, and she ultimately salvaged over 95 percent of the stored data. Still, it wasn't a pleasant experience to have to tell a half-dozen unlucky lawyers that, like Humpty Dumpty, their computers and everything on them were DOA.

It was a little-known fact, but Amy had witnessed it firsthand: Lawyers do cry.

A sudden rattle in the dashboard snagged Amy's attention. Her old Ford pickup truck had plenty of squeaks and pings. Each was different, and she knew them all, like a mother who could sensewhether her baby's cry meant feed me, change me, or please get Grandma out of my face. This particular noise was more of a clunk--an easy problem to diagnose, since torrid hot air was suddenly blowing out of the air conditioning vents. Amy switched off the A-C and tried rolling down the window. It jammed. Perfect. Ninety-two degrees outside, her truck was spewing dragon's breath, and the damn window refused to budge. It was an old saw in Colorado that people visited for the winters but moved there for the summers. They obviously didn't mean this.

I'm melting, she thought, borrowing from The Wizard of Oz.

She grabbed the Rocky Mountain News from the floor and fanned herself for relief. The week-old paper marked the day she had sent her daughter off to visit her ex-husband for the week, so that she could devote all her energy to the computer crisis. Six straight days away from Taylor was a new record, one she hoped would never be broken. Even dead tired, she couldn't wait to see her.

Amy was driving an oven on wheels by the time she reached the Clover Leaf Apartments, a boring collection of old two-story red brick buildings. It was a far cry from the cachet Boulder addresses that pushed the average price of a home to more than a quarter-million dollars. The Clover Leaf was government-subsidized housing, an eyesore to anyone but penurious students and the fixed-income elderly. Landscaping was minimal. Baked asphalt was plentiful. Amy had seen warehouse districts with more architectural flair. It was as if the builder had decided that nothing man-made could ever be as beautiful as the jagged mountaintops in the distance, so why bother even trying? Even so, there was a four-year waiting list just to get in.

A jolt from a speed bump launched her to the roof. The truck skidded to a halt in the first available parking space, and Amy jumped out. After a minute or two, the redness in her face faded to pink. She was looking like herself again. Amy wasn't one to flaunt it, but she could easily turn heads. Her ex-husband used to say it was the long legs and full lips. But it was much more than that. Amy gave off a certain energy whenever she moved, whenever she smiled, whenever she looked through those big gray-blue eyes. Her grandmother had always said she had her mother's boundless energy--and Gram would know.

Amy's mother had died tragically twenty years ago, when Amy was just eight. Her father had passed away even earlier. Gram had essentially raised her. She knew Amy; she'd even seen the warning signs in her

ex-husband before Amy had. Four years ago, Amy was a young mother trying to balance a marriage, a newborn, and graduate studies in astronomy. Her daughter and coursework left little time for Ted--meaning too little time to keep an eye on him. He found another woman. After the divorce, she moved in with Gram, who helped with Taylor. Good jobs weren't easy to find in Boulder, a haven for talented and educated young professionals who wanted the quintessential Colorado lifestyle. Amy would have loved to stick with astronomy, but money was tight, and a graduate degree in astronomy wouldn't change that. Even her computer job hadn't changed that. Her paycheck barely covered the basic living expenses for the three of them. Anything left over was stashed away for law school, which was coming in September.

For Amy, a career in law was an economic decision, not an emotional one. She was certain she'd meet plenty of classmates just like her--art historians, English literature majors, and dozens more who had abandoned all hope of finding work in the field they loved.

Amy just wished there were another way.

"Mommy, Mommy!"

Amy whirled at the sound of her daughter's voice. She was wearing her favorite pink dress and red tennis shoes. The left half of her very blonde hair was in a pigtail. The other flowed in the breeze, another lost barrette. She peeled down the walkway and leaped into Amy's arms.

Found Money. Copyright © by James Grippando. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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John Douglas
Grippando writes with the authenticity of an insider. -- Author of Mindhunter and former chief of the FBI's Investigative Support Unit

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