The Pardon (Jack Swyteck Series #1)

The Pardon (Jack Swyteck Series #1)

3.7 109
by James Grippando, Ron McLarty
     
 

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Jack Swyteck, a brilliant Miami defense attorney has spent years rebelling against his father, Harry, now Florida's governor. Their estrangement seems complete when Harry allows one of Jack's clients -- a man Jack believes is innocent -- to die in the electric chair.See more details below

Overview

Jack Swyteck, a brilliant Miami defense attorney has spent years rebelling against his father, Harry, now Florida's governor. Their estrangement seems complete when Harry allows one of Jack's clients -- a man Jack believes is innocent -- to die in the electric chair.

Editorial Reviews

People Magazine
A gritty mystery that . . . rings true to the emotional realities of contemporary life. Readers will turn the pages of The Pardon faster than a bailiff can swear in a witness.
Boston Herald
A gripping mélange of courtroom drama and psychotic manipulation . . . . A bona fide blockbuster.
Paul Levine
Move over John Grisham! The legal thriller of the year!
People
A gritty mystery that . . . rings true to the emotional realities of contemporary life. Readers will turn the pages of The Pardon faster than a bailiff can swear in a witness.
Tampa Tribune
The Pardon arrives with the pistol-shot crack of a gavel cutting through a courtroom.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's 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. (Sept.)
Library Journal
This first novel is yet another entry into the crowded legal thriller genre. Jack Swyteck, defense attorney, has for many years rebelled against his father, Harry, currently the governor of their state. The story begins with the denial by Harry of a request for a stay of execution for one of Jack's clients, which sets into play a series of events. First, Jack is arrested for murder, and then Harry is blackmailed and faced with political ruin. These events lead to a reconciliation between father and son, who must now pull together and face a vengeful psychopath. The action, while slow to get started, ultimately leads to a series of increasingly violent episodes. Recommended for libraries with large collections of mysteries or thrillers. [Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, and Mystery Guild alternates.]-Erna Chamberlain, SUNY at Binghamton

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781402504891
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
01/07/2002
Series:
Jack Swyteck Series, #1
Edition description:
Unabridged

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

It was 5:00 A.M. and Governor Harold Swyteck had finally fallen asleep on the daybed. Rest was always elusive on execution nights, which would have been news to anyone who'd heard the governor on numerous occasions emphasizing the need to evict "those holdover tenants" on Florida's overcrowded death row. A former cop and state legislator, Harry Swyteck had campaigned for governor on a law-and-order platform that prescribed more prisons, longer sentences, and more executions as a swift and certain cure for a runaway crime rate. After sweeping into office by a comfortable margin, he'd delivered immediately on his campaign promise, signing his first death warrant on inauguration day in January 1991. In the ensuing twenty-one months, more death warrants had received the governor's John Hancock than in the previous two administrations combined.

At twenty minutes past five, a shrill ring interrupted the governor's slumber. Instinctively, Harry reached out to swat the alarm clock, but it wasn't there. The ringing continued.

The phone," his wife grumbled from across the room, snug in their bed.

The governor shook himself to full consciousness, realized he was in the daybed, and then started at the blinking red light on the security phone beside his empty half of the four-poster bed.

He stubbed his toe against the bed as he made his way toward the receiver. "Dammit! What is it?"

"Governor," came the reply, "this is security."

"I know who you are, Mel. What's the emergency?"

The guard shifted uncomfortably at his post, the way anyone would who'd just woken his boss before sunrise. "Sir, there's someone here who wants tosee you. It's about the execution."

The governor gritted his teeth, trying hard not to misdirect the anger of a stubbed toe and a sleepless night toward the man who guarded his safety. "Mel-please. You can't be waking me up every time a last-minute plea lands on my doorstep. We have channels for these things. That's why I have counsel. Call them. Now, good-"

"Sir," he gently interrupted, "I -- I understand your reaction, sir. But this one, I think, is different. Says he has information that will convince you Fernandez is innocent."

"Who is it this time?" Harry asked with a roll of his eyes. "His mother? Some friend of the family?"

"No, sir, he ... well, he says he's your son."

The governor was suddenly wide awake. "Send him in," he said, then hung up the phone. He checked the clock. Almost five-thirty. just ninety minutes left. One bell of a time for your first visit to the mansion, son.

Jack Swyteck stood stiffly on the covered front porch, not sure how to read the sullen expression on his father's face.

"Well, well," the governor said, standing in the open doorway in his monogrammed burgundy bathrobe. Jack was the governor's twenty-six-year-old son, his only offspring. Jack's mother had died a few hours after his birth. Try as he might, Harold had never quite forgiven his son for that.

"I'm here on business," Jack said quickly. "All I need is ten minutes."

The governor stared coolly across the threshold at Jack, who with the same dark, penetrating eyes was plainly his father's son. Tonight he wore faded blue jeans, a brown leather aviator's jacket, and matching boots. His rugged, broad-shouldered appearance could have made him an instant heartthrob as a country singer, though with his perfect diction and Yale law degree he was anything but country. His father had looked much the same in his twenties, and at fifty-three he was still lean and barrel-chested. He'd graduated from the University of Florida, class of '65 -- a savvy sabre-fencer who'd turned street cop, then politician. The governor was a man who could take your best shot, bounce right back, and hand you your head if you let your guard down. His son was always on guard.

"Come in," Harry said.

Jack entered the foyer, shut the door behind him, and followed his father down the main hall. The rooms were smaller than Jack had expected-elegant but simple, with high coffered ceilings and floors of oak and inlaid mahogany. Period antiques, silk Persian rugs, and crystal chandeliers were the principal furnishings. The art was original and reflected Florida's history.

"Sit down," said the governor as they stepped into the library at the end of the hall.

The dark-paneled library reminded Jack of the house in which he'd grown up. He sat in a leather armchair before the stone fireplace, his crossed legs fully extended and his boots propped up irreverently on the head of a big Alaskan brown bear that his father had years ago stopped in its tracks and turned into a rug. The governor looked away, containing his impulse to tell his son to sit up straight. He stepped behind the big oak bar and filled his old-fashioned glass with ice cubes. Jack did a double take. He thought his father had given up hard liquor-then again, this was the first time he'd seen him as Governor Swyteck. "Do you have to drink? Like I said, this is business."

The governor shot him a glance, then reached for the Chivas and filled his glass to the brim. "And this" -- he raised his glass -- "is none of your business. Cheers." He took a long sip.

Jack just watched, telling himself to focus on the reason he was there.

"So," the governor said, smacking his lips. "I can't really remember the last time we even spoke, let alone saw each other. How long has it been this time?"

Jack shrugged. "Two, two and a half years."

"Since your law-school graduation, wasn't it?"

"No" -- Jack's expression betrayed the faintest of smiles -- "since I told you I was...

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

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What People are saying about this

'Paul Levine
"Move over John Grisham! The legal thriller of the year!"
Tampa Tribune
"The Pardon arrives with the pistol-shot crack of a gavel cutting through a courtroom."

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