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. (Sept.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
In his seventh book, Florida lawyer Grippando revives characters from his debut, The Pardon. After successfully defending a former girlfriend in an insurance case, Miami attorney Jack Swyteck becomes convinced that his client scammed everyone. The situation worsens when she is found dead in his bathtub. Swyteck is, of course, suspected of murdering her, and evidence making him look like a willing participant in her scam appears. Further incriminating information strains his marriage and leads him into a dangerous confrontation with the people who might be behind the killing. Grippando writes in compact prose, quickly moving from one situation to the next. The legal situations are clearly written and understandable, and the characters are well rounded-though Grippando never addresses Swyteck's alleged involvement in a different murder in the earlier book. Still, fans of legal thrillers will particularly enjoy this latest novel, which recounts important aspects from its predecessor. For most popular fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/02.]-Joel W. Tscherne, Cleveland P.L. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
After a promising start, Grippando's eighth thriller-about an insurance scam and the Russian Mafia-stalls at midpoint and never recharges. Grippando (A King's Ransom, 2001, etc.) begins as confidently as Miami lawyer Jack Swyteck (last seen in The Pardon, 1994) strides from a courtroom where he has just won a case. Jack's former girlfriend Jessie Merrill had sold her three million-dollar insurance policy for half that amount to a firm named Viatical Solutions. Jessie had been diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and given a short time to live. But her doctor later said his diagnosis was wrong, and that healthy Jessie was unlikely to die anytime soon. Viatical sued to retrieve its investment and lost. But after the verdict comes down, Jack suspects that Jessie and her doctor had scammed Viatical with fake records. And he's right-as Jessie brazenly tells him, her revenge over their break-up now complete. Then someone works revenge on Jessie: she turns up dead in Jack's bathtub in a pool of blood, wrists slashed. Grippando now works many intriguing angles: Did Jack kill Jessie? Did Jessie kill herself? Why did Jessie deposit her take from the case in an account under her name and Jack's? Is someone from Viatical the culprit? Jack digs into the latter possibility to save his hide and to shore up his shaky marriage with wife Cindy. Therein begins the drag. Cindy remains in numbing stasis, her conversations with Jack moving in wearying circles. Likewise, Jack's probe of Viatical keeps meeting itself coming around to the same question: Did someone from this front for the Russian mob kill Jessica? Intriguing, but hardly riveting when pushed uphill by flat characters-save for blunt, funnyTheo, Jack's ex-con friend, who steals the few scenes Grippando gives him. Questions compel, characters don't. Give Theo the next case.
“Grippando’s legal insight and timely subject matter produce a strong narrative punch.”
“A top-knotch adventure with plenty of supercharged excitement.”