Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Intent To Kill by James Grippando

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Grippando takes a break from the Jack Swyteck series—some readers would call it a much-needed break—and delivers a fine stand-alone thriller. Ryan James was an up-and-coming baseball player, a minor leaguer who seemed destined for the majors. Then a car accident took the life of his wife, Chelsea, and now, three years later, he cohosts a sports-themed talk radio show while raising his young daughter and trying not to fall into an alcoholic spiral. Out of nowhere, on the third anniversary of Chelsea’s death, an anonymous tipster claims not only that her death was no accident but also that he knows who killed her. Teaming up with Emma Carlisle, the prosecutor in charge of the hit-and-run case, Ryan uncovers a conspiracy that puts his own life at risk. This is an excellent thriller, the kind of novel Grippando was turning out on a regular basis before he began devoting his time to the increasingly formulaic Swyteck series. It’s a return to the character-driven storytelling that made his earlier novels, including Found Money (1999), The Abduction (1998), and The Informant (1996), so successful. Ryan is a strong, sympathetic lead, and the supporting cast, including Emma Carlisle and Babes, Chelsea’s autistic brother, is uniformly excellent. The story is convoluted but not excessively so and has a satisfying resolution. Grippando readers who know him mostly from the Swyteck series may find themselves thinking: wow, this guy is really good (From Amazon)

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