Cover image for Under cover of darkness : a novel
Title:
Under cover of darkness : a novel
Author:
Grippando, James, 1958-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2000.
Physical Description:
399 pages ; 25 cm
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780060192402
Format :
Book

Available:*

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Summary

Summary

From the bestselling author of The Abduction and Found Money comes another pulse-pounding thriller.

Gus Wheatley thinks he's found success. Money, power, prestige -- they all come with the territory for the youngest lawyer ever to grab the helm of Seattle's most prominent law firm. Nothing can interfere with his meteoric rise to the top -- until his wife vanishes.

Beth dropped off their six-year-old daughter at the youth center one afternoon, and no one has seen her since. Her disappearance comes just as FBI profilers are called in to examine a bizarre emerging pattern of brutal serial murders that rocks Seattle. The FBI dubs them "bookend killings, " as the killer seems to be striking his victims in pairs: first two men, then two women. The victims are unrelated, yet within each pairing, one mirrors the other in chilling detail.

But this is just the beginning of the nightmare for Gus. Soon Seattle police fashion a theory that leaves two horrifying possibilities: Either Beth is the killer's latest victim...or she is his willing accomplice.

As the gruesome murders continue, and with Beth's whereabouts still unknown, Gus starts to investigate. He cannot accept the idea that Beth would ever ally herself with a cold-blooded killer, but only now that she's gone does Gus realize just how far apart they've grown. Slowly, Gus begins to unravel the shocking truth about the woman he thought he knew. Beth may be alive. She may or may not be innocent. She may have come up against something far more evil than just a serial killer. And for Gus and his family, that evil is far too close to home.

An intense tale of success and betrayal, and a frightening look into the darker side of the human psyche, Under Cover of Darkness is James Grippando at his best.


Author Notes

Author James Grippando was born in Antioch, Illinois in 1958. He spent one year at the University of Illinois before transferring to the University of Florida in Gainesville, where he received his B.A. with high honors and his law degree with honors. While in law school, he was executive editor of the University of Florida Law Review. He was practicing commercial litigation with the law firm of Steel Hector & Davis for 12 years before becoming a full-time writer. He wrote his first two novels while he was still working as a trial lawyer. His novels include the Jack Swyteck series.

(Bowker Author Biography)


Reviews 4

Booklist Review

From the author of the recent spine tinglers The Abduction (1998) and Found Money (1998) comes a thriller about a prominent lawyer whose investigation of his wife's disappearance forces him to confront the possibility that she may not be a serial killer's victim but his accomplice. Grippando's yarns are always refreshing for several reasons. His characters are well drawn but not excessively detailed; his plots are intelligently conceived and executed; and he avoids many of the cliches of this genre. Here, for instance, the lawyer is working with a tough, attractive female FBI agent, but, for a change, we aren't treated to the usual sexual-tension, will-they-or-won't-they subplot. A smart, straightforward, and--yes, the pun is unavoidable--gripping thriller. --David Pitt


Publisher's Weekly Review

A workaholic attorney is forced to examine his priorities when his wife disappears amid a spree of serial killings in the Pacific Northwest. Grippando's fifth thriller (The Pardon; Found Money) springs energetically from the gate, creating tension and pace before a few unbelievable plot twists cause it to lose traction. Attorney Gus Wheatley, general partner of one of Seattle's biggest and most prestigious law firms, is interrupted from his busy schedule by a call from his daughter's dance instructor: his wife, Beth, failed to pick up six-year-old Morgan after class. At first merely annoyed, he next assumes his wife is having an affair (they have been experiencing marital problems) but soon calls police when he realizes Beth has disappeared without a trace. Ambitious FBI agent Andrea "Andie" Henning believes Beth may have fallen victim to a serial killer. In the days following her disappearance, Gus is stunned to learn that his wife suffered from bulimia and kleptomania, conditions pointing to extremely low self-esteem. Her emotional condition and other cluesDstrange phone calls, a tip from a prison inmateDeventually tempt investigators with another theory: Beth may have joined a local cult that includes murder among its group activities. The most successful component of this story is Gus Wheatley's growing awareness of his emotional separation from his family. Former trial lawyer Grippando displays expertise in police and legal procedures, but the connection between the killings and the cult strains credulity. Several key characters are not drawn convincingly, and the finale is more of an ambush than a surprise. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

In this latest from Grippando (Found Money), the marriage of high-powered attorney Gus Wheatley and his insecure wife, BethDalready unfamiliar terrain to both partnersDis invaded by a serial-killer. Beth seems to have it all: the perfect home and a precious young daughter. Yet she vanishes one afternoon without taking a single piece of her life, including her child, who is left waiting all evening at private school. Rookie FBI agent Andie Henning has recently ditched her loser of a fianc at the altar and welcomes the opportunity to work on what turns out to be a high-profile serial-killer case. Gus's world continues self-destructing, as his daughter, sister, and colleagues judge and reject him, the killer piles up Beth lookalike victims, and eerie telephone clues indicate that she may be alive and in the killer's clutches. In the meantime, Gus learns some rather sad and unsavory things about the wife he thought he knew. Another riveting tale of suspense from Grippando. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/00.]DSusan A. Zappia, Paradise Valley Community Coll., Phoenix (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


School Library Journal Review

A workaholic attorney is forced to examine his priorities when his wife disappears amid a spree of serial killings in the Pacific Northwest. Grippando's fifth thriller (The Pardon; Found Money) springs energetically from the gate, creating tension and pace before a few unbelievable plot twists cause it to lose traction. Attorney Gus Wheatley, general partner of one of Seattle's biggest and most prestigious law firms, is interrupted from his busy schedule by a call from his daughter's dance instructor: his wife, Beth, failed to pick up six-year-old Morgan after class. At first merely annoyed, he next assumes his wife is having an affair (they have been experiencing marital problems) but soon calls police when he realizes Beth has disappeared without a trace. Ambitious FBI agent Andrea "Andie" Henning believes Beth may have fallen victim to a serial killer. In the days following her disappearance, Gus is stunned to learn that his wife suffered from bulimia and kleptomania, conditions pointing to extremely low self-esteem. Her emotional condition and other clues--strange phone calls, a tip from a prison inmate--eventually tempt investigators with another theory: Beth may have joined a local cult that includes murder among its group activities. The most successful component of this story is Gus Wheatley's growing awareness of his emotional separation from his family. Former trial lawyer Grippando displays expertise in police and legal procedures, but the connection between the killings and the cult strains credulity. Several key characters are not drawn convincingly, and the finale is more of an ambush than a surprise. (July) (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Under Cover of Darkness Chapter One The rain was a sign of good luck and happiness. Andrea Henning had heard that old wives' tale at least thirty times today. She wondered. if Mr. Gallup had ever conducted a poll to find out -if couples who married on sunny days actually had higher divorce rates than those who waded through puddles on their way to the attar. Not that it really mattered. Rain on this wedding had been a virtual certainty. It was, after all, late winter in Seattle. Andie -- no one called her "Andrea" -- wasn't bothered by the weather or any of the things a bride typically worried about. Maybe it was her training as an FBI agent, or maybe it was her innate common sense. Whenever something couldn't be controlled, Andie just dealt with it, and it usually worked out. Her crash diet had been a disaster, but the dress still fit perfectly. The best man was an idiot, yet he'd somehow remembered the marriage license. And the old candlelit church had never looked better. Bouquets of white roses with lace and pink ribbons adorned each pew. A long white runner stretched down the center aisle from the vestibule to the altar. The crowd was spread evenly, left side and right, soothed by a gentle harp as the last of four bridesmaids walked down the aisle. Rain or not, it was the wedding her mother had always told her to dream of. Andie moved into the open double doorway in the rear of the church. The wedding consultant helped with the satin train behind her. In front, the silver-haired minister waited at the altar, flanked on his right by bridesmaids dressed in red velvet dresses. To his left stood three young groomsmen and Andie's handsome husband-to-be. Rick looked nervous, even from a distance. His steely blue eyes glistened. They were almost glazed-probably from all the drinking his friends had inflicted on him last night. The rented tuxedo seemed a little tight for his chest and shoulders, but maybe he was just taking deep breaths. He would have been far more at ease in blue jeans. So would have Andie. The sound of the harp faded away. The guests fell silent. All heads swiveled toward the back of the church. Andie took her father's arm. Though a half foot shorter than her, he was a pillar of strength-normally. At the moment she could feel his hands trembling. "Ready?" he asked. She didn't reply. The time had come. The pipe organ blared. Andie cringed. She had explicitly instructed the organist not to play the traditional "Here Comes the Bride." Her meddlesome mother had struck again. Together, Andie and her father started down the aisle. A camera flashed in her face, Then another. It was like staring into a strobe light. At this rate, she'd not only be filing a married couple's tax return this year, but she'd also have to mark yes in that little box that asks "Are you blind?" Andie focused on the burning candles on the altar as she continued down the aisle. Friends and relatives beamed as she passed. They made her feel beautiful, though all of her life she'd been told she was beautiful. She resembled neither of her adoptive parents, of course. She had the prominent cheekbones and raven black hair of the American Indian mother she never knew. The deep green eyes were presumably from an Anglo father. The result was striking, an exotic ancestral mix. Halfway down the aisle, Andie slowed the pace. Her nervous father was walking way too fast. His hand was sweating in hers. She squeezed it, then released. Finally, they stopped before the minister, standing side by side. The loud organ ceased abruptly. Butterflies fluttered in her stomach. The minister raised his hands, then lowered them, instructing the crowd to sit. A quiet shuffle filled the church as two hundred guests lowered themselves into oak pews. When all was quiet, the minister raised his voice and asked, "Who gives this bride?" The question echoed against Gothic stone arches. Her father swallowed hard. "Her mother and I do." Andie could barely recognize the shaky voice. He lifted her veil and kissed her on the cheek. "I love you," she whispered. He couldn't speak. He turned and walked to the front pew, taking the seat beside his wife. Andie climbed the two marble steps. The groom reached for her hand. She turned away, however, and faced the guests. She drew a deep breath, then spoke with self-assurance. "I know this is unorthodox. But before we get started" I want to thank some people." The guests seemed confused. Her parents looked at one another. Nobody moved. Andie continued, "First, I want to thank my parents. Mom, Dad. I love you both very much. I want to thank Reverend Jenkins, who has known me since I was a gangly teenager and who has been looking forward to this day probably more than anyone. I also want to thank each and every one of you for coming today. It means so much to have your friendship, your support." Her voice trailed off. She averted her eyes, then drew a deep breath and looked squarely at the clock in the back of the church. "But most of all," she said, her voice shaking, "I want to thank Linda, my lovely sister and maid of honor." She glared to her right. "For sleeping with the groom last night." The crowd gasped. Andie whirled and hit the groom squarely in the chest with her bouquet. Anger and embarrassment rushed through her veins. She hiked her long white wedding dress and ran for the side exit. "You son of a bitch!" her father cried, charging toward the groom. The best man jumped forward to restrain the old man but knocked him flat in an accident that looked like a sucker punch. "My back!" He was groaning, sprawled on the tile floor. The best man towered... Under Cover of Darkness . Copyright © by James Grippando. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Under Cover of Darkness by James Grippando All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

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