Cover image for Beyond suspicion
Title:
Beyond suspicion
Author:
Grippando, James, 1958-
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : HarperCollins Publishers, 2002.
Physical Description:
326 pages ; 24 cm
Language:
English
Geographic Term:
ISBN:
9780066213446
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

After six exciting thrillers in seven years, bestselling author James Grippando is at last bringing back the main character from his blockbuster debut novel, The Pardon.

Miami lawyer Jack Swyteck is smart and tough and up to his neck in trouble. With more than a decade of experience in the criminal courts, Jack doesn't handle many civil cases. But this one is different. His client is a gorgeous ex-girlfriend who's being sued because she thought she was going to die.

When Jessie Merrill was diagnosed with a deadly disease and given just two years to live, she worked a deal with an insurance company to get cash fast. In exchange, a group of wealthy investors were supposed to collect on the policy at her death. But Jessie was misdiagnosed. She isn't going to die anytime soon, and the investors want their money back. Now.

At the trial, Jack pulls off a brilliant victory and Jessie gets to keep the $1.5 million from the investors. Two days later, Jessie's body turns up in Jack's bathtub. Though it has the markings of suicide, Jessie's death quickly begins to look more like murder. As the evidence mounts against him, Jack finds himself on a collision course with dark secrets from the past and a possible killer who is beyond suspicion.


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 3

Booklist Review

After the relatively weak King's Ransom [BKL Mr 15 01], Grippando has put himself right back on track. This sequel to his first published novel, The Pardon (1994), finds Miami lawyer Jack Swytek defending a former girlfriend against a charge of fraud (she's accused of bilking some investors out of a $1.5 million). She is acquitted, and Jack is feeling good about his work--until she tells him that she really did commit the fraud and is afraid that the people she conned are after her. Not long after her confession, she turns up dead--in Jack's bathtub. Now he has become the prime suspect in a homicide. Like such earlier Grippando thrillers as The Informant (1996), The Abduction (1998), and especially Found Money (1999), this is a top-notch adventure with plenty of supercharged excitement. And, even better, it promises to be the first installment of a new series featuring the tough, straight-talking Swytek. Although it is technically a sequel, readers don't need to know the first book to appreciate this one; the author reintroduces Swytek as though he were a brand-new character. The novel is chock-full of legal-thriller atmosphere and local color (Grippando was a trial attorney in Florida for more than a decade), and it's easily a match for anything written by big names such as Grisham or Margolin or Lescroart. If further Swytek adventures are anything like this one, keep 'em comin'. --David Pitt


Publisher's Weekly Review

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.(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal Review

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.-Joel W. Tscherne, Cleveland P.L. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Beyond Suspicion Chapter One Outside her bedroom window, the blanket of fallen leaves moved -- one footstep at a time. Cindy Swyteck lay quietly in her bed, her sleeping husband at her side. It was a dark winter night, cold by Miami standards. In a city where forty degrees was considered frigid, no more than once or twice a year could she light the fireplace and snuggle up to Jack beneath a fluffy down comforter. She slid closer to his body, drawn by his warmth. A gusty north wind rattled the window, the shrill sound alone conveying a chill. The whistle became a howl, but the steady crunching of leaves was still discernible, the unmistakable sound of an approaching stranger. Flashing images in her head offered a clear view of the lawn, the patio, and the huge almond leaves scattered all about. She could see the path he'd cut through the leaves. It led straight to her window. Five years had passed since she'd last laid eyes on her attacker. Everyone from her husband to the police had assured her he was dead, though she knew he'd never really be gone. On nights like these, she could have sworn he was back, in the flesh. His name was Esteban. Five years, and the horrifying details were still burned into her memory. His calloused hands and jagged nails so rough against her skin. The stale puffs of rum that came with each nauseating breath in her face. The cold, steel blade pressing at her jugular. Even then, she'd refused to kiss him back. Most unforgettable of all were those empty, sharklike eyes -- eyes so cold and angry that when he'd opened his disgusting mouth and bit her on the lips she saw her own reflection, witnessed her own terror, in the shiny black irises. Five years, and those haunting eyes still followed her everywhere, watching her every move. Not even her counselors seemed to understand what she was going through. It was as if the eyes of Esteban had become her second line of sight. When night fell and the wind howled, she couldeasily slip into the mind of her attacker and see things he'd seen before his own violent death. Stranger still, she seemed to have a window to the things he might be seeing now. Through his eyes, she could even watch herself. Night after night, she had the perfect view of Cindy Swyteck lying in bed, struggling in vain with her incurable fear of the dark. Outside, the scuffling noise stopped. The wind and leaves were momentarily silent. The digital alarm clock on the nightstand blinked on and off, the way it always did when storms interrupted power. It was stuck on midnight, bathing her pillow with faint pulses of green light. She heard a knock at the back door. On impulse, she rose and sat at the edge of the bed. Don't go, she told herself, but it was as if she were being summoned. Another knock followed, exactly like the first one. On the other side of the king-sized bed, Jack was sleeping soundly. She didn't even consider waking him. I'll get it. Cindy saw herself rise from the mattress and plant her bare feet on the tile floor. Each step felt colder as she continued down the hall and through the kitchen. The house was completely dark, and she relied more on instinct than sight to maneuver her way to the back door. She was sure she'd turned off the outside lights at bedtime, but the yellow porch light was burning. Something had obviously triggered the electronic eye of the motion detector. She inched closer to the door, peered out the little diamond-shaped window, and let her eyes roam from one edge of the backyard to the other. A gust of wind ripped through the big almond tree, tearing the brownest leaves from the branches. They fell to the ground like giant snowflakes, but a few were caught in an upward draft and rose into the night, just beyond the faint glow of the porch light. Cindy lost sight of them, except for one that seemed to hover above the patio. Another blast of wind sent it soaring upward. Then it suddenly changed direction, came straight toward her, and slammed against the door. The noise startled her, but she didn't back away. She kept looking out the window, as if searching for whatever it was that had sent that lone leaf streaking toward her with so much force. She saw nothing, but in her heart she knew that she was mistaken. Something was definitely outthere. She just couldn't see it. Or maybe it was Esteban who couldn't see it. Stop using his eyes! The door swung open. A burst of cold air hit her like an Arctic front. Goose bumps covered her arms and legs. Her silk nightgown shifted in the breeze, rising to midthigh. She somehow knew that she was colder than ever before in her life, though she didn't really feel it. She didn't feel anything. A numbness had washed over her, and though her mind told her to run, her feet wouldn't move. It was suddenly impossible to gauge the passage of time, but in no more than a few moments was she strangely at ease with the silhouette in the doorway. "Daddy?" "Hi, sweetheart." "What are you doing here?" "It's Tuesday." "So?" "Is Jack here?" "He's sleeping." "Wake him." "For what?" "It's our night to play poker." "Jack can't play cards with you tonight." "We play every Tuesday." "I'm sorry, Daddy. Jack can't play with you anymore." "Why not?" "Because you're dead." With a shrill scream she sat bolt upright in bed. Confused and frightened, she was shivering uncontrollably. A hand caressed her cheek, and she screamed again. "It's okay," said Jack. He moved closer and tried putting his arms around her. She pushed him away. "No!" "It's okay, it's me." Her heart was pounding, and she was barely able to catch her breath. A lone tear ran down her face. She wiped it away with the back of her hand. It felt as cold as ice water. "Take a deep breath," said Jack. "Slowly, in and out." She inhaled, then exhaled, repeating the exercise several times. In a minute or so, the panic subsided and her breathing became less erratic. Jack's touch felt soothing now, and she nestled into his embrace. He sat up beside her and wrapped his arms around her. "Was it that dream again?" She nodded. Beyond Suspicion . Copyright © by James Grippando . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Beyond suspicion 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.