A spellbinding novel of suspense from New York Times bestselling author James Grippando, in which Miami's top prosecutor becomes a prime suspect in his wife's disappearance, which may have a chilling connection to the woman he can't forget.Read more...
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A spellbinding novel of suspense from New York Times bestselling author James Grippando, in which Miami's top prosecutor becomes a prime suspect in his wife's disappearance, which may have a chilling connection to the woman he can't forget.
Unbelievable was the word for her. Samantha Vine was unbelievably beautiful. It was unbelievable that she'd married me. Even more unbelievable that she was gone . . .
Samantha died too soon. Abe Beckham's new wife has helped him through the loss, but some say it was a step back to marry Angelina, a love from Abe's past. Abe doesn't want to hear it, and through the ups and downs, he's even managed to remain a star prosecutor at the Miami State Attorney's Office.
Then everything goes wrong. A woman's body is discovered dumped in the Everglades, and Abe is called upon to monitor the investigation. The FBI is tracking a killer in South Florida they call "Cutter" because his brutal methods harken back to Florida's dark past, when machete-wielding men cut sugarcane by hand in the blazing sun.
But when the feds discover that Abe had a brief encounter with the victim after Samantha's death, and when Angelina goes missing, the respected attorney finds himself under fire. Suspicion surrounds him. His closest friends, family, professional colleagues, and the media no longer trust his motives. Was Angelina right? Was their marriage not what they'd hoped for because he loved Samantha too much? Or was there another woman . . . and a husband with a dark side who simply wanted his new wife gone?
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2014-11-24
- Reviewer: Staff
Abe Beckham, the narrator of much of this gripping but flawed stand-alone from bestseller Grippando (Need You Now), still mourns the death of his first wife, Samantha Vine. That’s why Abe, senior trial counsel at the state attorney’s office in Miami-Dade County, keeps close contact with Samantha’s family. This closeness doesn’t sit well with his second wife, Angelina, who wants him to cut all ties with the Vines. Abe complicates his professional life by monitoring the murder investigation of an old flame, Miami attorney Tyla Tomkins, whose mangled body was found in the Everglades. Is Tyla a victim of the machete-wielding serial killer known as Cutter? When Angelina disappears, FBI agent Victoria Santos wonders whether Abe was still romantically involved with Tyla. Grippando keeps the tension high with plausible twists, until the plot comes apart in a rushed ending. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Jan.)
Whodunit: Not your little girl anymore
Joakim Zander’s terrific debut, The Swimmer, breaks the mold for Swedish suspense novels, which are so often police procedurals. This trans-global tale hews more closely to John le Carré or Olen Steinhauer than to Henning Mankell or Jo Nesbø. With settings as diverse as Syria, Afghanistan and Langley, Virginia (to name but a few), The Swimmer traces the occasionally intersecting arcs of a spy forced to abandon his infant daughter in the aftermath of an assassination attempt, and a young woman in possession of a lethal secret she has no desire to know. It’s not giving too much away to say that the infant daughter and the young woman are the same person, separated by 33 years. Told largely in the third person, The Swimmer has first-person chapters strewn throughout, authored by the titular “Swimmer,” who also happens to be the aforementioned spy. As spies go, he’s a particularly literate one, and his descriptions are atmospheric and exotic. As is the case with most modern spy novels, there is a focus on terrorism and the ruthlessness of operatives on both sides. This is a first-class debut.
EVIDENCE TO THE CONTRARY
James Grippando’s latest thriller, Cane and Abe, finds narrator Abe Beckham caught up in what the Brits would call “a spot of bother.” First off, his one-time squeeze turns up murdered, her body dumped in Florida’s alligator-infested Everglades. Beckham immediately becomes a person of interest. He’s elevated to full-on suspect when his wife disappears under suspicious circumstances: First there was the shouting match; then the broken glass from a beer bottle found in the Beckham home that bears traces of his wife’s blood type; then her smashed cell phone, found on a deserted section of Tamiami Trail. And if all that isn’t enough, add to the mix Beckham’s failed lie detector test. Overzealous cops, shady lawyers and a shadowy figure from Florida’s Big Sugar industry round out the cast, and the tangled web they weave seems strategically poised to ensnare Beckham. The surprises never quit coming.
STRANGERS AT A BAR
Heathrow, the business-class lounge. A chance encounter between a wealthy businessman and an attractive woman. A pair of matching martinis. Some small talk: “Married?” he asks. “I’m not,” she replies. “You?” “Yes, unfortunately.” Out of that short interchange, and with the unguarded intimacy of fellow travelers who know that their time together is brief, the pair concoct a whatâ€‘if scenario around the notion of the hastened demise of the businessman’s wife. (We’ve all done this, right?) So begins Peter Swanson’s The Kind Worth Killing, an intricate tale of murder planned and plans gone hopelessly awry. The narration is always in the first person, but the narrator changes again and again: businessman Ted; his comely martini companion, Lily; Ted’s avaricious wife, Miranda; and, last but not least, a dogged cop named Kimball. All four have dirty secrets, and each is willing to betray at least one of the others to further his or her agenda. There are Hitchcockian overtones, as well as the sort of last-page narrative tweak that would undoubtedly bring a Mona Lisa smile to Sir Alfred’s usually taciturn countenance.
TOP PICK IN MYSTERY
Scandinavia spawns first-rate mystery novelists the way Japan churns out championship figure skaters. I’ve been a huge fan (of both) for quite some time, but my first exposure to best-selling Danish author Sara Blaedel comes with her latest work, The Forgotten Girls. The title refers to developmentally challenged children whose parents found them to be too much trouble and dropped them off at a government facility, essentially writing them out of their family’s narrative. Two of these forgotten girls were identical twins named Lise and Mette. According to their doctor’s records, they died in childhood, only one minute apart. Problem is, 30 years later, one of their bodies turns up, fully grown, on the rocky shore of a forest lake. If one twin was still alive, is the other one as well? If so, where is she now? And how, if at all, does this death connect with the series of brutal murders that have taken place sporadically in the forest over the years? This is the puzzle that police investigator Louise Rick and journalist Camilla Lind must piece together, hopefully before the killer strikes again. Tautly suspenseful and sociologically fascinating, The Forgotten Girls demonstrates yet again that the finest contemporary suspense fiction emanates from Europe’s snowbound North.