Like John Grisham and Paul Levine, Grippando wastes precious little time or thrills on the courtroom in his ballyhooed first novel, a high-concept legal thriller. Two years ago, law-and-order Florida Governor Harry Swyteck rejected estranged son Jack's last-minute plea for a pardon for his client Raul Fernandez, even though Jack swore he'd been visited by a mysterious masked man who presented irrefutable proof that Fernandez was innocent of the sex killing he was charged with. Now a diabolically clever killer -- the same masked man? -- has planned a meticulous series of crimes with one end in view: to get Jack unjustly convicted of murder so that his father will have to sign his death warrant. Both father and son suspect that Eddy Goss, the despised ""Chrysanthemum Killer"" Jack got off on a technicality, is the man who's been setting them up, blackmailing the governor about his refusal to pardon Fernandez and threatening Jack, his girlfriend Cindy Paige, and her old roommate Gina Teresi. But when Goss turns up dead, both men realize that the killer, who lured them into separate trips to Goss's seedy apartment just in time to puncture their alibis, is playing a deeper game. In less time than you can say frameup, Jack is indicted for Goss's murder. Should he call Gina to testify that he was writhing in her bed for most of that night? Every time it seems that matters can't get any worse for Jack, the killer bas another trick up his sleeve, and Harry's efforts to clear his son only get them both into graver peril. Crude but sensationally effective, a Perils of Pauline cliffhanger for two male leads in which the stupidity of the innocent gives a playful kick to the penny-dreadful horrors. It won't kill more than a few hours, but oh, what hours they'll be.