Coral Gables lawyer Jack Swyteck celebrates his tenth appearance by getting involved with a lady who’s so hot that she can’t possibly be anything but trouble.
Wealthy Venezuelan-born businessman Ernesto Salazar can have whatever he wants. When his wife Mia is kidnapped by someone who demands only that he “pay what she’s worth”—the last victim was left to die when her husband’s guess of $1,000,000 turned out to be too low—he has the option of delivering the ransom himself or having the FBI take care of it. Or he can thumb his nose at the demand because his cheating wife is literally worthless. Instead, Salazar finds a more intriguing choice for the role of bagman: Jack, who’s become Mia’s lover. It doesn’t speak very highly for Jack that he’s somehow managed to survive nine big cases (Hear No Evil, 2004, etc.) without being able to tell that the lovely he’s been carrying on a torrid romance with is married. But now he has bigger problems. One is how to behave when he’s caught between an abductor who’s shown no compunction about killing and a victim’s husband who’s just as clever and ruthless. Another is what to do when Salazar comes up short on the ransom and the kidnapper battens on Jack as Mia’s last hope. A third is how he’s going to match wits with Andie Henning, an FBI negotiator who’s fled her own problems in Seattle, and extricate himself from a climactic, and eventually anticlimactic, sequence that seems to go on longer than Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe.
The book on Grippando—that he sacrifices character, logic and plausibility to storytelling drive—has never been more accurate. Not one in a hundred of this tale’s big target audience will ever read it twice.