The defense of a military wife on a murder charge places Jack Swyteck in opposition to both the US Navy and the Cuban government—and disturbs ghosts from his own past.
Recent widow Lindsey Hart implores the Miami defense attorney to defend her against charges that she murdered her husband, Oscar Pintado, an officer stationed at the naval base in Guantanamo Bay. With no experience in the military justice system and little knowledge of Cuba (even though he’s half-Cuban), Jack (Last to Die, 2003, etc.) is loath to accept the case. Lindsey, however, has an ace up her sleeve: Jack is the biological father of her adopted son Brian, who is deaf. Jack has known nothing of the boy until now. He takes the daunting case, teaming up with Lindsey’s civil attorney, Sofia Suarez, with whom he has considerable sexual sparks. Meanwhile, Oscar’s wealthy father, Alejandro, an influential stateside figure in the anti-Castro movement, has sworn to secure Lindsey’s conviction, both to get custody of Brian and to prevent Lindsey from getting her hands on Oscar’s sizable inheritance (also the purported motive for the killing). The circumstantial evidence against her is considerable, and the Navy throws up many roadblocks, like reassigning most potential witnesses so they’re out of Jack’s reach. Jack stays away from Brian but uses some of his time in Cuba probing his deceased mother’s early years, uncovering secrets surprising to him and painful to his grandmother Abuela. The trial dominates the last half of the story, with Jack facing off against flashy media celeb Hector Torres. Pivotal witness Lieutenant Dumont Johnson may or may not have been involved in an affair with Lindsey and/or be an accomplice. Drugs, an exploding car, a secret pregnancy, and a hidden past identity all figure prominently.
In his ninth Swyteck thriller, Grippando introduces more plot threads than he can weave or develop smoothly, but he keeps his tale moving.