The author of five bestselling novels, including Under Cover of Darkness and The Pardon, James Grippando writes compulsively readable thrillers that could be drawn from today's headlines, only better. Now his trademark gifts are wonderfully demonstrated in a taut new tale of intrigue that will keep you guessing to the final, breathtaking scene.
Just two years out of law school, Nick Rey is on the career fast track at a hot Miami law firm when he is suddenly plunged headfirst into a dangerous bid to save his father. Matthew Rey has been kidnapped while on business in Columbia's exotic port city of Cartagena. The ransom demand of three million dollars is far more than the Rey family can ever hope to raise.
Fortunately, Matthew had purchased an insurance policy to protect against just such a threat. Unfortunately, the kidnappers seem to know all about the policy, and the insurance company, suspecting fraud, is refusing to pay out. With nowhere to turn, Nick links up with Alex, a beautiful, street-smart woman who may be the only person capable of negotiating with Matthew's abductors. But Nick soon discovers that the gravest dangers to him and his family are not the kidnappers and their guns, but the men in suits: lawyers, to be exact, at a powerful firm with something to hide, and they will stop at nothing to keep Nick from unleashing the truth.
Miami attorney Nick Rey was perturbed by his fiancée's ocean-side pronouncement that in the future her title should be preceded by "ex-". So perturbed that he barely noticed when, seconds later, a sharp-shooting seagull dropped him another plate of the same. Odd to think that he'd shortly look back on it all as, well, a day at the beach.
Then again, having one's father kidnapped and held for ransom by Columbian revolutionaries will alter one's perspective, as will hearing that the FBI's declined to pursue the matter as they suspect the kidnappee, Matthew Rey, is not a commercial fisherman at all, but a drug smuggler. The state department, citing official policy against paying kidnappers, won't intercede and, oh yes, the insurance company that sold dad his $3,000,000 kidnap-and-ransom policy won't pay up because they think he's as much in cahoots as he is in Cartagena. Nick's sister, Lindsey, who's probably in South America, hasn't been heard from in a month, and his mother's pregnant.
And that's just the starting block as Nick and the beautiful insurance investigator, Alex Cabrera (also a former revolutionary), run waist-deep into pan-American treachery and deceit--and nifty plot twists and surprises--much of it supplied by Nick's own law firm, Coolidge, Harding and Cash.
Throughout A King's Ransom, author and Miami attorney James Grippando deftly balances first-person (Nick's) and third-person (Matthew's) narrative with true-to-life dialogue and characters drawn as well or better than most. It's fast, it's gripping, and it's getting to be a habit with him. Grippando bolted from the starting gate (and, presumably, the courtroom) with 1994's breath-holder The Pardon; if his sixth book in eight years is any indication, he'll neither slow down nor reenter the courtroom for some time to come. --Michael Hudson