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Blood Money by James Grippando

bloodmoneyReviewed by Allen Hott

This must have been patterned after the Casey Anthony case in Florida and if nothing else perhaps those investigating that famous case should read Blood Money! I feel certain that there are some very good leads or ideas in this book for that real life case of a missing young girl and the arrest of her mother for the crime.

Grippando has really built an interesting case in this novel which again features Jack Swytek. Swytek is a defense attorney who along with his FBI agent fiancée, Andie Henning, does a lot of investigating in Grippando’s books. He is in the midst of defending Shot Mom which is the name that Breaking News Network (BNN) has given to Sydney Bennett who is accused of murdering her two year old daughter. Bennett has a reputation as a party girl who supposedly paid little attention to the daughter.

Swytek is able to get a Not Guilty verdict and it is mainly because there was no evidence connecting anyone to the remains of the daughter when she was found. Her body was in a very bad condition and about all that was learned was that she probably drowned.

However due to the press and especially BNN Bennett has become somewhat of a notorious celebrity who is followed by many and hated also by many. A terrible twist occurs however when Bennett is to be released from prison Right before a staged release another girl looking exactly like Bennett is hit in the head as the waiting mob gets overzealous and mean.

This girl, Celeste Laramore, then becomes somewhat the center of the media’s attention as she lies in a coma. BNN especially goes on and on about how Bennett is the cause of Celeste’s problem and Bennett has vanished leaving no one including her Attorney know where she is. She doesn’t want to come back because she fears a man who she claims is the cause of all the problems. Her parents, if they know her whereabouts, are not telling. They basically have shut Swytek out as he tries to not only find Bennett but also run down this man who has become a part of the picture.

Grippando does a tremendous job of building anxiety on the part of Swytek, Bennett’s parents, Laramore’s parents, and even Swytek’s fiancé. Everyone is concerned about the missing Shot Mom and about Celeste who remains in the coma.

The unknown man turns out to be a bigger and bigger piece of the puzzle as he makes an appearance only to give Swytek a beating like he has never had in his life. But then he is gone again and he only checks in to try to get info as to where Shot Mom is hiding.

Lots of highs in this one with very few lows. Readers will love the way Grippando keeps the action moving and pretty much so without profanity or sex. But there is plenty of action and readers will be trying to put together exactly what part do all of the characters, including BNN, play in the entire mystery. Another gripping book by Grippando.

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