From bestselling author James Grippando comes the newest Jack Swyteck thriller, in a series that critics have called "riveting," "a winner," and "lapel grabbing." In Got the Look, Swyteck is up against a killer who's so fiendishly clever and diabolical that even Jack may have at last met his match. FBI agent Andie Henning is tracking a ruthless kidnapper plaguing south Florida, one who's out to prove that all human life can be valued in dollars and cents. But at every turn, he has slipped through her net. This time he's taken the wife of one of the state's richest horse breeders and is asking a ransom of $1 million. The stakes go up when Andie finds the woman -- dead. Enter Jack Swyteck. He has a new girlfriend, Mia, and life is good -- until she goes missing. Then Jack gets a one-two punch: he discovers that his lover is married, and her rich husband receives a ransom demand that pegs Mia as the kidnapper's latest victim.
Attorney Jack Swyteck and his jazz musician sidekick Theo Knight josh, joke and kid, but unfortunately the case they're working-the kidnapping of Jack's girlfriend by a sadistic murderer-doesn't lend itself to humor. The disconnect of monkeyshines versus the grim, detailed torture of a helpless woman cripples this thinly plotted, disappointing thriller set in Grippando's familiar South Florida. The girlfriend in question, the gorgeous Mia Salazar, turns out to be (unknown to Jack) married. After she's been seized, her betrayed husband makes it clear that he has no interest in paying any significant ransom. This duty then falls to Jack, who, working with FBI agent Andie Henning (reprised from Under Cover of Darkness), frantically tries to find Mia. Though Jack and Andie are the proverbial oil and water, the results of this pairing are entirely predictable. And when the kidnapper is finally revealed, his identity is as unbelievable as the tortured reasoning that attempts to connect the many disparate plot elements. The chase scene at the end lends some much-needed firepower, but it's too little too late for anyone but the most diehard Grippando fan. (On sale Jan. 3) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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November 28, 2006
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Excerpt from Got the Look by James Grippando
The sun never shines beneath the Devil's Ear.
FBI Special Agent Andie Henning must have heard that warning a dozen times on her way to Ginnie Springs, Florida. The Devil's Ear was one of the more spectacular openings to the watery underworld of the north Florida aquifer, a dark and dangerous limestone labyrinth of interconnecting caves and caverns that discharged 7.7 billion gallons of crystal clear drinking water every day.
"How much farther?" Andie shouted over the roar of the single outboard engine. The boat was at full throttle, throwing a V-shaped wake against the inky black riverbanks. The Santa Fe was a relatively shallow river, better suited to canoes and kayaks than to large motorboats. Only an experienced driver could head downstream at this speed, especially in the dead of night. Somewhere in the darkness were egrets and alligators, but at midnight the forest slept. The tall cypress trees were mere silhouettes, their moss-clad limbs barely visible against the starlit sky. A thin blanket of fog stretched across the river, waist deep to those onboard. The speedboat cut through it like a laser on cotton candy. Andie zipped up her FBI jacket, staving off the wind chill.
"About two more minutes," shouted the boat driver.
Andie checked her watch. She hoped they had two minutes.
The kidnapper's late-night call had confirmed the family's payment of a ransom, contrary to FBI advice. One million dollars in cash seemed like a lot of money to the average person, but it was hardly a hit to Drew Thornton, one of Ocala's richest horse breeders. The clipped phone message advised that Mrs. Thornton could be found beneath the Devil's Ear. It took only a minute to decipher what that meant. The sheriff's office deployed emergency/rescue divers immediately. Andie and two agents from the Jacksonville field office went with them. They were part of the FBI team assigned to the Thornton case, and Andie was the only negotiator staying on-site in Ocala throughout the three-week ordeal.