Jack Swyteck, a brilliant Miami defense attorney has spent years rebelling against his father, Harry, now Florida's governor. Their estrangement seems complete when Harry allows one of Jack's clients -- a man Jack believes is innocent -- to die in the electric chair. But when a psychopath bent on serving his own twisted version of justice places both Jack and Harry in extreme jeopardy, the two have nowhere to turn but to each other. Together they must find a way to overcome their cunning tormentor's manipulation . . . even as the stakes are being raised to far more perilous heights.
Matters like realism and credibility take a back seat to high concept in this brisk but far-fetched first novel by a Florida attorney who poses a nifty question: What if a governor who favors the death penalty faced the prospect of allowing his own son to be executed for murder In 1992, Florida governor Harold Swyteck allowed convicted killer Raul Fernandez to die in the electric chair despite the pleadings of his lawyer son, Jack, who claimed to have confidential proof that Fernandez was innocent. Now, in 1994, the man who supposedly gave Jack that proof-the man who claims to have committed the murder that was pinned on Fernandez-is blackmailing the governor by threatening to reveal that he let an innocent man die. Meanwhile, Jack has gotten an admitted killer, Eddie Goss, free on a technicality; when Goss is killed and all the evidence points to Jack as the murderer, the governor faces his dilemma: Will he sign his son's death warrant if he's convicted-or will he try to save him Grippando's fast pacing obscures much plot manipulation and heavy-handed characterization. The novel's premise is compelling, but the structural holes sink this narrative. 75,000 first printing; $100,000 ad/promo; audio rights to HarperAudio; Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club and Mystery Guild alternates; author tour. (Sept.) -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
There are no customer reviews available at this time. Would you like to write a review?
October 01, 2002
Number of Print Pages*
Adobe DRM EPUB
* Number of eBook pages may differ. Click here for more information.
Excerpt from The Pardon by James Grippando
The vigil had begun at dusk, and it would last all night. Clouds had moved in after midnight, blocking out the full moon. It was as if heaven had closed its omniscient eye in sorrow or just plain indifference. Another six hours of darkness and waiting, and the red morning sun would rise over the pine trees and palms of northeast Florida. Then, at precisely 7:00 A.M., Raul Fernandez would be put to death.
Crowds gathered along the chain-link fence surrounding the state's largest maximum-security penitentiary. Silence and a few glowing lights emanated from the boxy three-story building across the compound, a human warehouse of useless parts and broken spirits. Armed guards paced in their lookout towers, silhouettes in the occasional sweep of a searchlight. Not as many onlookers gathered tonight as in the old days, back when Florida's executions had been front-page news rather than a blip next to the weather forecast. Even so, the usual shouting had erupted when the black hearse that would carry out the corpse arrived. The loudest spectators were hooting and hollering from the backs of their pickup trucks, chugging their long-neck Budweisers and brandishing banners that proclaimed GO SPARKY, the nickname death-penalty supporters had affectionately given "the chair:"
The victim's parents peered through the chain-link fence with quiet determination, searching only for retribution, there being no justice or meaning in the slashing of their daughter's throat. Across the road, candles burned and guitars strummed as the names of John Lennon and Joan Baez were invoked by former flower children of a caring generation, their worried faces wrinkled with age and the weight of the world's problems. Beside a cluster of nuns kneeling in prayer, supporters from Miami's "Little Havana" neighborhood shouted in their native Spanish, "Raul es inocente, inocente!"
Behind the penitentiary's brick walls and barred windows, Raul Fernandez had just finished his last meal -- a bucket of honey-glazed chicken wings with extra mashed potatoes -- and he was about to pay his last visit to the prison barber. Escorted by armed correction officers in starched beige-and-brown uniforms, he took a seat in a worn leather barber's chair that was nearly as uncomfortable as the boxy wooden throne on which he was scheduled to die. The guards strapped him in and assumed their posts -- one by the door, the other at the prisoner's side.