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
From Publishers Weekly
Attorney-turned-novelist Grippando's (Under Cover of Darkness; Found Money) sixth effort kicks off when Matthew Rey, a Florida fisherman with a partnership in a Nicaraguan seafood operation, is kidnapped while on business in Colombia by a group of Marxist guerrillas led by a sadistic soldier named Joaqu¡n. Matthew is dragged off to the mountains and his son, Nick, a young Florida lawyer, receives a ransom demand and tries to get his father back through official channels. Bad move: it turns out Matthew and his partner, Guillermo Cruz, are under suspicion of running drugs. Nick also learns that Matthew had kidnap-and-ransom insurance for the precise amount demanded by Joaqu¡n. To make matters worse, the insurance provider is a client of Nick's law firm, and refuses to pay the claim, accusing Nick and Matthew of conspiracy and fraud. Nick is legally outmaneuvered by his boss scheming senior partner Duncan Fitz and booted out of the firm. Broke, desperate and under suspicion of several felonies, he receives help from beautiful kidnapping negotiator Alex Cabrera and his ex-fiance, Jenna, who's also a lawyer. Naturally, he finds himself torn between his lost love and his growing affection for the mysterious Alex. Meanwhile, Matthew is a helpless witness to scenes of gang rape, torture and murder perpetrated by Joaqu¡n and his thugs. Outflanked and running out of time, Nick delves into his father's business dealings and slowly uncovers a massive conspiracy. Grippando's experience as a trial lawyer shows in his depiction of Nick's frantic legal moves to clear his family's name; his extensive research into the kidnapping industry currently thriving in Latin America adds a harrowing dose of realism to a taut, well-constructed page-turner that seems destined for the big screen. Agents, Richard and Artie Pine. National advertising; six-city author tour.
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