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A King's Ransom Hardcover – May 8, 2001

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; 1st edition (May 8, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060192410
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060192419
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.3 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #982,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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-fianc‚e, 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.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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Customer Reviews

Terrific characters, terrific dialogue, and very original story.
Jonathan F. Gindick
Read this book when you have a day's worth of time to read it because trust me once you start reading it you won't want to put it down.
This is a well written book, full of twists, turns, and suspence which will keep you up a bit late and the pages turning.
John R. Linnell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on June 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
With a theme as contemporary as today's glaring headlines and a scenario as chilling as our worst nightmare James Grippando has crafted his sixth thriller.
While Matthew Rey, an entrepreneurial commercial fisherman is in Colombia, he is kidnaped by a violent band of guerrillas whose leader, Joaquin, gives sadism a new dimension. Matthew's son, Nick, an up-and-coming Florida lawyer, receives a ransom demand for three million dollars. Unbeknownst to Nick that is the exact amount of a kidnaping insurance policy recently purchased by Matthew.
As attempts to rescue Matthew through the State Department prove futile, Nick turns to senior attorney, Duncan Fit, for help. Duncan proves to be both two-faced and double-dealing as he dismisses Nick, and informs him that the law firm will represent an insurance company in a fraud suit against Nick and his family.
Out of a job and charged with several felonies, Nick seeks the assistance of stunning Alex Cabrera, a kidnaping negotiator.
Grippando's years of experience as a trial lawyer are evident in his taut description of Nick's uphill battle against Colombian guerillas, government agencies, and his former law firm.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Cunningham on August 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
While on business in Cartagena, Columbia, American businessman Matthew Rey is kidnapped and a $3 million ransom is demanded for his safe return. His son Nick is a novice attorney who attempts to free him. Nick is thwarted in his efforts by a lawsuit originating from his own firm against his family. It seems that his father had taken out a $3 million kidnapping insurance policy, and it looks as if the whole kidnapping is a set up by Matthew Rey to commit fraud. Worse yet, the FBI won't help because they believe Matthew is a drug smuggler and is somehow in cahoots with his Nicaraguan business partner. Since Nick cannot raise the money or negotiate his father's release through the usual methods, he enlists the help of a beautiful hostage negotiator, Alex Cabrera, as well as his former fiancee Jenna, who still has feelings for him.
A KING'S RANSOM is a taunt, intelligent addition to the genre. Grippando has written a hot thriller, filled with plenty of action and plot twists. This is an author I would not hesitate to read again.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nick G on May 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
On a business trip off the coast of Columbia, Matthew Rey, a partner in a seafood business, is kidnapped. The terms of the kidnapping are simple...supply the kidnappers with a three million dollar ransom.
Back at home in Miami, Matthew's pregnant wife, and fresh out of law school son Nick, are devastated by the news.
Nick, willing to do whatever is needed to free his father, begins looking into his families finances and discovers a kidnapping insurance policy for three million dollars. Shocked by his finding, Nick submits the claim, and is given Alex Cabrera, the young agent assigned to his claim.
As Alex begins her discussions with the kidnappers, Nick is approached by the FBI, claiming his father is actually a drug smuggler, and they are investigating every angle, including his father's business partner, and his estranged sister Lindsey, whom the family has not spoken to in months, but is living somewhere in Columbia.
As the kidnapper's demands are escalating, Alex is told the insurance comapny will not pay the ransom.
With no one to trust, Nick and Alex begin their own mission to rescue his father, even if it costs them their lives. With the FBI on their tail, and the kidnappers getting anxious, the pair will have to race the clock to bring Matthew home alive.
'A King's Ransom' grabs hold on page one, and plunges you on a suspenseful ride through 400 pages. Non-stop surprises, and action galore will keep the pages turning until the shocking climax.
James Grippando has been churning out excellent suspense novels, and his new novel proves he is a master of his craft.
The season of the "page-turning beach book" has arrived, and 'A King's Ransom' is the first entry in the category.
A MUST read!
Nick Gonnella
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 2001
Format: Hardcover
This is my first time reading Grippando, and I thought A King's Ransom was a definite cut above the average thriller out there today, especially anything written by Grisham and his many clones. Its attraction lies in its combination of the legal thriller with a pure action story set against the exotic locales of Columbia and Nicaragua.
Its a story of Nick Rey, a young Florida lawyer, whose father, Matthew, has been kidnapped by a sadistic band of Columbian geurillas. The ransom demand (3,000,000.00) is the exact amount of Matthew's recent "K & R" (kidnap and ranson) insurance policy and the insurance company, who happens to be a client of Nick's law firm, suspects fraud and denies coverage. Nick fights battles on all fronts, with the insurance company, with his former firm (from which he's been fired),with his former mentor and, of course, with the kidnappers.
The prose is brisk and the plot develops nicely, but Grippando seems to want to cover too many bases here (and, in the process, uses too many cliches), from Nick's past rift with his father that needs fixing, to his father's suspicious (and undeveloped) business partner, to Nick's rift with his ex-finance, who's the only lawyer in town who will represent him in the legal fight with the insurance company, to the sexy and exotic "Alex," the hostage negotiator with, what else, a past.
I found the parallel story of Nick's father's experiences at the hands of the kidnappers more compelling than Nick's maneuverings at home. All in all, despite its cliches and more than passing resemblances to The Firm and the recent movie, Proof of Life, A King's Ransom is a very satisfying and enjoyable read. I am looking forward to reading other works by this author.
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