cover image Found Money

Found Money

James Grippando. HarperCollins Publishers, $25 (336pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018263-2

For anyone who's ever dreamed of finding a cash windfall, Grippando's (The Abduction) new crime novel offers a cautionary tale of greed, family secrets and the dangers of getting what you wish for. Just before Frank Duffy dies, he tells his physician son, Ryan, that there is $2 million hidden in the attic, and that Frank got the money through blackmail--albeit off someone who ""deserved it."" The level-headed Ryan considers both claims unbelievable--until he finds the money. What secrets had his mild-mannered, hard-working father been hiding? Meanwhile, Amy Parkins, while struggling to support her daughter and her grandmother and to put herself through law school, receives $200,000 from an anonymous benefactor, apparently Frank Duffy, whom she'd never met. Why? Could the gift have anything to do with her mother's mysterious suicide 20 years earlier? Troubled by the criminal implications of his father's legacy, Ryan decides he can't touch the cash until he knows where it came from. His questions kick off a wild ride involving lawyers and guns, Panamanian banks, seductive strangers and too much FBI interest for comfort. Amy, too, tries to trace the money, putting her on a collision course with Ryan and his greed-maddened family. As Ryan and Amy search for the money's source and meaning, they uncover a conspiracy involving high-ranking government officials, multi-billion-dollar corporations and a hidden crime committed on a hot summer night years ago. The final revelation is a real kicker, but it would carry even more force if overly tricky plot contrivances hadn't diluted the suspense of what came before. (Feb.)