cover image The Abduction

The Abduction

James Grippando. HarperCollins, $23 (400pp) ISBN 978-0-06-018262-5

The presidential election of 2000 is coming down to the wire in this disappointing thriller, when Democratic candidate (and attorney general) Allison Leahy blows a solid lead by refusing to answer the question whether she's ever been unfaithful to her husband. Just as Republican candidate Lincoln Howe (read: Colin Powell) is about to pull ahead, his granddaughter is kidnapped. Leahy's own newly adopted baby daughter was the victim of a similar crime eight years earlier. Are the abductions linked? Is someone connected to either of the candidates responsible? Those are the questions that never quite propel Grippando's latest, after The Informant. While that novel had a strong narrative engine fueled by insider information on the FBI, this one never hits second gear. Neither Leahy nor Howe seems a particularly worthy candidate or likable person, and the possible villains--an ex-boyfriend, a pair of conniving campaign managers, Leahy's tough businessman husband--are equally flat and unconvincing. Author tour. (Apr.)