cover image Blood Money

Blood Money

James Grippando. Harper, $26.99 (352p) ISBN 978-0-06-210984-2

The real-life Casey Anthony case provides the spark for bestseller Grippando’s melodramatic 10th legal thriller featuring Florida attorney Jack Swyteck (after 2011’s Afraid of the Dark). When Swyteck wins an acquittal for his client, Sydney Bennett, a sleazy nightclub waitress accused of murdering her two-year-old daughter, whose badly decomposed remains were found in a plastic bag near the Everglades, the unpopularity of the verdict provokes an assault on Celeste Laramore, fresh from a Sydney Bennett look-alike contest at a South Beach bar, outside the women’s detention center where Sydney was due to be released. Celeste’s distraught parents persuade Swyteck to sue cable news company BNN, one of whose reporters initially misidentified Celeste, now in a coma, as Sydney outside the jail, and the state corrections department. Meanwhile, a brutal man targets those close to Swyteck as a way of getting him to back off looking for the truth. Readers expecting character growth may be disappointed, but series fans should be satisfied. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Jan.)