cover image Twenty: A Jack Swyteck Novel

Twenty: A Jack Swyteck Novel

James Grippando. Harper, $27.99 (384p) ISBN 978-0-06-291508-5

Bestseller Grippando’s subpar 17th thriller featuring Florida defense attorney Jack Swyteck (after 2020’s The Big Lie) opens with a harrowing scene. Swyteck’s daughter, Righley, goes to kindergarten at Riverside Day School, and his FBI agent wife, Andie, is attending a parents’ event there when a gunman kills more than a dozen people. Righley and Andie, who rushed to Righley’s classroom, are traumatized but uninjured. Andie is later stunned when 18-year-old Xavier Khoury, the son of a close friend, confesses to the shooting. Swyteck reluctantly accepts Xavier as a client, in the hopes of getting him multiple life sentences instead of the death penalty, at the behest of a parent who lost a child but wants to avoid drawn-out court battles. Meanwhile, Andie is put on the hot seat when Riverside seeks to avoid liability for the incident. Despite Xavier’s confession, Swyteck pursues the possibility that it was false. The characters are paper-thin, and an over-the-top reveal undermines any suspension of disbelief. Grippando has done better. Agent: Richard Pine, InkWell Management. (Jan.)