A tense hostage crisis in Miami propels the action in bestseller Grippando's solid sixth thriller to feature criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck (after Got the Look). Jack represents an armed homeless man known as Falcon, who takes among his hostages in a seedy motel Jack's best friend, Theo Knight, an innocent man the lawyer once pulled off death row at the last minute. Vincent Paulo, the recently blinded negotiator, has been dating the one person Falcon insists on talking with, police officer Alicia Mendoza, who also happens to be the mayor's daughter. With strands reaching back to Argentina's dirty war, the plot relies heavily on coincidence, but engaging characters, notably the blind Vincent ("People either pity me to death and think that I can't possibly manage a minute of my life without a sighted person holding my hand, or they think I've been magically transformed into some kind of blind mystic with extrasensory powers"), will help readers overlook the implausibilities. (Jan.)
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If Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck thinks his latest case is weird, he ain't seen nothin' yet. His client, a homeless man who calls himself Falcon, posts $10,000 bail in cash. That has Jack scratching his head, but when a body is found in the trunk of the abandoned car that Falcon calls home, Jack is prepared to go to the mat to defend his client--until, that is, Falcon kidnaps Jack's best friend, and Jack is propelled into an investigation that pushes his abilities to the limit. Although previous Swyteck novels have not been as compelling as most of Grippando's stand-alone thrillers, the series is solid and reliable. This one, which delves into the mystery of the Disappeared, the 30,000-plus Argentineans who (because of their opposition to the military regime) vanished between 1975 and 1983, is deeper than its predecessors. And that's good, because Grippando is at his best when he's telling a story that's more than a mere whodunit. The novel feels darker, more dramatic, than the previous Swyteck adventures, and it's by far the best in the series. David Pitt
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