Lawyers used to be accused of chasing ambulances, but following the literary successes of Scott Turow and John Grisham, a lot of them now seem to be rushing to publishers' offices. In the case of Grippando, a Miami trial attorney, the result is a gritty mystery that, despite a fanciful plot, rings true to the emotional realities of contemporary life.
At the heart of The Pardon lies the tension between Harold Swyteck, the law-and-order governor of Florida, and his estranged son Jack, a defense lawyer who specializes in drug dealers and murderers. When Jack appeals to his father to commute the death sentence of a murderer because he has new evidence, the governor turns him down. The tale soon gets out of hand as the real killer, playing a psychopathic game of cat and mouse, draws father, son and their families into a labyrinth of terror and deception. The path out of the madness is thorny: Harold and Jack may both lose their jobs and be pilloried by the public if they work together to bring the murderer to justice. To find out if they succeed, readers will turn the pages of The Pardon faster than a bailiff can swear in a witness. (HarperCollins, $22)