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Twenty: A Jack Swyteck Novel

Review

Twenty: A Jack Swyteck Novel

In TWENTY, the 17th installment in James Grippando’s Jack Swyteck series, an important question arises at the very start of this gripping novel: Who killed 14 students at a tony private school in Miami? The individual was covered from head to toe: goggles, face mask, tactical vest, even booties over their shoes. But when one of the students, Xavier Khoury, confesses to the shooting after it was determined that a handgun found on the school grounds belonged to his father, the community closes ranks against him and his family.

Criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck is married to FBI agent Andie Henning, who was at a parent function when the shooting occurred. They were lucky that their daughter Righley’s kindergarten classroom was unharmed, but no one was left completely unscathed by this senseless slaughter. Molly, Xavier’s mother, begs Jack to defend her son. He refuses until the father of one of the victims asks him to take the case for a very specific and logical reason.

"By the climax, the intrigue and action become engrossing thanks to Grippando’s skill and talent.... TWENTY certainly works well as a stand-alone title, but it also will inspire readers to delve into Grippando’s backlist, so be prepared."

However, there is more to the mass murder than meets the eye. While Xavier admitted to being the perpetrator, and al-Qaeda claims responsibility for it, there is at least one person who says that the boy didn’t do it. There is also a mysterious stray fingerprint on the weapon. And where did he get the extended cartridges for the semiautomatic gun? It just doesn’t add up, and Jack is determined to get answers to his questions.

Soon Jack realizes that he’s in over his head and that those who are intent on prosecuting Xavier, including the Department of Justice, aren’t being completely forthcoming. From the start of the story, we are hooked. We keep reading because we need to find out who is lying, who is at fault and what really happened on that fateful morning at Riverside Day School.

There’s a reason that James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author and the recipient of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction. He is a trial lawyer in Florida and teaches Law and Literature at the University of Miami School of Law. (Why wasn’t that class offered where I studied law?) His writing veritably reeks of authenticity, and the courtroom scenes are perfectly believable. Jack’s struggles with what he can and cannot divulge to his wife are also realistic, as is her refusal to share certain information with him. Understandably, it’s a strain on their marriage when she defends justice and the rule of law and he defends criminals --- only one of whom is definitely innocent.

By the climax, the intrigue and action become engrossing thanks to Grippando’s skill and talent. And while there are 16 previous Jack Swyteck novels, I didn’t feel out of the loop at all for not having read any of them. TWENTY certainly works well as a stand-alone title, but it also will inspire readers to delve into Grippando’s backlist, so be prepared.

Reviewed by Pamela Kramer on January 22, 2021

Twenty: A Jack Swyteck Novel
by James Grippando

  • Publication Date: January 5, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 0062915088
  • ISBN-13: 9780062915085