Review

Intent to Kill

by James Grippando

INTENT TO KILL is a bit of a departure for James Grippando.
Taking a breather from his successful Jack Swyteck novels, this is
a welcome and fast-paced addition to his already impressive list of
stand-alone works. The book also offers an interesting change of
settings from his Florida locale to the Providence, Rhode Island
area, giving Grippando an opportunity to stretch his talents, as
well as to display his geographical and topographical knowledge of
a different location.

The primary focus of INTENT TO KILL is Ryan James, a promising
player for the Pawtucket Red Sox, the minor league farm team for
the Boston Red Sox. James has it all --- Chelsea, his adoring wife;
Ainsley, his beautiful young daughter; and Babes, his
brother-in-law and Number One Fan. But disaster strikes on the
night that is supposed to be his shot at the Major Leagues when his
wife is killed in a hit-and-run accident. Reeling from this
devastating loss, James abandons the game and finds himself working
as a morning “shock jock“ on an all-sports talk radio
station.

Three years later, someone starts leaving James notes, telling
him that Chelsea’s death was not an accident, but was in fact
deliberate. The mysterious informant also indicates that he or she
knows the identity of the murderer. James is shocked, as is Emma
Carlisle, a trial attorney in the Criminal Division of the Rhode
Island Office of the Attorney General. Carlisle, assigned to
investigate Chelsea’s death, had basically run into a dead
end in the case. When she receives an anonymous message similar to
Ryan’s, it breathes new life into her investigation. But when
a follow-up anonymous message points her in the direction of an old
family friend --- and her former boss --- who is now running for
the United States Senate, she slowly comes to realize that there is
far more to Chelsea’s death than either she or James had
suspected.

There is an additional complication. Babes, who is autistic, may
know more about Chelsea’s fate than anyone can reasonably
imagine. The messages that are being communicated to James and
Carlisle have the additional effect of putting Babes in terrible
danger. On the run, emotionally fragile and with only a set of
uncanny abilities to help him navigate through a potential
minefield, it is Babes who may hold the key that reveals the true
cause of his sister’s demise and the person responsible.
Racing against time and a mysterious and extremely competent hit
man, Ryan and Carlisle find themselves working together to bring a
much needed closer to a mystery gone unsolved for too long.

While fans of Grippando’s Swyteck thrillers may be
disappointed by that character’s absence, they should be won
over by the elements of the mystery that ultimately make his latest
work a winner in every sense of the word. His focus on the
who-and-why-dunnits of the murder shows that he is at his best when
he sticks to the basics of the genre, and the strong graveyard
climax is both suspenseful and exciting. And while there does not
seem to be any reason for Grippando to bring back the principals of
INTENT TO KILL for another go-round, the ending should leave
readers satisfied.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on January 22, 2011

Intent to Kill
by James Grippando

  • Publication Date: April 28, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Harper
  • ISBN-10: 0061628689
  • ISBN-13: 9780061628689