Thursday, June 11, 2009

Mystery Book Review: Intent to Kill by James Grippando

Mysterious Reviews, mysteries reviewed by the Hidden Staircase Mystery Books, is publishing a new review of Intent to Kill by James Grippando. For our blog readers, we are printing it first here in advance of its publication on our website.

Intent to Kill by James Grippando


Harper (Hardcover)
ISBN-10: 0-06-162868-9 (0061628689)
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-162868-9 (9780061628689)
Publication Date: May 2009
List Price: $25.99

Review: A minor league baseball player who lost his wife in a hit-and-run is later told "it wasn't an accident" in James Grippando's sensational thriller, Intent to Kill.

Ryan James was an up-and-coming star, a player with the Pawtucket Red Sox destined to play for Boston. His future was dealt a sudden blow when his wife, Chelsea, was killed by a hit-and-run driver. Their daughter, seated in back, was spared. On the third anniversary of her death, Ryan receives a note saying his wife's death was anything but accidental. Boston prosecutor Emma Carlisle receives an identical message. Why, after three years, would someone want to reopen this case? Soon thereafter Ryan's brother-in-law, a man with Asperger's Syndrome, disappears. Was he somehow connected with his sister's death? Ryan and Emma team up and are led to a Russian hit man and a treasured baseball bat, two of the more unusual aspects of this case.

Intent to Kill is an exceptionally well-crafted thriller, the characters an integral part of what makes it successful. The despair Ryan feels over his wife's death, his unwillingness to accept it yet his eagerness to find some meaning behind it, even at risk to his own life, is strongly conveyed in the narrative. Emma has reasons of her own that draw her to the case, an unsolved crime that she's eager to prosecute and close. Possibly best of all here, though plot twists are expected, even anticipated, in a thriller, the conclusion of Intent to Kill lays out a revelation that will take even the most jaded reader completely by surprise.

Special thanks to guest reviewer Betty of The Betz Review for contributing her review of Intent to Kill and to HarperCollins for providing an ARC of the book for this review.

Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved

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Synopsis (from the publisher): Ryan James once had it all. With a beautiful wife and a two-year-old daughter, he was just one minor-league baseball game away from realizing his lifelong dream of playing in the majors when the unthinkable happened: his wife, Chelsea, was killed in a hit-and-run accident while driving to Ryan's last game of the season.

Years later, Ryan is a popular "shock jock" at Boston's top-rated sports radio show, doing his best to raise his daughter alone. But his love for Chelsea endures, his insomnia persists, and the fact that the police never found the drunk who ran her off the road makes closure impossible. Then, on the third anniversary of Chelsea's death, chilling words from an anonymous tipster turn the accident into a homicide: "I know who did it."

As the police scramble, Ryan makes a stunning discovery. The tip—a strangely coded message—may have come from Chelsea's own brother, a young man affectionately known as "Babes," who has an autism-related disorder. But why would Babes have withheld this information for three years? And what finally made him come forward anonymously?

The demand for answers sends Babes on the run. Through a series of shocking on-air conversations with Babes, Ryan and Emma Carlisle, the dedicated prosecutor on the case, unravel a cover-up that reaches back to the night of Chelsea's death and that may implicate one of New England's most powerful families. It's a search that will forever change the lives of Ryan, Babes, and Emma—if they live to tell about it.

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Lance Wright owns and manages Omnimystery, a Family of Mystery Websites, which had its origin as Hidden Staircase Mystery Books in 1986. As the scope of the business expanded, first into book reviews — Mysterious Reviews — and later into information for and reviews of mystery and suspense television and film, all sites were consolidated under the Omnimystery brand in 2006.

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