Blood Money, which came out Tuesday, is James Grippando's 10th Jack Swyteck novel and 19th overall. Grippando is a solid author. All of his books (and I've read all 19, not counting one for young adults) are entertaining and well-written. But I'm a sucker for a good series. Swyteck is a Miami trial attorney (as was Grippando, for 12 years). He always gets embroiled in a trial that revolves around a murder. And, of course, he's always working for the underdog defendant. In this case, he is defending a nightclub waitress who is accused of killing her 2-year old daughter for crimping her partying (ouch). What follows is the most famous murder trial since that guy in the white Bronco. Add to that a look-alike contest gone bad, a CNN-like TV station that has sensationalized the trial and has fueled the public's hatred for the waitress, and a cast of behind-the-scenes villains, and you have your typical Jack Swyteck story.
Reading Grippando is like coming home. It's like comfort food. I'm not sure what else you can ask for from an author. If you want "literature," then get your books from a college reading list. If you want to be entertained and have a fun read, then, by all means, pick up (or download) Blood Money. And when you're done with that, go back and read some more Grippando, either Swyteck or a standalone. It's good stuff.
Vince Flynn's latest, The Last Man, is his 14th book. Again, I have read all of them (33 between the 2 - pretty impressive, eh?). This is the 12th in the Mitch Rapp series and is the first one to return to the present after 2 that explained how he got his start with the CIA. I liked the last 2 well enough, but I really like Mitch in the here and now. Let me add that Vince is improving with age. This book is a 3.5. He and Daniel Silva, even with double-digit books in their series, are getting better, it seems, with each book. I really respect that.
Let me give you the plot. The head of CIA Clandestine Services in Afghanistan, Joe Rickman, is kidnapped, and his 4 bodyguards are murdered. Thus begins the search. But, wait, the FBI is looking for Rickman too. And they have their own reasons for trying to find him. The Director of the CIA, Irene Kennedy, dispatches her right-hand super spy, Mitch Rapp, to find Rickman before he is tortured into revealing the names of CIA agents who are embedded in sensitive areas around the world. It would probably take the CIA 10 years to replace a bunch of agents if they have to be recalled. Fortunately, Mitch Rapp is THE MAN. He is the machoist (not Maoist) man in the literary world - a very cool, testosterone-laden guy. To quote an old school rhyme: Mitch, Mitch, he's our man. If he can't do it, nobody can!"