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Intent to Kill    by James Grippando order for
Intent to Kill
by James Grippando
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Somehow I've missed James Grippando's thrillers in the past - I have some catching up to do! He reels readers in and disarms them immediately with his introduction of protagonist Ryan James, an engaging athlete who has it all - a beloved young wife (Chelsea), small daughter (Ainsley), and a baseball career about to take wing from the minor leagues - until a fatal hit-and-run breaks his heart.

We meet Ryan again three years later. Though no longer playing for the PawSox's, he's picked up his life as a single father and cohosts 'Boston's hottest talk-radio sports show', Jocks in the Morning. An insomniac, he's still close to Chelsea's family, including her younger brother Daniel (nicknamed Babes), who suffers from Asperger's syndrome, is 'a walking baseball encyclopedia', and makes up anagrams on the fly.

On the anniversary of Chelsea's death, Ryan finds a message tucked into flowers at her grave, telling him 'It was no accident.' He takes it to Emma Carlisle, a trial attorney with Rhode Island's Office of the Attorney General, who is prime on Chelsea's case. They use the media to ask the tipster to come forward. Eventually, Babes, who has run away from home, calls in to Ryan's show with revelations that make it 'a whole new ball game', but remains in hiding.

Other players include Babes' friend, MIT student Tom Bales who had a crush on Chelsea; Senate candidate and Rhode Island's former attorney general Brandon Lomax, who has a drinking problem and no memory of the night of the accident; reporter Doug Wells who courts Emma and has few scruples when after a story; PawSox owner and prominent physician Conradt Garrisen, whose wife is the assistant attorney general; and homeless blackmailer Yaz. Soon the race is on to find Babes before a killer does - and it's a gripping one.

There are quite a few twists and turns, and more than a little misdirection before Ryan - and readers - find out what really happened the night of his wife's death. Don't miss James Grippando's Intent to Kill, an excellent thriller that will engage your interest at all levels.

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