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Afraid of the Dark    by James Grippando order for
Afraid of the Dark
by James Grippando
Order:  USA  Can
Harper, 2011 (2011)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

James Grippando brings back Miami criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck (backed up by his best friend Theo Knight, whom he rescued from death row) for his ninth fast-paced adventure in Afraid of the Dark. Jack is now engaged to be married to FBI undercover agent Andie Henning, but isn't seeing much of her while she's on assignment.

But the story opens three years before this, when McKenna, the sixteen-year-old daughter of Sergeant Vince Paulo's best friend (Chuck Mays, CEO of a highly successful data mining company) dies in his arms, after which he's blinded by an explosion set off by her killer. Before McKenna dies, she identifies her boyfriend Jamal as her killer. Two months later, her mother Shada goes missing, a presumed suicide.

Fast forward three years to Cuba, where Jack Swyteck speaks to Prisoner 977, whose case an old friend with the Freedom Institute, Neil Goderich, has asked him to take on. Though the young man had never spoken to anyone at Gitmo, he does talk to Jack after the latter mentions that his grandfather was born in Czechoslovakia.

After the case is tried and a judge orders the young man released, he's arrested once more and sent to Florida for trial for McKenna's murder - his real name is Jamal Wakefield. Though Jack, who owes a debt to Vince Paulo, is ready to drop the case after he learns his client's identity, he's convinced otherwise after Jamal claims to have been abducted to a black site in Prague before McKenna's murder.

The plot thickens when an informant ('the guy who took him there') contacts Jack. Threats are issued - 'Are you afraid of the dark?' - to various key players. There are several deaths before the trail leads to an independent military contractor with secrets to keep, London, and the Dark. As always, James Grippando gives fans a gripping, convoluted read in Afraid of the Dark - enjoy!

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