Friday, July 22, 2016

GONE AGAIN by James Grippando [Book recommendation]

Book obtained from: Library New Books shelf, audio book

Description: This is book #12 in the Jack Swyteck series.  Jack is a criminal defense attorney in Miami Florida.  In this book, he is working with the Freedom Institute, representing a death row inmate who insists he is not guilty of killing the victim.

Plot:  Sashi Burgette, the 17yo victim, disappears on her way to school.  Her body is never found.  The next day, Dylan Reeves is found with her underwear in his car.  He is convicted and sentenced to death.  With his execution only days away, Sashi's mother contacts Jack Swyteck and tells him “Sashi called me.”  The book details Jack's attempts at getting Dylan off death row.

Characterization: Dylan Reeves is very well developed and realistic.  The victim's parents and siblings are well done.  Jack isn't quite as well done as the others, but I was still able to get a good feel for who he was as a person.  One thing that was really well done, is the “bad people” [term used to avoid spoilers] had reasonable and understandable motivations for their actions, they were not stereotypes.  The resolution of the story was very believable, and the reader was left with the question of whether sometimes a killer really may have been justified.

Setting:  Miami and other locations in Florida.  Nicely described.

Other:  This story reminded me so much of my days as a law clerk in the county Public Defender's office.  The dedication of the defense attorney and his team is well-done, even defending people who most of society wouldn't care about.  Dylan Reeves isn't a saint by any means, but Jack treated him with respect, and fought for the proposition that if he didn't kill Sashi, the death penalty would not be appropriate.  The book was narrated by Jonathan Davis and his voice was well-suited to the characters and the tone.

Overall:  An excellent story.  Realistic.  Gave the reader something to think about – murder is sometimes not easily categorized, and people who do bad things are real people and not just “bad”.  I really liked the way it left the question open – is a killing sometimes justified?

Grade: A

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