(Reviewed by Chuck Barksdale MAR 17, 2008)
“What do you want from me?” said Theo.
Isaac’s expression turned very serious. “I had the perfect plan, see? New clothes, fake ID, cash, car, gun—it was supposed to be waiting for me at the 7-Eleven on Eighth Street when I busted out. That was the deal. I show up exactly on time, but it ain’t there. I got screwed, bro’!”
Theo glanced at the gun. “I got nothin’ to do with that.”
“I ain’t blaimin’ you,” he said, his voice calming, “But you know Isaac Reems. He always got hisself a plan B.”
“Should have just robbed the 7-Eleven. That seems about your speed.”
“You think you’re the only one who’s moved up in the world? The small time is way behind me. And even if it wasn’t, I did my homework behind bars. A guy busts out of prison, the first thing cops watch is recent crime reports—stolen guns, cash, cars. Crimes like that leave a trail. I can’t be leavin’ no trails. So I asks myself: how can I get my hands on everything I need and be sure the cops don’t find out about it? Then it hits me. I’ll go see Theo Knight. I know he won’t report it.”
In Last Call, James Grippando returns to his successful series about Miami based criminal defense attorney Jack Swteck after taking a one book hiatus to write last year’s Lying with Strangers. This book will be a real treat for loyal readers of Grippando’s series, especially for fans of Jack’s friend Theo Knight. Jack, whose friendship with Theo started when he successfully removed Theo from death row, will again be faced with defending his friend from a murder he did not commit.
Isaac Reems, an old gang member acquaintance from Theo’s teenage years, escapes from prison and contacts Theo in hopes of getting money to further his escape. He first threatens Theo and later offers to give Theo information he learned while in prison on who killed Theo’s mother. Theo’s mother had been killed when Theo was 13 and he and Isaac were both members of the Grove Lords gang. Although Theo definitely wants to learn more about his mother’s murderer, he wants nothing to do with Isaac Reems. When Reems is found murdered, the local police and the FBI look at Theo as the likely murderer.
Of course, Theo seeks Jack Swteck’s help not only with his trouble with the police but also in trying to learn more about who is framing Theo for the murder. Jack again meets up with FBI agent Andie Henning with whom he had a short relationship that did not really end well. Andie is helpful in getting the police to lessen their interest in Theo and even agrees to have him secretly imprisoned in hopes he can find out more about Reems’ killer and who is after Theo. Theo, Jack and Andie work separately and together to uncover information about Theo’s past that apparently several people are trying to keep from Theo.
This is the first book in this series I have read by Grippando and although I definitely enjoyed it, my sense was that this was a book for long time fans of the series as the back story becomes the main story. We learn a lot about Theo Knight’s past and his relationship with his uncle and the death of Knight’s mother. We also see how successful Knight has become along with his desire to become even more successful by expanding to a second bar/nightclub. Jack also is faced with deciding about his love life as he again must deal with his distant relationship with Rene and what appears to be a more powerful relationship with FBI agent Andie Henning. James Grippando’s website does contain a lot of information on his books as well as this series and I found that helpful in getting some background on Jack and the other characters. Nonetheless, this book can certainly be read and enjoyed by anyone. For me though, I now want to go back and learn more from the earlier books in the series.
- Amazon readers rating: from 28 reviews
Read a chapter excerpt from Last Call at author's website
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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)
- The Informant (1996)
- Found Money (1998)
- The Abduction (1998)
- Under Cover of Darkness (2000)
- A King's Ransom (2001)
- Lying With Strangers (2007)
- Intent to Kill (2009)
- Money to Burn (2010)
Jack Swyteck series
- The Pardon (1994)
- Beyond Suspicion (2002)
- Last To Die (2003)
- Hear No Evil (2004)
- Got The Look (2006)
- When Darkness Falls (2007)
- Last Call (2007)
- Born to Run (2008)
- Afraid of the Dark (April 2011)
- Leapholes (2006)
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- Official website for James Grippando
- Wikipedia page for James Grippando
- BookReporter.com interview with James Grippando
- The Mystery Reader review of Found Money
- BookReporter review of Got the Look
- TheRefreshingTree review of Lying with Strangers
- The Mystery Reader review of Last Call
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About the Author:
James Grippando was born in 1958 in Waukegan, Illinois and raised in Antioch, Illinois. His father was a printer, and his mother, one of the first nurses in America to earn a doctorate degree, taught college level nursing and authored a nursing textbook.
He earned his B.A. from the University of Florida in Gainsville in 1980 and his J.D. in 1982. He was a trial lawyer for twelve years.
He lives in Florida with his wife Tiffany Suzanne Russell and their three children.