Most helpful critical review
Pardon yourself from reading this book!
on November 9, 2001
After reading Grippando's more recent "A King's Ransom," I was excited to read his debut, "The Pardon." What a terrible disappointment. Usually a good writer's first novel is very good (i.e.,Margolin, Sanders) and, with some notable exceptions, the writing gets worse over time. Here, the opposite is true. However, while "A King's Ransom," is more richly textured and accomplished than the Pardon, it still suffers from many of "The Pardon's," ingrained flaws.
"The Pardon" is what else, a story of a young lawyer, Jack Swyteck, who has just obtained an acquital for his client, Eddy Goss, a very guilty pyschopath, based on a "technicality." Both the charcters and situation are pathetically cliche and devoid of any imagination whatsoever. After the acquital, Jack becomes so disillusioned that he must resign from the "Freedom Institute" (I'm serious), play with his dog and think how to win back his girlfriend, Cindy. Oh, by the way, Jack's father just happens to be the governor of Florida (where all of Grippando's novels apparently are set), and the prologue to the novel sets up their estrangement (an obvious Grippando standby) as the Governor won't commute the death sentence of one of Jack's earlier and unluckier clients who appears as innocent as Goss is guilty.
After Goss's aquital, Jack and the Governor are threatened by a mysterious stranger! Jack is framed for murder! Someone has killed Jack's dog! Jack's reconciliation with Cindy is threatened by Cindy's seductive roommate, Gina! Oh please. The absurdity of the story and its stock characters and situations pick up momentum in direct relationship to the reader's lack of interest in them, the death knell to any novel.
This book is god-awful and, putting aside the fact that it allowed Grippando to stop practicing law, the author should be embarrassed by its very publication. Do yourself a real favor and skip this book. If you want something really good, read "The Axe" by Westlake or "About the Author" by Colapinto.