Harper. (Jack Swyteck, Bk. 17). Jan. 2021. 384p. ISBN 9780062915085. $27.99. THRILLER
Eighteen-year-old Xavier Khoury confesses to killing 14 people in a shooting spree at his school and the district attorney is confident of a death penalty verdict based on the anti-Muslim sentiment in the community. Xavier’s mother asks Miami attorney Jack Swyteck, whose daughter is a kindergartener at the school, to represent Xavier in proceedings to reduce the sentence to 14 consecutive life sentences in prison, which is a speedier process and also less onerous for the victims’ families. When Al-Qaeda claims responsibility for the mass shooting, the crime intersects with federal terrorism departments and jurisdictional arguments ensue. Jack tries to withdraw as counsel for family reasons but the request is denied by the district judge. His investigation is hampered by governmental interference as well as his uncommunicative client. Either Xavier was groomed for the shooting by extremist factions or he is being set up and is actually innocent.
VERDICT This 17th book in the “Jack Swyteck” series (after The Big Lie) is a low-key legal thriller for the first two-thirds of the book, after which the action heats up to inferno proportions. Hold on to your seats after that. Fans of Grippando and of legal thrillers will not be disappointed.
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