"Run" is indeed the operative word in this intense page-turner by top flight thriller writer James Grippando. Although born in Cyprus a man is called the Greek, and he is running from enemies who would take pleasure in killing him, preferably slowly. The current president of the United States ran for his office, won it, and will do anything to keep it. How the two intersect is sizzling reading.
A former trial lawyer himself Grippando has imbued his stalwart series lead, Jack Swyteck, with all the on-target attributes that make Swyteck one of the most believable protagonists in print. Add some very human characteristics and you have a likable, affecting character with whom readers identify. Those who wait for another Jack Swyteck adventure will be both pleased and surprised with what they find in Born To Run.
Grippando opens with a grabber - the Greek has been married to Sofia for but 11 months when their apartment was broken into by Sicilian thugs. The Greek fled, running through alleys, and to a rooftop six stories up with nowhere else to turn. He was caught and thrown, "He didn't hear himself scream, or the Sicilians laughing, as his body collided with the cobblestone below."
Skip to the Florida Everglades some 46 years later where Vice-President Phil Grayson is hunting alligators. But, he tumbled from his boat, "...headfirst into the marsh." As he sank into the muck, the pain became too much. "His body became stiff and unresponsive. His only choice it seemed, was to respect nature, to become one with black water, to be the third and weakest leg in a bizarre and deadly triangle. One angry gator. Untold pythons."
Harry Swyteck, Jack's father and a two-time Florida governor, is asked to be the new Vice-President. Looking ahead to his confirmation hearings he asks Jack to be his lawyer. Not about to turn his Dad down, Jack accepts only to find that Washington, D.C. is not all like the Miami playing field with which he's so familiar. It's darker and deadlier than he could have ever imagined.
Grippando has pulled out all the stops in Born To Run, and in an election year at that. It's a complex, complete thriller that races to a humdinger of a conclusion.
- Gail Cooke