*Grippando, James. Afraid of the Dark. Harper: HarperCollins. April 2011. c.336p. ISBN 978-0-06-184028-9. $25.99. Fiction.

Grippando’s 18th novel (after Money to Burn) brings together three series characters–criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck; FBI undercover agent Andie Henning, now Jack’s fiancée; and Miami cop Vince Paulo. All are tied to the murder three years earlier of 16-year-old McKenna Mays, the daughter of Vince’s best friend, Chuck, an internet entrepreneur. Vince was blinded by an explosion meant to destroy evidence left behind by the killer. But McKenna’s dying words implicated her ex-boyfriend Jamal, who is now being held as a Somali terrorist at the U.S. naval base in Guantánamo. Jack gets involved when he decides to defend Jamal, despite being warned off the case by Andie, who knows more than she can say. So what do you do when your defendant has an alibi–his abduction to a black site in Prague–that can’t be verified because of government secrecy? And if Jamal is innocent, as Jack believes, who was the killer? To find out, Jack, Vince, and Chuck must penetrate illegal websites and a world of evil in search of a terrorist who calls himself The Dark. VERDICT Superb plotting, high suspense, compelling timely issues, and finely honed characters make this crime novel/international thriller a great read.

Library Journal, 136, no. 2 (February 1, 2011), 53.

Contact Information at ronterpening.com