HarperCollins, Sep 2002, 25.95, 336 pp.
Jessie Merrill asks her former lover Jack Swyteck to represent her in court as the Viatical Solutions is suing her for the 1.5 million they gave her. Jessie insists she sold her life insurance to Viatical Solutions in exchange for the cash when Dr. Marsh stated she probably has Lou Gehrig's disease. After conferring with his wife Cindy, Jack takes Jessie on as a client.
Jack easily wins the case, but has second thoughts when he observes Jessie and Marsh holding hands. When someone murders Jessie in his bathroom, the police make Jack and his pal Theo Knight the prime suspects in a lover scam that turned ugly and became a “murder for hire”. Jack digs deep to prove he did not commit a homicide and that he was an innocent dupe in Jessie's con. However, to his shock and chagrin, the evidence piles up starting to confirm he had to be part of the original scam.
The first three-quarters of BEYOND SUSPICION is the legal thriller of the year. However, the climax, though a reasonable twist, seems a bit to simplified. This leads to readers feeling partially satisfied, but also pondering what could have been if the murder was never solved and Jack remained an unproved but prime suspect. James Grippando cleverly builds up the case against Jack, but releases the air from the balloon just as the plot clears the stratosphere. Still, sub-genre fans will want to read this solid novel.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner