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Book Talk: James Grippando, ‘The Pardon’

I’d read a few of James Grippando’s novels and enjoyed them. But I bought them in no particular order, and it didn’t seem to matter. Out of curiosity, I googled the list of his works, found that his debut novel was “The Pardon” (1994, 320 pages), and placed my order. I wasn’t very far into the story when it became apparent that this author had been destined to be a New York Times bestseller.


The plot develops from the exoneration of Eddy Goss, whose lawyer — Jack Swyteck — was able to get him off on a technicality. However, everyone “knows” that Goss is the despised “Chrysanthemum Killer.” Even Jack knows that his client was guilty.


Then, Jack takes on the case of Raul Fernandez, loses, and Raul is sentenced to death. Naturally, Jack files appeal after appeal. Finally, a masked man confronts Jack, tells him Raul is innocent, and shows him irrefutable proof. Jack goes to his father, Governor Harry Swyteck, who is in the middle of a campaign for reelection, and begs him to commute Raul’s sentence. But, Governor Swyteck refuses, and Raul — an innocent man — is executed by the state.

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