Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Books: "The Big Lie" By James Grippando

The Big Lie: A Jack Swyteck Novel
By James Grippando
Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers; hardcover, 368 pages; $27.99; available today, February 25

James Grippando, a New York Times bestselling author of suspense and a winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, is known for being consistently out in front of the headlines and is renowned for his unmatched ability to conjure up suspense fiction that gives a look into the future. He teaches "The Law & Lawyers in Modern Literature" at the University of Miami Law School.

The Big Lie is his 28th novel. This is the sixteenth adventure for long-running series lead and perennial fan favorite Jack Swyteck, and this time, the explosive lawyer takes on an explosive case that propels him to the epicenter of the 2020 election, where his quest for justice reaches all the way to the White House.

Americans have gone to the polls after a fiercely contested battle between a corrupt incumbent who dodged impeachment by the slimmest of margins and a wily opponent whose alleged extramarital affairs with another man dented a commanding lead.

Florida Senator Evan Stahl won the popular vote by five million votes, but fell short in the Electoral College count in his bid to replace President Malcolm MacLeod. The Senator refuses to concede, and he works with his advisors to map out a path to success in which individual members of the Electoral College cross party lines and change the course of history.

Enter one of those "faithless electors," gun lobbyist Charlotte Holmes, who is represented by Swyteck. Her intention to vote her conscience plays out in a Florida courtroom, and in the process, she becomes a target of those determined to claim victory at any cost.

Hauled in front of a judge, Charlotte faces third-degree felony charges for breach of oath. Going up against an attorney general whose orders to prove Charlote's unfitness comes from the Oval Office, Jack mounts a vigorous defense. 

It isn't just his client's freedom at stake. As compromising secrets emerge and threats turn deadly, keeping the potential elector alive might be the biggest challenge of all. In this combustible atmosphere, standing your ground - in the state where that controversial law was born - has never been so perilous or so fateful.

Grippando is an incisive observer of all things Florida, and he sees the likelihood of a supercharged sequel to Gore v. Bush on the horizon. He says of the inspiration behind The Big Lie and contemplating what lies ahead, "The nation is politically polarized, and Florida is polarization on steroids. The squeaker of 2000 was only the first of three presidential elections this century in which the margin of victory in Florida was 1.2 percent or less. What if 2020 is the fourth time in twenty years where a candidate wins the nationwide popular vote decisively but loses all 29 of Florida's Electoral College votes for failing - just barely - to carry a majority in Florida? Will the nation of over a hundred million voters accept that, under the current Electoral College System and our current socio-political makeup, the presidency is effectively decided by a few thousand swing votes in Central Florida? Or will it be chaos?"

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