Category Archives: Twenty

Review: Twenty by James Grippando

Title: Twenty by James Grippando
Jack Swytek Series Book 17
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Contemporary, Legal Thriller, Mystery, Suspense
Length: 384 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through Edelweiss


Jack Swyteck and his family are caught in the crossfire after a deadly school shooting claims twenty casualties—Florida’s fifth mass shooting in as many years—in this provocative and timely thriller from Harper Lee Prize–winner James Grippando that touches on some of the most contentious issues roiling America today.

It is the message every parent of a school-age child fears: “Active Shooter on Campus.” 

Jack Swyteck is at his office when he receives the emergency text from Riverside Day School. Both his daughter, Righley, and his wife, FBI agent Andie Henning, are in danger. Andie is in the school’s rec center when she hears the fire alarms, then loud popping noises and screams coming from the hallway. A trained law-enforcement officer, Andie knows she’s supposed to stay locked down inside the room. But Righley is in her kindergarten classroom and Andie must get her to safety.

The tragedy prompts mass hysteria—and dangerous speculation. The police haven’t identified the shooter, but they find a handgun on the school grounds registered to a parent, a Muslim man named Amir Khoury. News of the gun and its owner leaks and quickly goes viral. Within minutes Al Qaeda claims responsibility. Andie is shocked—Amir is married to her friend, Lilly, a WASP whose bloodline goes back to the American Revolution.

When Xavier, Amir and Lilly’s oldest child and an eighteen-year-old senior at Riverside confesses to the crime, the local community’s anti-Muslim fervor explodes to levels unseen since 9/11. Terrified for her son’s life, Lilly asks Jack to step in. A seasoned defense attorney with a passion to see justice done, he’s taken on plenty of complicated cases. Xavier’s, however, is not one he’s inclined to take—until an old friend who lost his daughter in the shooting tells him that he must.

With the public calling for blood and prosecutors confident their case is air tight, Jack must unearth the Khourys’ family secrets in order to expose the shocking truth and save his client from certain death. But he may not be able to save everyone—including himself.


Twenty by James Grippando is a riveting legal thriller with a socially relevant storyline. Although this latest release is the seventeenth mystery in the Jack Swytek series, it can be read as a standalone.

Before attorney Jack Swytek drops wife Andie Henning and their daughter, Righley, there is nothing different about their day. He walks to work while Andie accompanies Righley to her classroom. Andie then decides to join the other parents for a cup of coffee in the rec room where she chats with her friend Lilly. However, shots soon ring out and while everyone else follows protocol and exits the building, Andie runs to Righley’s classroom. Jack receives an active shooter text and he rushes back to the school. Frantically searching for his wife and daughter, he is relieved to find them unharmed. However, other parents are not as lucky including Jack’s friend Nate Abrams.

Lilly is relieved none of her children are injured but the gun used in the shooting is registered to her husband Amir Khoury. She is shocked when her oldest son Xavier confesses to the horrific crime and he is soon arrested. Jack has no plans to represent the shooter, but he cannot resist Lilly’s pleas for him to become Xavier’s defense attorney. With plenty of evidence, Chief Prosecutor Abe Beckham plans to ask for the death penalty.  Determined to keep Xavier off death row becomes Jack’s main objective but with anti-Muslim sentiment running high, can he convince Beckham to take a deal?

With Xavier refusing to talk to him, Jack turns to his best friend and investigator Theo Knight to help him look into the events leading up the school shooting. They unearth some intriguing information that leads Jack to believe his client might be innocent.  But when his chief witness disappears, Jack becomes more determined than ever to uncover the truth about who besides Xavier might have been the shooter.

Twenty is a captivating mystery with a clever plot and interesting characters.  Not only is Jack fighting for his client’s life, things are tense between him and Andie.  When his case goes in an unexpected direction, Jack is more determined than ever to unearth the truth about the school shooting. With stunning plot twists, James Grippando brings this suspenseful legal thriller to a tension-filled conclusion. Old and new fans of the Jack Swytek series are sure to enjoy this  newest addition to this outstanding series.

Comments Off on Review: Twenty by James Grippando

Filed under Contemporary, Harper, Jack Swyteck Series, James Grippando, Legal Thriller, Mystery, Rated B+, Review, Suspense, Twenty