THE BIG LIE by James Grippando


 Jack Swyteck Novel, Book 16

From the publisher:

As the Electoral College battle for the White House lands in a Florida courtroom, Miami attorney Jack Swyteck has never felt farther from the truth, fighting for a “faithless elector,” caught between a corrupt president and his manipulative opponent—with each revelation more explosive than the next.

The country is reeling. For the sixth time in American history, the winner of the popular vote will not occupy the Oval Office. President Malcolm MacLeod, the Machiavellian incumbent, was spared from impeachment only because his political foes were certain they would oust him at the ballot box. Now, he appears to have secured a second term, thanks to a narrow victory in the Electoral College.

His opponent, Florida Senator Evan Stahl, saw his campaign rocked by allegations of an extramarital affair—with another man. Despite the salacious headline-making scandal and the surrounding media frenzy, most Americans chose Stahl to lead the politically polarized nation. But Stahl is refusing to concede. Backed by millions of supporters, he looks to individual members of the Electoral College to cross party lines.

Gun lobbyist Charlotte Holmes is one of Florida’s twenty-nine electors who is bound by law and by oath to cast her vote for MacLeod, who won Florida by the thinnest of margins. When Charlotte announces that she intends to vote her conscience and throw the Electoral College to Stahl, the president and his Florida machine haul her into court on felony charges—which, for some, isn’t nearly punishment enough.

Miami attorney Jack Swyteck is going to use every legal maneuver he can to keep his new client free—and alive. MacLeod’s hand-picked prosecutor is determined to prove Charlotte is unfit to cast a vote. Dredging through her past, he’s looking for skeletons to humiliate and discredit her, while others with far deadlier intentions have begun acting on their threats.

As the pressure mounts, Charlotte and Jack must decide how far they’ll go to stand their ground in the stand-your-ground state.

In James Grippando’s latest novel featuring attorney Jack Swyteck, he touches upon present 2019 conditions in the United States. There is a division in the country, with one party maintaining that the current president did not win the election that put him in office. The opposing party did win the majority of the popular vote but lost when the electoral college result put the current president into office.

Grippando explains that the electoral college was put into place by the U.S. founding fathers as a means of assuring that large population centers would not be able to crush the wishes of other areas of the country. The current U.S. system has the electors in each state asked to vote for the candidate that gained the most votes in that state. In that system, it becomes possible for one candidate to gain more of the popular vote but lose when electors in less populous areas vote for the majority candidate and have the same effect as the electors in the other more populated area with the overall election decided by the overall majority of electoral votes. The author makes the point that it is possible that one of the electors may decide to vote his or her conscience even if it doesn’t coincide with the constraint to vote for the winner of the majority vote in that state.

The novel is about an elector deciding to vote her conscience and not for the candidate that the state majority dictated. Charlotte Holmes is one of the 29 appointed electors in the state of Florida and during the presidential election has decided not to follow custom. That would have placed her vote for the opposition candidate and not for the president who did win the majority of the state’s popular votes.

The book places two scandalous candidates in juxtaposition but the president has been elected by a narrow margin. There are underlying facts and interests in play making the outcome of Charlotte’s choice important beyond the one electoral vote lost, and we have another mesmerizing novel by James Grippando guaranteed to keep his readers up and reading until it is finished. The author attempts to keep his personal views out of the plot but this is not 100% accomplished. Any personal bias encountered will certainly not have any effect on the enjoyment of the book. Chalk up another five-star encounter with Jack Swyteck and his defense of Charlotte Holmes and her decision not to follow normal elector procedure.

2/2020 Paul Lane

THE BIG LIE by James Grippando. Harper (February 25, 2020). ISBN: 978-0062915047. 368p.



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