James Grippando has a new novel out and for him it must be the best of times and the worst of times. Its the best of times because his story, CANE & ABE, is being compared to GONE GIRL. It is the worst of times because his story is being compared to GONE GIRL. The book is so similar to Gillian Flynn's novel that it is distracting. Books are written years ahead of their release date so I am sure Grippando had never even heard of GONE GIRL when he wrote his story, but having it tie in so closely to that plot is a negative.
The main character in CANE & ABE is lawyer Abe Beckham, who works in the Florida State's Attorney office in Miami/Dade County. There is a serial killer loose in this area and the latest victim is a woman with whom Abe once had a relationship. Because he lies about elements of that relationship, Abe becomes a suspect. Later when his current wife Angelina goes missing, Abe also becomes a suspect in that case.
There is also a subplot concerning his brother in law through his first wife who is deceased. Every time the brother in law pops up he causes more annoyance in the reader. He is not a character you want to know, and the less he is on the pages the better.
Beckham comes across as one of the most inept suspects ever created in fiction. Every time he is interviewed by the police he makes one blunder after another. Either he lies or he is just plain evasive. He has a lot of friends in high places but by the end of the book they are all becoming convinced he is guilty of some serious crimes. And in dealing with his wife's disappearance he is completely foolish.
Grippando is an accomplished writer as he has proven with earlier books, and he creates a fast paced story with this one. The characters may be flawed but they are well drawn and the plot holds the attention of the reader from start to finish. But the unlucky resemblance to the plot of GONE GIRL sinks this book without a fighting chance. He will have better luck next time for sure.
CANE & ABE is published by Harper. It contains 356 pages and sells for $24.99.
Jackie K Cooper