James Grippando's Cane and Abe is a riveting, thoughtfully plotted novel in which the reader is taken on a downward spiral of good versus evil. Although this is my first time to read one of the author's novels, I was gripped with tension, incredulity and compassion for the characters until the very last page.

James Grippando's Cane and Abe

Grippando creates his main character's back story so convincingly, readers will immediately relate to Abe Beckham. During the investigation of a serial killer dubbed the "Cutter," lead FBI Agent Santos provides Abe with a description of the deceased. He is reminded "of how raw and recent my own loss could feel, which made it disconcerting to hear a homicide victim described in such a familiar way, down to the race, age, height, weight, and choice of nail polish." (20)

Throughout Cane and Abe's frequent twists and unexpected turns, Abe must confront the loss of his first wife while dealing with ongoing marital problems with his second. Meanwhile, a former lover is found dead in Florida's sugar cane fields and a serial killer is on the loose.

Each situation by itself would seem to be too much for anyone to bare, but together the circumstances are overwhelming for Abe.Throw in a senile ex-father-in-law and the bipolar brother-in-law he promised his dead wife to always look after, and he is bound to be at his wit's end.

Suspicion, deceit, and betrayal is foremost on Abe's mind, while others are convinced of his own guilt. Where can he turn? Whom can he trust when those closest to him know that he has lied before? Don't miss Cane and Abe's intense, dark tale of murder, mayhem and family drama as well as a stunning conclusion bound to leave you speechless!

By James Grippando
368 pp. Harper. $24.99.

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