James Grippando
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James Grippando
James Grippando
BornWaukegan, Illinois
United States
NationalityUnited States
GenreCrime fiction
Legal thriller
Young adult
Notable awardsHarper Lee Prize

James Grippando is an American novelist and lawyer best known as the 2017 winner of the Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction.[1]


James Grippando was born in Waukegan, Illinois and raised in rural Illinois.[2]

In his first job out of law school Grippando served as law clerk to the Honorable Thomas A. Clark, United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta. There and in private practice Grippando worked on a number of appeals in death penalty cases,[3] an experience that later served him in writing his first published novel, The Pardon.[4] From September 1984 to September 1996, Grippando was a trial lawyer in Miami. In a David vs. Goliath legal battle that lasted seven years, Grippando served as lead counsel on behalf of Florida chicken farmers in a case that was "the catalyst for wholesale change in the $15 billion-a-year [poultry] industry."[5]

As a lawyer, Grippando wrote numerous scholarly articles. In the late 1980s, he shifted to creative writing, but his first attempt at fiction was never published.[6] A near arrest in a case of mistaken identity sparked an idea for a new novel about a man accused of a murder that he may not have committed.[7][8][9][10] Grippando's first published novel, The Pardon, was released in hardcover in September 1994, where he first introduced the character Jack Swyteck, a Miami criminal defense lawyer.[11] Grippando wrote one more novel while still practicing law: The Informant (October 1996.)[12] He then left the law to write full-time,[6] and a string of novels followed. There are now fifteen novels in the Jack Swyteck series: The Pardon (1994); Beyond Suspicion (2002); Last to Die (2003); Hear No Evil (2004); Got the Look (2006); When Darkness Falls (2007); Last Call (2008); Born to Run (2008); Afraid of the Dark (2011); Blood Money (2013), Black Horizon (2014), Gone Again (2016), Most Dangerous Place (2017), A Death in Live Oak (2018) and The Girl in the Glass Box (2019). Several of Grippando's novels feature Jack's wife, FBI undercover agent Andie Henning, without Jack: Under Cover of Darkness (2000); Money to Burn (2010); Need You Now (2012) and Cash Landing (2015).

Leapholes, Grippando's first novel for young adults, was also the first novel for young readers ever to be published by the American Bar Association.[13] That same year (2006), Grippando's first short story, Operation Northwoods, was published in an anthology (Thriller: Stories to Keep you Up at Night Thriller (book)) with other top thriller writers. His first novella, The Penny Jumper, was published in 2016. His first play, Watson, about IBM founder Thomas J. Watson Sr., made its world premiere at GableStage in Coral Gables Florida in 2019.[14]

Grippando writes outdoors at his south Florida home,[15] and most of his novels are set in Florida, chiefly in Miami. He writes novels of suspense in the genre of crime fiction, including psychological thrillers and legal thrillers, many of which draw upon his experiences as a trial lawyer.[2] Since 2002 he has served as "Counsel" at Boies Schiller & Flexner LLP, a national law firm headed by trial lawyer David Boies. He is an adjunct professor of law at the University of Miami School of Law, where he teaches "The Law & Lawyers in Modern Literature." Grippando's novels have been published in twenty-eight languages: Bulgarian, Czech, Chinese (simplified), Croatian, Dutch, English, Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Romanian, Russian, Slovakian, Spanish, Serbian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish, and Ukrainian.

Grippando's twenty-fourth novel, Gone Again, was the 2017 winner of the Harper Lee Prize for legal fiction.[1]



Jack Swyteck series

  • The Pardon (1994)
  • Beyond Suspicion (2002)
  • Last to Die (2003)
  • Hear No Evil (2004)
  • Got the Look (2006)
  • When Darkness Falls (2007)
  • Last Call (2008)
  • Born to Run (2008)
  • Afraid of the Dark (2011)
  • Blood Money (2013)
  • Black Horizon (2014)
  • Gone Again (2016)
  • Most Dangerous Place (2017)
  • A Death in Live Oak (2018)
  • The Girl in the Glass Box (2019)
  • The Big Lie (2020)
  • Twenty (2021)

Andie Henning series

  • Under Cover of Darkness (2000)
  • Money to Burn (2010)
  • Need You Now (2012)
  • Cash Landing (prequel featuring an appearance by Jack Swyteck, 2015)


  • The Informant (1996)
  • The Abduction (1998)
  • Found Money (1999)
  • A King's Ransom (2001)
  • Leapholes (2006) (young adult novel)
  • Lying with Strangers (2007)
  • Intent to Kill (2009)
  • Cane and Abe (2015)
  • The Penny Jumper (2016) (novella)

Short stories


Nonfiction (Scholarly)

  • "Condominium Rulemaking: A Call for Substantive Judicial Review in Florida," University of Florida Law Review (1982)
  • "Declining to Exercise Extraterritorial Antitrust Jurisdiction on the Grounds of *International Comity," University of Virginia Journal of International Law (1983)
  • "Warsaw Convention--Federal Jurisdiction and Air Carrier Liability for Mental Injury," *The George Washington Journal of International Law (1985)
  • "Attorney-Client Privilege: Implied Waiver through Inadvertent Disclosure of *Documents," University of Miami Law Review (1985)
  • "Fear of Flying--The Fugitive's Fleeting Right to a Federal Appeal," Fordham Law Review (1986)
  • "Don't Take it Personally--Limited Liability for Attorney Shareholders," Florida State University Law Review (1987)
  • "Circuit Court Review of Orders on Stays Pending Appeals," the American Bankruptcy Law Journal (1988)
  • "Caught in the Non-act: Expanding Criminal Antitrust Liabiltiy for Corporate Officials," The Antitrust Bulletin (1989)

Nonfiction (Magazines and Newspapers)

  • "Writing the Good Book on Lawyers" (ABA Journal November 1994)
  • "The Quest: Five or Six (Hundred) Easy Steps to Overnight Success" (Mystery Scene Magazine Summer 2004)
  • "Animal Attraction: A Tribute to my Co-Author, a Dog Named Sam" (Miami Herald, February 12, 2006)
  • "Five Years After the Terrorist Attacks of 11 September, American Author Says 'Thanks, Mates'" (Goodreading Magazine (Australia), September 2006)
  • "Untitled (But Carolyn Marino Would Know What to Call It)" (Publishers Weekly, June 2008)


  • 2017 Harper Lee Prize Winner (Gone Again)
  • 2010 Florida Book Awards Bronze Medal (Money to Burn)
  • 2007 Benjamin Franklin Award Finalist (Leapholes)
  • 2005 Distinguished Author Award, University of Scranton.


  1. ^ a b L. Rawles, 2017 Harper Lee Prize awarded to Boies Schiller lawyer's novel Gone Again, ABA Journal (July 12, 2017).
  2. ^ a b D. Hiltbrand, Don't Give Crime Author any Ideas, The Philadelphia Inquirer, February 7, 2006.
  3. ^ B. Goldsmith, Everyone's a critic, says author Grippando, Reuters News Service, February 21, 2007.
  4. ^ D. O'Briant, A Better Verdict the Second Time, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Section F-4, October 6, 1994.
  5. ^ B Ortega, Pecking Order Being Challenged in Chicken Industry, The Wall Street Journal, August 12, 1992.
  6. ^ a b A. Suarez, Two Dreamers Have it All, The Miami Herald, Section E-1, July 25, 2000.
  7. ^ J. Fleischman, Lawyer Writes Thriller after Brief Police Encounter, The Miami Herald, Section B-2, August 12, 1994.
  8. ^ C. Mabe, Innocent Beginning, Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, Section E-1, October 18, 1994.
  9. ^ M. Carlin, Personal Experience Turns into Novel for this Lawyer, Rocky Mountain News, 67A, October 16, 1994.
  10. ^ Miami Attorney's Legal Thriller Really Takes Off, The Florida Bar News, November 1, 1994
  11. ^ J.D. Reed, Picks & Pans--Pages: The Pardon, People Magazine, p. 40, September 19, 1994.
  12. ^ C. Mabe, Miami author has made a case for himself with book for teens, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, May 14, 2007.
  13. ^ A. Couture, Book Review, Foreword Magazine at 61 (January/February 2007).
  14. ^ C. Dolen, Novelist James Grippando's 'Watson' to premiere at GableStage, Miami Herald, Nov. 21, 2019.
  15. ^ C. Mabe, Miami author has made a case for himself with book for teens, Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, Section E-1, May 14, 2007.

External links

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