The “go-to guy in capital cases” for the Miami-Dade County State Attorney Office, Abe Beckham, has been called to a crime scene in the Florida sugar cane Everglades. The body of a woman has been discovered and has the same gruesome hallmarks present in a series of recent murders which harkens back to the history of the sugar cane industry. After the untimely cancer-caused death of his wife Samantha, Abe has recently remarried to a woman named Angelina. Despite this, Abe continues to care about and interact with with Samantha’s father Luther and brother J.T., which presents problems for his new marriage. Victoria, the FBI agent locally engaged in the criminal investigation of the series of murders identifies a series of clues that links Abe with the crimes. There has been previous contact with the current victim, contact with Florida’s sugar cane history, and then the disappearance of his wife, Angelina, which lead to Abe being considered as a suspect. The story and its “resolution” take you through the history of Florida sugar cane industry, legal complexities, interpersonal relationships, and multiple twists and turns.
The book is presented primarily in first person with Abe as the protagonist, with the remainder in third person. Most chapters are short and to the point, which along with the succinct descriptions and conversation moves the reader rapidly through the story making it difficult to put down. There is exposition about the sugar cane industry that provides the physical and historical backdrop of the story. Cane and Abe is the 22nd novel of James Grippando, a best selling author, although it is a re-work of his first effort at writing a novel 25 years ago. Having not read any of his previous novels it is not possible for this reviewer to make comparisons. Nonetheless, as the first exposure to his writing this book has sparked an interest in the rest of James Grippando’s work.
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