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Intent to Kill

Cover of Intent to Kill

Intent to Kill

A Novel of Suspense
Borrow Borrow Borrow

A fallen baseball star must use his new skills as Boston's king of sports radio to outwit a dangerous caller and prove — live and on the air — that the hit-and-run that killed his wife was no accident.

Ryan James once had it all. With a beautiful wife and a two-year-old daughter, he was just one minor-league baseball game away from realizing his lifelong dream of playing in the majors when the unthinkable happened: his wife, Chelsea, was killed in a hit-and-run accident while driving to Ryan's last game of the season.

Years later, Ryan is a popular "shock jock" at Boston's top-rated sports radio show, doing his best to raise his daughter alone. But his love for Chelsea endures, his insomnia persists, and the fact that the police never found the drunk who ran her off the road makes closure impossible. Then, on the third anniversary of Chelsea's death, chilling words from an anonymous tipster turn the accident into a homicide: "I know who did it."

As the police scramble, Ryan makes a stunning discovery. The tip — a strangely coded message — may have come from Chelsea's own brother, a young man affectionately known as "Babes," who has an autism-related disorder. But why would Babes have withheld this information for three years? And what finally made him come forward anonymously?

The demand for answers sends Babes on the run. Through a series of shocking on-air conversations with Babes, Ryan and Emma Carlisle, the dedicated prosecutor on the case, unravel a cover-up that reaches back to the night of Chelsea's death and that may implicate one of New England's most powerful families. It's a search that will forever change the lives of Ryan, Babes, and Emma — if they live to tell about it.

A fallen baseball star must use his new skills as Boston's king of sports radio to outwit a dangerous caller and prove — live and on the air — that the hit-and-run that killed his wife was no accident.

Ryan James once had it all. With a beautiful wife and a two-year-old daughter, he was just one minor-league baseball game away from realizing his lifelong dream of playing in the majors when the unthinkable happened: his wife, Chelsea, was killed in a hit-and-run accident while driving to Ryan's last game of the season.

Years later, Ryan is a popular "shock jock" at Boston's top-rated sports radio show, doing his best to raise his daughter alone. But his love for Chelsea endures, his insomnia persists, and the fact that the police never found the drunk who ran her off the road makes closure impossible. Then, on the third anniversary of Chelsea's death, chilling words from an anonymous tipster turn the accident into a homicide: "I know who did it."

As the police scramble, Ryan makes a stunning discovery. The tip — a strangely coded message — may have come from Chelsea's own brother, a young man affectionately known as "Babes," who has an autism-related disorder. But why would Babes have withheld this information for three years? And what finally made him come forward anonymously?

The demand for answers sends Babes on the run. Through a series of shocking on-air conversations with Babes, Ryan and Emma Carlisle, the dedicated prosecutor on the case, unravel a cover-up that reaches back to the night of Chelsea's death and that may implicate one of New England's most powerful families. It's a search that will forever change the lives of Ryan, Babes, and Emma — if they live to tell about it.

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Excerpts-
  • Chapter One

    The first thing Ryan found was a hand with part of an arm. He guessed it was the left hand, but it was hard to tell. He spotted the right foot on the other side of the kitchen, on the floor, next to the high chair.

    God only knew where the missing eyes and ears were.

    Living in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, birthplace of Mr. Potato Head, had its ups and downs. But this working-class city of seventy-two thousand on the Blackstone River was no one-spud wonder. It was also the minor-league home of one of the most storied teams in baseball.

    "Hi, Dada," said Ainsley. She was wearing only a diaper and her baseball cap — her daddy's team, of course. The Pawtucket Red Sox — "PawSox" — were the Triple-A minor-league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, and twenty-four-year-old Ryan James was their rising star. Ryan put his daughter's partially reconstructed toy aside and gathered up Ainsley in his arms.

    "What do you want for breakfast?" asked Ryan, as he put her in the high chair.

    "Mama," she said.

    "Anything else?"

    "Dada."

    "Coming right up," said Ryan.

    Ainsley had fewer words in her vocabulary than most two-year-olds, and anything that she couldn't say was either a mama or a dada. Ryan didn't want to get Freudian about the whole thing, but he assumed the dada was a banana. He had no idea what the mama was. He selected a ripe one from the bunch, sliced it up for her, and put the pieces on the tray.

    "Here you go, gorgeous," he said.

    Ainsley ate one bite, then took the biggest piece and threw it right over Ryan's head. It landed in front of the refrigerator, where the real mama had to duck out of the line of fire as she entered the kitchen.

    Chelsea sighed and put her hands on her hips. "Ryan, please don't throw food."

    "I think you meant Ainsley," he said.

    "What?"

    "You said, ‘Ryan, please don't throw food.' I swear it wasn't me."

    Chelsea looked flummoxed. "Oh, God. I'm already stressed."

    "Just wait till we have five of these bambinos-." Chelsea froze.

    "Kidding," said Ryan. He wanted only four. Chelsea poured a quick cup of coffee and gulped half of it down. "Why are you so tense?" said Ryan. She coughed on her java, and he immediately regretted the question. As a minor-league player, Ryan made the standard eleven hundred dollars per month plus a twenty-dollar per diem food allowance. It wasn't enough. Chelsea supplemented their income by teaching third-grade English at one of Boston's prestigious private schools. Three nights a week she attended law school classes at Suffolk University in Boston, a four-year program that would earn her a diploma when Ainsley was ready for first grade. If Ryan made it to the majors, she'd keep teaching; if he didn't, she'd start a new career. Either way, money would no longer be such an overriding issue in their future. For now, however, finances were tight, and with her full-time teaching responsibilities, her part-time law studies, and an hour-long commute each way between Pawtucket and Boston, Chelsea was struggling to be the good wife and mother.

    Chelsea said, "I have a very important meeting, first thing this morning, with Mrs. Chambers. The last person I want to keep waiting is the head of school."

    "You should eat something. It'll settle your nerves."

    "No time."

    "At least take a dada for the road," he said, holding up another banana.

    The Ainsleyism brought a smile.

    "Okay," she said. "I'll have a dada."

    She went to him and gave him a kiss, and for a brief instant, it seemed to cut the stress. That was the great thing about marrying the love of your life. People sometimes said, "I can't live without you" without a thought, but when Ryan said those words to Chelsea, he was quite literal. Teammates teased...

About the Author-
  • James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author of suspense. Cash Landing is his twenty-third novel. James Grippando was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon), and he now serves as counsel to Boies, Schiller & Flexner LLP. He lives in south Florida with his wife, three children, two cats, and a golden retriever named Max, who has no idea he's a dog.

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Intent to Kill
Intent to Kill
A Novel of Suspense
James Grippando
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