Review of Blood Money by James Grippando

Blood Money (Jack Swyteck #10)Blood Money by James Grippando
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This book was a big disappointment. I’m always looking for mystery series that I can devour over months or years, and this is one of a lengthy series that might have fit that bill. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The book had its problems early on, but it wasn’t bad enough to abandon until p. 140. I finally gave up there after one of the most ludicrous FBI scenes in all of literature.

The main character, a lawyer, receives a death threat, so his FBI agent girlfriend arranges for the FBI to provide personal protection in his home and an “encrypted line.” The line is so he can talk securely to his clients and apparently anyone else since the murderer seems to be able to tap his line or hack in. For starters, there’s no FBI jurisdiction. It’s a murder threat to a normal citizen, not a federal witness or judge or official. The locals would handle it (probably by increasing patrols, and that’s all.) His girlfriend, the agent, had moved out so she wasn’t threatened, and even if she had been, the protection would be on her, if anyone, not him. Second, they don’t provide security for anyone that I know of besides the FBI Director and his family, although they may post agents at the homes of kidnap victims’ families until the ransom is paid or the victim released. At least that’s the way it was in my 25 years in the FBI. Third, how in blazes is that “encrypted line” supposed to work? The author’s unclear on the concept. Anyone with an IQ over 75 knows that if you encrypt something, it can only be understood by someone who can decrypt it. So is the FBI going to run out and install the decryption technology at the homes and offices of everyone the lawyer calls before he calls them? If they didn’t, all the recipient would hear is white noise. Encrypted telecommunication, at least the FBI kind, is classified and would never be installed in any civilian’s home, which is an unsecure environment. It only goes from government office to another government office or classified site, like a defense contractor and requires a SCIF or at least a level 3 safe, and most importantly, the same decryption technology and key as the sender. Absolutely laughable.

I was so disgusted I had to stop. How does stuff like this get by the editors, anyway? They must have a very low opinion of the intelligence of their readers.

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