Maybe Grippando's later works reflect greater sophistication and originality, but this debut effort is a hackneyed, by-the-numbers story. The prose is leaden and graceless; the shallow characters move around like marionettes; the plot is artificial and implausible. The irritating courtroom scenes are made-for-TV simplistic.
These deficiencies are compounded by Ron McLarty's wooden narration. McLarty's pacing seems too slow and metronomic, lacking the kind of inflection that might add some drama to the story. His rendering of the villain's voice, in particular, is distractingly whiny and grating. On a scale of 1 to 10, with George Guidall as a 10, McLarty is about a 3.5.
Maybe I was simply expecting too much. I love a good legal thriller and was hoping that The Pardon would be the first of a top-quality series that I could look forward to enjoying. In the end, I just felt cheated. Though I stuck with the book to the bitter end, I now wish I had never started it in the first place.
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