"Number this intelligent, cleverly constructed thriller among the best."
Amy Parkens is a struggling single mother forced to abandon a career in astronomy for a practical computer job. She feels condemned to long hours, low pay, and no time to spend with her young daughter. Then an unmarked package arrives. There's no card, no note, no return address. Someone has simply sent her a small fortune. Amy has no idea who--or why. She only knows that her dead end life has changed forever. Though tempted just to keep it, Amy fears a mistake, a set up, or even a possible connection to her mother's mysterious death twenty years earlier. She has to find the source. But when she tries to look her gift horse in the mouth, someone snatches the money back? quickly, violently.
Ryan Duffy is a decent, responsible man, small-town physician from the plains of southeastern Colorado. Like Amy, Ryan has recently found unexpected wealth. His father's estate is worth more than Ryan could ever have imagined--millions more. Truth is, Dad was a hard-working electrician for forty-five years. But in his attic, he hid a fortune. The Duffy family has been guarding a secret. Was it extortion, burglary, or some other shocking crime? And now that Ryan has the money, what should he do?
Painful as it is, Ryan is drawn to his father's dark past. Amy, on the same desperate quest for answers, soon aligns herself with Ryan to learn the truth about the man Ryan thought he knew, and to uncover the shocking connection between Ryan's inheritance and Amy's newfound wealth. Their search takes them through a labyrinth of deception and blackmail, leading them to a man of unfathomable power. At the heart of their discovery, shrouded in secrecy, are the heinous crimes that touched their families years ago. Yet the past is not what it appears to be. Soon Amy and Ryan learn why the true victims never came forward, why the real wrongdoers went unpunished, and why certain powerful people would kill to keep their secrets.
"Grippando has done it again, crafting a thrilling scenario filled with terrifying images of money's dark side. . . . Highly recommended."
- Library Journal
"A cautionary tale of greed, family secrets and the dangers of getting what you wish for the final revelation is a real kicker."
- Publishers Weekly
"A plot filled with twists and turns. Found Money is a good yarn about two honest people whose main problem is that their parents kept too many secrets."
- Orlando Sentinel
"Grippando writes in nail-biting style."
- Larry King in USA Today
BEHIND THE BOOK ...
In Honor of that great "philosopher," W.C. Fields
One of my favorite jokes is the old W.C. Fields classic. "Madam, would you sleep with me for a million dollars?" She mulls it over and says, "Yes, I think I would." The man counters, "Would you sleep with me for ten dollars?" Indignant, she asks, "What do you think I am?" His reply: "I think we've already established that. We're merely haggling over the price."
A funny joke. But there's plenty of wisdom in it, too. Do we live on a sliding scale of morality? Does right and wrong depend on how great the temptation is, how high the stakes? Or do we live by a code of moral certainties? Somewhere between those deep questions and the timeless humor of W.C. Fields lies Found Money.
I've always been fascinated by the concept of sudden wealth. The way it changes people - friendships, families. The spark for Found Money was simple enough. My father's cousin bought a new house. He started renovating the basement, and demolished a wall. Behind it, he found a coffee can. Inside the can was cash — $20,000! He knocked down another wall and found another can. In it, another $17,000. His dilemma was this. Should he tell the former owner that he'd packed up and left without his money? Or should he zip his lip and keep the loot?
You may be interested to know that, after a recent speech I gave to 200 middle school children in Coral Gables, the vote was almost unanimous: "finders keepers."
FOUND MONEY: HarperCollins Publishers: May 2001 Behind the Writing of the Novel: Copyright 2000 James Grippando