Piracy in the Music Industry Leads to Murder in Goodbye Girl

Imani Nichols is a Grammy-winning pop star, but she’s making far less than she could after a deal she signed as a teenager with her then husband, Shaky. Because she handed over ownership for her master recordings to Shaky, he earns the bulk of her royalties. Determined to get back at him, Imani encourages her fans to “go pirate,” and download her music illegally. Shaky files suit and Imani hires noted criminal defense attorney Jack Swyteck to represent her. 

The case explodes on social media, not only because of Imani’s stardom, but because there’s a lot at stake since piracy is killing the movie and music industries. Imani, who once helped to create a group fighting piracy, now finds herself labeled a turncoat. But the worst is yet to come when Imani and Shaky are charged with killing her ex-lover, Tyler McCormick, tying his body to a piling in a Florida swamp with the words “goodbye girl” written on his chest. Jack faces his own challenges since his wife, FBI Agent Andie Henning, was one of the first law enforcement officials to investigate McCormick’s death. Their agreement never to share confidential information about their cases is put to the test. And the killer is not finished, dragging both Jack and Andie into what becomes a legal swamp and a threat to their marriage.

James Grippando’s series featuring Jack Swyteck has built up a large and loyal following with good reason. The plots are ripped from the headlines, but never trite, and the characters are interesting without becoming cliche. Besides Jack and Andie, Theo Knight, an imposing ex-prisoner whose conviction was overturned thanks to Jack, could easily have his own series, he’s that interesting. The supporting cast, this time around – Russian oligarchs who cruise around on humungous yachts while profiting from pirating – are fascinating, although totally evil. Courtroom drama is well played out, but what happens outside the courtroom is equally compelling. 

Grippando skillfully handles the many plot threads, the main one concerning Imani and her courtroom battles, but a side one involving Theo who is wrongfully charged with an extraction kidnapping in London. Since the target was Sergei, the son of the Russian oligarch, Vladimir Kava, whose profits come from pirating websites, the two themes will eventually intersect, but how? And is Imani innocent but complicit? Jack knows she’s not telling him the truth (a common problem criminal defense attorneys encounter), but does lying mean she’s guilty of murder?

Modern day pirates steal intellectual property, but those who operated centuries ago robbing and killing on the high seas stole gold and other treasures. When caught, they were punished harshly. It doesn’t escape law enforcement, including Jack, that the McCormick’s murder scene resembles one from long ago. Is the killer sending a message about pirating? 

There’s so much to enjoy in Goodbye Girl. Those who are new to the Jack Swyteck series will want to go back and read more featuring this intriguing criminal defense attorney. 

Goodbye Girl
James Grippando

Top photo: Bigstock

About Charlene Giannetti (690 Articles)
Charlene Giannetti, editor of Woman Around Town, is the recipient of seven awards from the New York Press Club for articles that have appeared on the website. A graduate of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Charlene began her career working for a newspaper in Pennsylvania, then wrote for several publications in Washington covering environment and energy policy. In New York, she was an editor at Business Week magazine and her articles have appeared in many newspapers and magazines. She is the author of 13 non-fiction books, eight for parents of young adolescents written with Margaret Sagarese, including "The Roller-Coaster Years," "Cliques," and "Boy Crazy." She and Margaret have been keynote speakers at many events and have appeared on the Today Show, CBS Morning, FOX News, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and many others. Her last book, "The Plantations of Virginia," written with Jai Williams, was published by Globe Pequot Press in February, 2017. Her podcast, WAT-CAST, interviewing men and women making news, is available on Soundcloud and on iTunes. She is one of the producers for the film "Life After You," focusing on the opioid/heroin crisis that had its premiere at WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival, where it won two awards. The film is now available to view on Amazon Prime, YouTube, and other services. Charlene and her husband live in Manhattan.