Black Horizon: A Jack Swyteck Novel
Prior to his first novel, THE PARDON, written in 1994, James Grippando had spent 12 years as a successful trial lawyer. Twenty years later, he has been churning out pretty much a book per year. His favorite character, possibly modeled after himself and his own experiences, is Miami attorney Jack Swyteck.
BLACK HORIZON marks the 11th release in this acclaimed series. In the heavily populated genre of legal thrillers, authors need to do something different to make their work stand out. What Grippando has done with his recent series of novels is to base them on actual events ripped right from today's headlines.
"What Grippando does successfully here is wade through real events and fictionalizes them in a compelling story that will resonate with readers."
The last Swyteck thriller, BLOOD MONEY, was based on the infamous Casey Anthony case, whereby a young mother was acquitted in the death of her two-year-old daughter. BLACK HORIZON is set three plus years after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. BP took quite a hit in the media over this tragic occurrence, and, ironically, the trial of former BP executive David Rainey is set to commence six days following the release of this novel.
Jack Swyteck is enjoying his honeymoon in Key West, FL, with his wife, FBI Agent Andi Henning. They are not only celebrating their nuptials but also the announcement by Andi that she is expecting. While they are lounging and taking in the best Key West has to offer, it becomes impossible to ignore the media coverage of a major oil spill. It seems a rig based in foreign waters just outside the Southeastern tip of the U.S. has suffered an explosion and subsequent spill.
With blobs of oil heading towards Florida and greater damage to follow, tourists begin leaving Key West in droves, and Jack and Andi's honeymoon is cut well short. Andi, who often works undercover for the FBI, is called away to a clandestine meeting. Jack, meanwhile, is introduced to a new client through his colleague and friend, Theo Knight.
The woman Jack is representing is the wife of a Cuban man who was killed in the tragic explosion on the oil rig mentioned earlier. When Jack travels to Havana, Cuba, among other locations, he becomes a pawn in a looming international saga. It seems Jack and Andi are embroiled, separately, in a case involving an international consortium of powers from China, Russia and Venezuela. The rig explosion and oil spill may indeed be an act of sabotage and not an accident.
What Grippando does successfully here is wade through real events and fictionalizes them in a compelling story that will resonate with readers. Jack Swyteck has clearly stepped above and beyond the legal realm and entered into the world of international corporate espionage. BLACK HORIZON is an exciting and well-researched novel that will open many eyes as it simultaneously entertains readers.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on March 7, 2014