Black Horizon (Jack Swyteck Series #11)

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Overview

Three summers after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe—the biggest man-made environmental disaster in history—oil is again spewing into the ocean, from a drilling explosion in Cuban waters just fifty miles away from the Florida Keys. The situation is politically complex, involving a state-run consortium tied to the Venezuelan, Chinese, and Russian governments, and highly ­volatile. The Cubans not only refuse offers of American ­assistance, but threaten to fire on "hostile" U.S. ...

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Black Horizon

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Overview

Three summers after the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe—the biggest man-made environmental disaster in history—oil is again spewing into the ocean, from a drilling explosion in Cuban waters just fifty miles away from the Florida Keys. The situation is politically complex, involving a state-run consortium tied to the Venezuelan, Chinese, and Russian governments, and highly ­volatile. The Cubans not only refuse offers of American ­assistance, but threaten to fire on "hostile" U.S. vessels that enter their waters.

Attorney Jack Swyteck and his new wife, Andie, an operative for the CIA, are honeymooning in the Keys when Andie is called away on an undercover assignment. Jack, too, is soon back at work—representing a client whose husband was on the rig. Though the spill occurred in foreign territory, the widow wants Jack to file a wrongful death suit in a U.S. court. Pursuing the unimaginably complicated case plunges Jack into a dangerous world filled with treacherous twists that lead him to a shocking realization . . . his case and Andie's assignment may be lethally connected.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 01/13/2014
Bestseller Grippando draws inspiration from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill for his fantastic 11th Jack Swyteck novel (after 2013’s Blood Money). Criminal defense lawyer Jack Swyteck and his new wife, FBI agent Andie Henning, cut short their honeymoon in the Florida Keys after an explosion on Scarborough 8, an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico, results in a massive crude oil spill. Andie returns to Washington, D.C., where FBI higher-ups suspect sabotage was involved in the disaster. Back in Florida, Jack agrees to represent Bianca Lopez, the widow of a Cuban man killed on the rig, in a wrongful-death suit. In a concerted effort to get the case dismissed, the Chinese-Russian-Cuban oil consortium that owns the rig claims that Bianca’s marriage doesn’t exist. As Jack pursues the truth, he is kidnapped in Cuba and later threatened with disbarment by the FBI. Finely crafted dialogue and a realistic yet nuanced hero make this thriller a standout. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management. (Mar.)
Library Journal
10/01/2013
Following a drilling explosion in Cuban waters, not so far from the Deepwater Horizon disaster, attorney Jack Swyteck finds himself representing a woman whose husband died on the oil rig. Grippando's 21st novel.
Kirkus Reviews
2014-02-02
In Grippando's fast-moving 21st, an oil-rig disaster drags Florida lawyer Jack Swyteck into lawsuits against everyone in the known universe. Since American corporations can't enter into agreements to explore the Caribbean waters off Cuba, the Cubans themselves, partnering with Russian, Chinese and Venezuelan interests, have launched the Scarborough 8, a behemoth platform assembled in China, to search for oil deep beneath the seas. That search ends when an explosion aboard the rig kills derrick worker Rafael Lopez and 15 other workers and unleashes a massive spill American relief forces are powerless to stem. As oil slicks approach the Florida Keys, Jack, his honeymoon already interrupted when his bride, undercover agent Andie Henning, is called away for another hush-hush FBI operation, reluctantly agrees to help Rafael's widow, Bianca, prosecute her wrongful-death suit against the owners of Scarborough 8. In the story's irresistible middle section, Jack dukes it out in a Key West courtroom with Luis Candela, the lawyer representing Petróleos de Venezuela, who throws up one roadblock and smokescreen after another, including a stunner: Bianca can't have been legally married to Rafael at the time of his death because he was engaged to Josefina Fuentes, a boxer he'd known since his childhood in Havana. Candela's allegation is the cue for legal quiddities to dissolve into a wild third-act scramble for the truth that takes Jack and his old friend (and ex-client) Theo Knight on a trip to Cuba, then to the Bahamas, where Theo is framed for murder. Think nothing else can go wrong? Think again. Perhaps the most successful of Jack's 11 cases (Blood Money, 2013, etc.). As usual, the characters are sketched in only lightly, but readers immersed in the rewardingly complex tangle of political/legal problems sparked by the Deepwater Horizon disaster—sorry, the Scarborough 8 disaster—will never notice.
Robert K. Massie
“James Grippando is a master of the legal thriller.”
Houston Chronicle on Black Horizon
A briskly paced thriller…The complex plot points combined with the breezy narrative—not to mention the Florida Keys setting—make for a solid beach read that will no doubt leave longtime fans looking forward adventures of Jack Swyteck.”
Booklist on BLACK HORIZON
“With a story that’s ripped from the recent headlines (remember the 2010 BP oil spill?), this is a solid legal thriller that should appeal to the author’s fans.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062109880
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/4/2014
  • Series: Jack Swyteck Series, #11
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 629,904
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

James Grippando

James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels are enjoyed worldwide in twenty-six languages. Black Horizon is his twentieth novel published by HarperCollins, the eleventh in the acclaimed series featuring Miami attorney Jack Swyteck. He is also the author of Leapholes for young adults. Grippando was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon), and he is now counsel at one of the nation's leading law firms. He lives and writes in South Florida.

Biography

Whether standing before the bench in a courtroom or penning one of his bestselling thrillers featuring defense attorney Jack Swyteck, James Grippando has a deep fascination with the law. He practiced as a trial lawyer for twelve years before shifting his career in a more literary direction. However, the decision was not the result of bitter disillusionment. "I actually liked practicing law," he explains on his web site. "I just wished I could do less of it. That may sound like a contradiction, but the problem with being a lawyer is that, if you get caught up in it, eventually you won't know anything about anything except what you happen to be working on at the moment."

As he contemplated leaving the law, Grippando set his sights on becoming a writer, a career shift not as drastic as one might imagine. "A trial lawyer is in many ways a story teller," he said in an essay in Mystery Scene magazine. "Still, I had no idea how to become a novelist... So, I set a couple of ground rules. First, I would do my writing on the sly, nights and weekends, while continuing to bill my obligatory two thousand hours a year. Second -- and this was by far the most important rule -- I was determined to keep it fun."

Both Grippando's legal expertise and his determination to "keep it fun" were readily apparent in his 1994 debut, The Pardon, a taut thriller that introduced Jack Swyteck, a brash young Miami criminal defense attorney who successfully defends an admitted killer -- only to find himself framed for his defendant's murder. Called "a bona fide blockbuster" by the Boston Herald, this well-plotted first novel marked Grippando as a writer to watch.

Despite the popularity of The Pardon, Grippando would not return Jack Swyteck to active duty for eight more years. His second novel, written while he was still practicing law, was a fast-paced crime thriller called The Informant. Shortly after it was published in 1996, he left his practice for full-time writing and published a string of well received stand-alones, including The Abduction, Under Cover of Darkness, and A King's Ransom.

Then, in 2002, Grippando revived Jack Swyteck, placing him at the center of Beyond Suspicion, a gripping courtroom drama involving an insurance scam and the Russian Mafia. Readers reacted so joyfully to Swyteck's return that the author has -- with very few exceptions -- kept attention focused on his beloved series protagonist. As the review journal Booklist put it : "Grippando, whose best thriller have been full of imagination and out-of-left-field surprises, looks like he's found a winner in the Swyteck series."

Good To Know

When he was a lawyer, one of Grippando's most prominent cases found him defending a group of chicken farmers against, according to his essay in Mystery Scene magazine, "the largest privately-held corporation in the world." The Wall Street Journal deemed the case "the catalyst for change in the $15 billion a year poultry industry."

Before becoming a writer, Grippando was on the fast track to becoming a partner at Steel Hector & Davis, the Miami law firm at which former Attorney General Janet Reno began her career.

Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Grippando:

"In this world of revolving doors, I'm what you might call a professional anomaly. I've had the same publisher (HarperCollins) and agent (Richard Pine, along with his father Artie until his death) since the start of my career. I've also had the same editor (Carolyn Marino) since my second novel. I treasure these relationships. It is because of them that I am able to do what I love for a living."

"My first published novel was actually inspired by a near arrest in a case of total mistaken identity. One night in October 1992, tired of staring at a blank computer screen, I went for a walk before going to bed. I got about three blocks from my house when, seemingly out of nowhere, a police car pulled up onto the grassy part of the curb in front of me. A cop jumped out and demanded to know where I was going. I told him that I was just out for a walk, that I lived in the neighborhood. He didn't seem to believe me. "There's been a report of a peeping Tom," he said. "I need to check this out." I stood helplessly beside the squad car and listened as the officer called in on his radio for a description of the prowler."Under six feet tall," I heard the dispatcher say, "early to mid-thirties, brown hair, brown eyes, wearing blue shorts and a white t shirt." I panicked inside. I was completely innocent, but it was exactly me! "And a mustache," the dispatcher finally added. I sighed with relief. I had no mustache. The cop let me go.

But as I walked home, I could only think of how close I'd come to disaster. Even though I was innocent, my arrest would have been a media event, and forever I would have been labeled as "the peeping Tom lawyer." It was almost 2 a.m. by the time I returned home, but I decided that I needed to write about this. I took the feeling of being wrongly accused to the most dramatic extreme I could think of. I wrote about a man hours away from execution for a crime he may not have committed. What I wrote that night became the opening scene of The Pardon."

"My first editor on everything I write is my wife, Tiffany, who was an English Lit major."

"I can't underestimate the impact Miami -- the city in which I live -- has had on my writing. Miami evokes all the right buzz words -- smart and sexy, young and beautiful -- but it also has a self-destructive quality that triggers the kind of fascination we have with a reckless youth. It is blessed with natural beauty, but it's threatened by developers. It has the gift of cultural diversity, but is plagued by ethnic tension. Its nightlife is unrivaled, but the threat of violence is never far enough away. There's glitz, there's money, there's the see-and-be-seen -- and then there are neighborhoods that seem straight out of the third world. You often hear it said that truth is stranger than fiction, and nowhere is that more true than in south Florida. Where else could the United States Attorney lose his job after losing a big case, getting drunk, and biting a stripper? But it's where I live, it's where I practiced law, and it will always be an inspiration to my writing.

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    1. Hometown:
      Coral Gables, Florida
    1. Date of Birth:
      January 27, 1958
    2. Place of Birth:
      Waukegan, Illinois
    1. Education:
      B.A. with High Honors, University of Florida, 1980; J.D. with Honors, University of Florida, 1982
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 8 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2014

    Just fair.

    This is a skimmer.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 4, 2014

    if you've read his other books you'll like this one

    its interesting & informative. I think you have to have read his other book to enjoy this one. I like the way he writes & I've read all his books. it would make a great book for a discussion. I would recommend you reading his other books.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2014

    His books are great.

    Hope his next book will be soon. Great read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 13, 2014

    Lorrie

    R u kidding me ? Now i know i cant reccomend this book. An undercover FBI agent shopping at materinty/baby stores ???

    0 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    <_>

    <_>

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 9, 2014

    0 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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