Black Horizon is James Grippando's 20th adult novel (he's also written one YA), and the 11th with Jack Swytek as the main protagonist. I have read and enjoyed all 20, but I'm partial to the Swytek series. There's a great cast of regular characters: Jack Swytek, of course, Theo, his sidekick (who provides comic relief), and Andie Henning, the FBI undercover agent who Jack marries at the beginning of this book. Here's what it's all about:
Miami attorney Jack Swyteck finds himself in the middle of an international legal battle over a Cuban oil spill that sets him on a deadly mission.
Three summers after the Deepwater Horizon environmental catastrophe, oil is spewing into the ocean again, this time from a drilling explosion in Cuban waters just fifty miles from the Florida Keys. The slick is headed straight for the United States, but the Cubans refuse American offers to assist with the cleanup, and threaten to fire on "hostile" U.S. vessels entering their waters. Backstopping the Cubans is the powerful consortium that owned and operated the rig, and is tied to the Chinese, Russian, and Venezuelan governments, who stonewall all inquiries and relief efforts.
Jack and his new wife, Andie Henning, an undercover agent for the FBI, are honeymooning in the Keys when Andie is called away on an assignment shrouded in secrecy. Jack, too, is soon back at work, representing an American woman whose Cuban husband was killed in the rig explosion. Though the spill occurred in foreign waters, Jack draws on all his legal know-how to file a wrongful death suit in a U.S. court and hopefully bring the young widow a semblance of closure.
Jack's pursuit of the unimaginably complicated international case plunges him into a dangerous world filled with treacherous twists that lead him—and Andie—to the same shocking realization . . . that the looming environmental disaster may have been no "accident" at all.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I like a legal thriller, and this one had a lot of legal and a lot of thriller. I appreciate that Grippando has created a story taken from our history. He has not only given us an update on oil spills, but he also continues the discussion of Cuba and Cuban-Americans. As a lifetime West Coast-erner, I enjoy reading books that take me to a part of the country that I don't know much (or anything) about. Grippando does a good job of educating me while, at the same time, entertaining me (remember, it's all about me).
Grippando is a very good writer. Otherwise I wouldn't have just read my 20th book by him. I once got into trouble with a publisher because I posted a lineup of "B listers," and James Grippando was on that list. I'm not sure I want to revisit that argument now, but suffice it to say that I am recommending Grippando's work. Is he Silva, Flynn, Coben, or Iles? No. But is he an author that delivers every time he puts out a new book? Yes, he is. When you read 70+ books a year, there will be ratings across the board. In 2013, I had 19 books that were 3.5 or 4.0. Does that mean a 3.0 is not worth reading? Of course not. A 3.0 is a darn good rating, one that I know I would be happy to receive if I were an author. And Grippando's books, especially the Jack Swytek ones, are a solid 3.0. And let's not forget that my opinion is only that - an opinion. If you or the publisher agree, great. If not, so be it.
Thank you for listening (or not) to my diatribe regarding ratings.
P.S. This book, like Coben's , is coming out in March.