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Black Horizon (Jack Swyteck Novel) Hardcover – March 4, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The eleventh Jack Swyteck novel opens with the attorney and his new wife, FBI agent Andi Henning, honeymooning in the Florida Keys. The honeymoon is cut short, though, by an offshore disaster: an oil-drilling platform in Cuban waters has exploded, pumping oil into the ocean. Almost immediately, Jack is asked to represent a woman whose husband died in the explosion in a wrongful-death suit against the platform’s owners (it’s owned by the Venezuelan government but was manufactured by a Chinese company). Meanwhile Andi is sent off on an undercover assignment. Jack knows only that it involves the Chinese, but it quickly turns out that Andi’s case could be closely connected to Jack’s own. 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. --David Pitt

Review

“Fantastic…Finely crafted dialogue and a realistic yet nuanced hero make this thriller a standout.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review) 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.” (Booklist on BLACK HORIZON)

“James Grippando is a master of the legal thriller.” (Robert K. Massie, New York Times bestselling author)

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.” (Houston Chronicle on Black Horizon)

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Product Details

  • Series: Jack Swyteck Novel
  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; First Edition edition (March 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006210988X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062109880
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #511,277 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Brian Baker VINE VOICE on March 31, 2014
Format: Hardcover
I'm not going to write a deep story synopsis here; you can get that on the book's Product Page.

I've enjoyed most of the Swytek books, but have to say that I don't think this is one of the best of the series.

In it, Grippando is trying to take on current political issues (a massive oil spill, the Cuban embargo, environmentalism, federal national security practice), a who-done-it, and the signature Swytek courtroom drama.

This is probably a good example of what happens when you try to force ten pounds of "stuff" into a five pound bag. It came across to me as frenetic yet unfocused. Is this a courtroom drama? A murder mystery? A political thriller? What?

Another problem, as others have noted, is that sidekick Theo - usually a wry character who provides the needed muscle to Swytek's brains - comes across as an annoyingly juvenile wiseacre, constantly cracking lame and childish jokes. I felt like I wanted to smack the back of his head and tell him to grow up.

The who-done-it part didn't work very well at all. The "surprise" ending wasn't so much a "surprise" as it was a cheat of the audience. For it to work properly, a "mystery" has to give you SOME clues during the story so that you can look back on what you've read, once you get to the denoument, and say to yourself, "Ah! That was clever! The clues were there all along, and I missed them!".

That certainly wasn't the case in this book. The big reveal came, and I was saying to myself: "What!?!? Where the heck did THAT come from?"

Anyway, kind of entertaining. I didn't regret reading it, but it certainly wasn't up to Grippando's usual par.

Three stars.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By plane on March 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Grippando brings back Jack Swyteck his Miami based attorney, who in the book opening is marrying his longtime girlfriend Andie Henning. Andie is an undercover agent for the FBI and Jack has to accept the fact that much of what she does is confidential and he will not know about it. The two plan a honeymoon to Key West and settle in for days of romance and getting to know each other as man and wife. The getting to know includes the revelation that Andie is pregnant and expecting in about 8 months.
An unexpected glitch suddenly affects both Jack and Andie when an ocean going Cuban owned drilling rig explodes triggering an immense oil spill in the gulf of Mexico that wends it's way towards the Florida keys and up the coast from there. The rig is in Cuban waters and actually is a consortium between Cuba, Venezuela, China and Russia whose group prohibits the U.S. from bringing in equipment to contain the oil spill. The problem falls into both Jack and Andie's laps when the F.B.I. calls her back to work on what might be a terrorist plot to blow up the rig. At the same time Jack agrees to represent a girl whose fiance was on the rig working towards a solution to be allowed to leave Cuba and be with his sweetheart in the United States.
The author covers the activities of both Jack and Andie in their work on what could be the same problem. As always Grippando's knowledge of the intricacies of the law and his explanations of cause and effects in the action tied to these rules makes the action very real to the reader, and allows him to think of Jack as not superman, but a good, knowledgeable practitioner of the law. Andie's role in her portion of the events is in keeping with her image as a woman loving her job, doing it well, but aware of the dangers involved in working undercover. Grippando's books never cease to attract and keep his readers glued to the pages and anxiously awaiting the next novel from him
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By financesec on May 5, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really loved his other books, I didn't think this one was good at all. Crazy story. Jumped all over the place. Although it was timely, it just didn't keep my attention. By the end, I really didn't care what happened to anyone.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By michael a. draper VINE VOICE on June 26, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Jack Swyteck is honeymooning in Key West when there is an offshore explosion. Soon, globs of sticky oil begin drifting to the Florida coast.

Swyteck is an attorney and is hired to represent a woman whose husband was killed in the explosion. Jack is thinking about suing for a wrongful death but wonders who he could sue since the incident happened in Cuban waters and the oil derrik is owned by a consortium made up of China, Russia, Cuba and Venezuela.

Jack investigates the explosion and is assisted by his sidekick Theo. The banter between these two characters makes up much of the story.

The central characters of Jack, Theo and Jack's wife, Andie, went about their business but their actions never caused me to have an overcoming desire to learn more.

Theo is constantly complaining and demanding Jack's attention, like a spoiled child. Andie is an undercover FBI agent, well described and as a potential new mother, she is interesting and deserving of the reader's empathy. The compassionate way that Jack treated her when she had a health issue was well described.

The novel was dry, mildly interesting but lacking suspense. I'm a fan of Grippando and always look forward to his books but this wasn't one of his better novels.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ray on June 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Theo has become more of a distraction than an asset to the Jack Swyteck series. About ten percent of the book is wasted on flippant comments from Theo with responses from Jack. This book has little to offer. Sure it is fiction but there needs to be some believability to make fiction entertaining. The book does drag into the daylight the issue of the Cuban Embargo which is probably going to become a pollitical issue in the next few years. If you have nothing else on hand to read then maybe you will finish this book but I cannot recommend it to anyone.
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