Black Horizon By James Grippando – review

Jack Swyteck, the book’s protagonist, is an accomplished defense lawyer, demonstrated in numerous previous novels in the series. However, in this entry his role as an attorney, bringing suit for wrongful death for the young widow of a man apparently killed when an offshore rig exploded, is merely peripheral to a wide-ranging thriller and sort of a love story on two levels. One aspect is at the beginning of the story, with Jack and Andie Henning getting married and beginning their honeymoon in the Florida Keys.

Then there is the other couple, Bianca and Rafael, married but separated, she in Key West after having left leaving Cuba, he stuck there and working on that same rig, built in China but operated by a consortium of non-U.S. oil companies on behalf of the Cuban petroleum monopoly. When the rig explodes, the result is an even bigger oil spill than the one that took place in the Gulf. The black gook threatens and engulfs the entire south Florida coastal area, and the consequences result in an adventure for Jack and his friend and sidekick, Theo.

Unlike other novels in the series, legal aspects (the author is a practicing attorney) seem only to be interjections in a thriller filled with action and murders. As far as the plot goes, the author provides plenty to keep the reader turning pages to find out what happens next. Unfortunately, along the way there doesn’t seem to be a single clue provided to substantiate the conclusion. Also, Theo comes across more as a clown than a serious character. While the novel is still a good read, it is less than one would expect from a series that has run for as long as this one has. Nevertheless, it can still be, and is, recommended.

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