Black Horizon (Jack Swyteck Novel) by James Grippando

Black Horizon

Reviewed by Allen Hott

Black Horizon tells quite a story about not only the oil industry but about relations between Cuba and the United States. And especially right now with all the hub-bub that is going on between the two countries and possible relaxing of past conditions. Grippando uses one of his favorite characters, Jack Swytek, as the main man in this one. Swytek is an investigative lawyer who early on in the book marries Andie Henning the FBI agent that he has been involved with in previous books. And of course Jack has his sidekick, Theo Knight, whom Jack had saved from not only prison but also from wrongful execution in prison.

Shortly after the wedding and honeymoon get started everything gets discombobulated as Andie, after a somewhat startling announcement to Jack, gets called off on one of her secret missions for the government. What seems at the time to also be just a side note is that an explosion on an oil drilling derrick in Cuban waters is without a doubt going to cause a huge oil slick that will shortly hit U.S. soil somewhere around the keys.

Theo tells Jack that the two of them are headed for the Keys. Not only to help in keeping the shoreline and wildlife as clean as possible from the oil slick. But also because Theo’s buddy, Rick, owns a bar on Duval Street in Key West and Theo wants to help him with all of the increased business due to reporters, etc. heading into the area. Plus Theo and some friends are looking to buy the bar. Before going to the bar they go out on Rick’s boat and watch the oil slick as it fast approaches the land. The U.S. cannot go in to help cap the site because of the fact that it is in Cuban waters.

Later while at the bar the two get introduced to Bianca, a Cuban born young lady who is working as a waitress.

The real story now begins as she explains that her husband was on the oil derrick and is identified as one of those who were killed. She, her boss, and Theo urge Jack to take her case in court to at least get monetary satisfaction. In some ways it makes sense as Jack has Cuban ancestry in his blood so he can in fact travel rather easily between the two countries while he works on the case.

That is probably the only thing that is easy because then all the details begin to come out about the explosion. It seems that the derrick was built by several countries including China but it does contain U.S. parts. The countries all try to work out ways to get U.S. help but to no avail due to U.S./Cuban relations.

Jack files suit on behalf of Bianca in federal court and then he begins his travels back and forth gathering more evidence. He and Theo run into many, many more problems. All of these are what really make Grippando’s book a great read.

He moves back and forth and in and out while keeping the reader’s interest on a high note. Various subplots add to the mystery’s allure. Another great thing about the read is that it is virtually profanity and sex free! Just a great story that is well done.

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