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'Black Horizon' Revisits Oil Spill Nightmares

Wed, 03/05/2014 - 10:29am
JENNIFER KAY, Associated Press

"Black Horizon," the eleventh book in James Grippando's Jack Swyteck series, revisits the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010 and then does it one better, sending oil straight at the Florida Keys.

Intrepid criminal defense attorney Swyteck is on his honeymoon at a sleepy Keys resort when an oil rig explodes during a tropical storm in Cuban waters. In reality, exploratory oil drilling off Cuba's shores has come up dry, but Grippando conjures up a worst-case scenario in which an oil consortium is stacked by companies based in countries sometimes hostile to the U.S., the Cuban government won't allow the U.S. to offer its cleanup expertise and a gusher of oil can't be stopped.

Swyteck gets more than he bargained for when he agrees to take a Key West waitress' wrongful death lawsuit seeking compensation for her husband who died aboard the rig. The courtroom drama quickly escalates into kidnapping, government secrecy and sabotage.

Somewhere, a cheerful yet firm commercial is probably still airing to remind tourists that Florida's beaches are oil-free. Meanwhile, Grippando's fun legal thriller offers a breezy tour of the policies that shape life in South Florida and its Caribbean neighbors.

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