A few words about book's author
James Grippando is a New York Times bestselling author whose novels are enjoyed worldwide in twenty-six languages. Black Horizon is his twentieth novel published by HarperCollins, the eleventh in the acclaimed series featuring Miami attorney Jack Swyteck. He is also the author of Leapholes for young adults. Grippando was a trial lawyer for twelve years before the publication of his first novel in 1994 (The Pardon), and he is now counsel at one of the nations leading law firms. He lives and writes in South Florida.
Whether standing before the bench in a courtroom or penning one of his bestselling thrillers featuring defense attorney Jack Swyteck, James Grippando has a deep fascination with the law. He practiced as a trial lawyer for twelve years before shifting his career in a more literary direction. However, the decision was not the result of bitter disillusionment. I actually liked practicing law, he explains on his web site. I just wished I could do less of it. That may sound like a contradiction, but the problem with being a lawyer is that, if you get caught up in it, eventually you wont know anything about anything except what you happen to be working on at the moment. As he contemplated leaving the law, Grippando set his sights on becoming a writer, a career shift not as drastic as one might imagine. A trial lawyer is in many ways a story teller, he said in an essay in Mystery Scene magazine. Still, I had no idea how to become a novelist... So, I set a couple of ground rules. First, I would do my writing on the sly, nights and weekends, while continuing to bill my obligatory two thousand hours a year. Second — and this was by far the most important rule — I was determined to keep it fun. Both Grippandos legal expertise and his determination to keep it fun were readily apparent in his 1994 debut, The Pardon, a taut thriller that introduced Jack Swyteck, a brash young Miami criminal defense attorney who successfully defends an admitted killer — only to find himself framed for his defendants murder. Called a bona fide blockbuster by the Boston Herald, this well-plotted first novel marked Grippando as a writer to watch. Despite the popularity of The Pardon, Grippando would not return Jack Swyteck to active duty for eight more years. His second novel, written while he was still practicing law, was a fast-paced crime thriller called The Informant. Shortly after it was published in 1996, he left his practice for full-time writing and published a string of well received stand-alones, including The Abduction, Under Cover of Darkness, and A Kings Ransom. Then, in 2002, Grippando revived Jack Swyteck, placing him at the center of Beyond Suspicion, a gripping courtroom drama involving an insurance scam and the Russian Mafia. Readers reacted so joyfully to Swytecks return that the author has — with very few exceptions — kept attention focused on his beloved series protagonist. As the review journal Booklist put it : Grippando, whose best thriller have been full of imagination and out-of-left-field surprises, looks like hes found a winner in the Swyteck series.Good To Know
When he was a lawyer, one of Grippandos most prominent cases found him defending a group of chicken farmers against, according to his essay in Mystery Scene magazine, the largest privately-held corporation in the world. The Wall Street Journal deemed the case the catalyst for change in the $15 billion a year poultry industry. Before becoming a writer, Grippando was on the fast track to becoming a partner at Steel Hector & Davis, the Miami law firm at which former Attorney General Janet Reno began her career. Some interesting outtakes from our interview with Grippando: In this world of revolving doors, Im what you might call a professional anomaly. Ive had the same publisher (HarperCollins) and agent (Richard Pine, along with his father Artie until his death) since the start of my career. Ive also had the same editor (Carolyn Marino) since my second novel. I treasure these relationships. It is because of them that I am able to do what I love for a living. My first published novel was actually inspired by a near arrest in a case of total mistaken identity. One night in October 1992, tired of staring at a blank computer screen, I went for a walk before going to bed. I got about three blocks from my house when, seemingly out of nowhere, a police car pulled up onto the grassy part of the curb in front of me. A cop jumped out and demanded to know where I was going. I told him that I was just out for a walk, that I lived in the neighborhood. He didnt seem to believe me. Theres been a report of a peeping Tom, he said. I need to check this out. I stood helplessly beside the squad car and listened as the officer called in on his radio for a description of the prowler.Under six feet tall, I heard the dispatcher say, early to mid-thirties, brown hair, brown eyes, wearing blue shorts and a white t shirt. I panicked inside. I was completely innocent, but it was exactly me! And a mustache, the dispatcher finally added. I sighed with relief. I had no mustache. The cop let me go. But as I walked home, I could only think of how close Id come to disaster. Even though I was innocent, my arrest would have been a media event, and forever I would have been labeled as the peeping Tom lawyer. It was almost 2 a.m. by the time I returned home, but I decided that I needed to write about this. I took the feeling of being wrongly accused to the most dramatic extreme I could think of. I wrote about a man hours away from execution for a crime he may not have committed. What I wrote that night became the opening scene of The Pardon. My first editor on everything I write is my wife, Tiffany, who was an English Lit major. I cant underestimate the impact Miami — the city in which I live — has had on my writing. Miami evokes all the right buzz words — smart and sexy, young and beautiful — but it also has a self-destructive quality that triggers the kind of fascination we have with a reckless youth. It is blessed with natural beauty, but its threatened by developers. It has the gift of cultural diversity, but is plagued by ethnic tension. Its nightlife is unrivaled, but the threat of violence is never far enough away. Theres glitz, theres money, theres the see-and-be-seen — and then there are neighborhoods that seem straight out of the third world. You often hear it said that truth is stranger than fiction, and nowhere is that more true than in south Florida. Where else could the United States Attorney lose his job after losing a big case, getting drunk, and biting a stripper? But its where I live, its where I practiced law, and it will always be an inspiration to my writing.