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4.0 out of 5 starsLassiter books just keep getting better
Reviewed in the United States on December 8, 2018
I admit to being a fan of Paul Levine. I have read almost all of the Jake Lassiter books and several of his others, and he is both a good story-teller and, apparently, a very good lawyer. I concede that I might not like the books as much were I not a lawyer, but my practice was nothing like the trial work described by Mr. Levine, so perhaps that is what I find so interesting. I will keep on reading his books as long as he keeps on writing them.
3.0 out of 5 starsOddly engaging despite major flaws -- beware, but you might enjoy it anyway
Reviewed in the United States on February 17, 2020
Jake Lassiter is an endearing character and author Paul Levine has provided him with a thrilling roller coaster of a story in which Jake can show off his self-deprecating sense of humor and his folksy “I’m just a jock” persona. On a superficial level, the plot and characters are fun, like watching a “B” movie where the villain ties the damsel to the tracks and the hero must save her before the train rolls through. If you can suspend reality and just go with it, it’s an enjoyable ride.
But if you are sensitive to reality, and particularly legal reality (what really can happen in a courtroom), then you probably want to sit this one out. Start with the introduction of Jake as he defends a long-time client, Blinky, who is accused of being the behind-the-scenes partner in a con/swindle scheme in which his co-defendant was the front man. There is reference to the prosecution offering the other guy a deal if he would testify against Blinky. These two defendants have an obvious conflict of interests, and would never have a joint trial. Jake somehow gets his client off, while his co-defendant is convicted. Then, the co-defendant turns up strangled and hung from the ceiling fan – in Jake’s house. The obvious suspect is Blinky, since the other guy, right after the verdict, threatened to squeal to the feds about some other scam that Blinky was running. And Blinky is missing.
There is also a District Attorney who keeps showing up at crime scenes like he’s a detective instead of a prosecutor. There’s a side plot when Jake shows up in juvenile court with his recently discovered nephew, who pleads innocent and then ten minutes later they are having a trial – as if the DA showed up for a preliminary hearing with all her witnesses ready to try the case.
The story then careens through a complex interconnection of characters, including Jake’s ex-wife (Blinky’s sister), and follows her and Blinky to a corporation devoted to recovering lost gold from the Colorado mountains. When Jake is accused of murdering the sister’s second husband, there is a farce of a trial that includes surprise evidence, absurd courtroom theatrics, and then an impossible ruling by the judge that sets up Jake’s stupid and unbelievable behavior that leads to the big “B movie” climax. It’s cartoonishly fun, but bears no relation to reality.
There is also some sloppy writing and editing, including a glaring missing comma on the first page (we know it’s an editing error because when the author repeats the exact same snippet of narration later in the book, he gets it right the second time). Spelling errors that a simple spell check program would have found, etc. The author is also fond of lengthy digressions that tell colorful stories having nothing to do with the plot. But, since the plot is pretty thin, perhaps the distractions are necessary. It’s not that the digressions are poorly written, it’s just that they could easily have been edited out, leaving the book with the feel of a superficial plot and a lot of filler.
This is a book you’re going to want to finish once you start, so be careful about starting without knowing what you’re getting into.
4.0 out of 5 starsA tale IN two cities. Solid 4 1/2 stars
Reviewed in the United States on February 22, 2012
This is the first Paul Levine novel I have read, and I will state here and now that it will not be my last. I really liked this fast-paced read and found it to be well written (but not error free) with an appealing story line.
The author did a great job of character building throughout the book, and it felt like I actually knew each and every character personally. I particularly liked Jake's new-found nephew, Kip, with his incessant quoting of movie lines. Granny is a real trip and Jake, the ex-Miami-Dolphin-turned-defense-attorney, is very realistically portrayed, not as some super sleuth, but as a very fallible and human character.
This is a light whodunit with a twist; and while it is not an extremely sophisticated piece of writing, it is very satisfying. The author very capably puts you in both Miami and Aspen as different aspects of the story play out. You can feel the sticky heat and smell the salty Miami air or find yourself with a chill even in summer during the Colorado visits. For me, finding the "Silverqueen" in the mine under Aspen Mountain was thrilling in that "She" is a real piece of Aspen history which has long been "lost to the ages". I found myself wishing the fictional account of its re-discovery were actually true.
In any event, this novel was an enjoyable read from beginning to end, and I look forward to reading additional books in the Jake Lassiter series. If you are looking for a book with which to pass the time while on vacation or as you wind down from your busy day, don't overlook this one; it's a winner!
I think this is the fourth Jake Lassiter book I've read. You've got to love Jake, a former Penn State football player with an unmemorable stint with the Dolphins, who went on to become a lawyer to lowlifes. Of course, Dr. Charlie Riggs is featured in this book, and Granny Lassiter is more prominent than usual. In the beginning, Jake wins a victory for his client, Blinky Baroso, while Blinky's co-defendant is convicted. At the end of the trial, Jake heads off to visit Granny, who presents him with a 12 year old nephew, of whose existence Jake was completely unaware, requesting that Jake defend Kip against vandalism charges. With custody of Kip, Jake returns home, soon to find Blinky's co-defendant hanging from the ceiling fan in Jake's house. From suspicion of murder there, off to Colorado with Kip in search of someone he suspects of being the actual murderer, the book keeps up a good pace and the suspense is pretty even. I did figure out where the ending was mostly going in the middle of the book, but getting there was an enjoyable ride - and it went a little further than I had guessed, which is always fun. Good read.
Reviewed in the United States on December 10, 2019
One of my all-time favorite authors, I have read several Paul Levine books and loved every one. Jake is someone I would like to have as a friend, Kip is adorable. Charlie is a wise old owl, and I wish Granny was my Granny. The story is fast moving, well written and laugh-out-loud humorous. Descriptions of scenery are just enough to let you see it in your mind’s eye, but not to the point of boredom. Mr. Levine is a prolific author, and I look forward to reading many more of his books.