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When I was in Law School, one of the less guilt-ridden ways to avoid studying was to read legal thrillers and there were few more enjoyable than the Jake Lassiter series from Paul Levine. Of course, by the end of Law School I hated lawyers so much I could gladly have never read another fiction that included one. But, since he's an old favorite I figured I'd give what promised to be a little lighter fare from Mr. Levine a try and he made it well worth the while.

In the intervening years, since he set Jake aside, Mr. Levine has been in Hollywood working with Stephen J. Cannell and on the hit tv series JAG and has developed an almost cinematic quality to his writing as well as a truly deft hand at comedic dialogue. Though less edgy, this novel reads almost as if Elmore Leonard or Carl Hiassen were trying their hand at updating Adam's Rib. Steve Solomon is a rather low-rent defense attorney, with a sketchy educational pedigree and a father who was forced to resign from the bench. He's bringing up the autistic son of his druggie sister and is surrounded by a colorful cast of sidekicks, including Cadillac Johnson, a former musician who does some investigating for him, and Marvin the Maven, a kibitzing retiree who helps pick jurors and the like. As the novel opens Solomon is in a jail cell next to Victoria Lord, a classy, Yale-educated D.A.. The two have been sent there to cool off after a heated exchange in a courtroom where they're opposing each other. The opposites, of course, attract -- though Ms Lord has a rich fiance -- and soon they're partners in law, defending a wealthy woman accused of murdering her husband, who was found strangled in a sexual bondage position.

As you can see, this one has everything: comedy, romance, drama, sex, violence, snappy chatter, and characters both lovable and detestable and everything in between. Don't let the 550 pages fool you--you'll read so fast you'll be looking for the next in the series in a day or two. One caution though, there's an irresistible impulse to cast the movie in your head and Mr. Levine is such a good dramatist you may find yourself having your imaginary cast speak the lines. It can be bothersome to have the film going in one part of your brain while you process the book in another. But if the worst problem with a book is that it takes on a life of its own, you've tumbled to a good one.


(Reviewed:)

Grade: (A)

  

Websites:

See also:

Law
Thrillers
Paul Levine Links:

    -AUTHOR SITE: Paul-Levine.com
    -BOOK SITE: Solomon vs. Lord (Random House)
    -EXCERPT: Chapter One from Solomon vs. Lord
    -VIDEO INTERVIEW: with Paul Levine (MysteryNet)
    -INTERVIEW: with Paul Levine (Bookreporeter, September 30, 2005)
    -REVIEW: of Solomon vs. Lord by Paul Levine (Jennifer Winegardner, Florida Bar Journal)
    -REVIEW: of Solomon vs. Lord ( Bill Wallo, Syracuse.com)
    -REVIEW: of Solomon vs. Lord (Joe Hartlaub, Bookreporter)
    -REVIEW: of Solomon vs. Lord (Rebecca Barrett, Books on Review)
    -REVIEW: of Solomon vs. Lord (Lesley Dunlap, The Mystery Reader)
    -REVIEW: of Solomon vs. Lord (The Brown Book Loft)
    -REVIEW: of Solomon vs. Lord (Jean Marchand, Rambles)
    -REVIEW: of Solomon vs. Lord (Linnea Dodson, Reviewing the Evidence)
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-REVIEW: of False Dawn by Paul Levine (Newgate Callendar, NY Times Book Review)
    -REVIEW: of Mortal Sin by Paul Levine (Marilyn Stasio, NY Times Book Review)

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