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Levine vs. Lassiter: An Author Duels With His Hero

Author Paul Levine exchanges barbs with Jake Lassiter, the linebacker-turned-lawyer of his legal thrillers. The occasion is the hardcover publication of LASSITER, the eighth entry in Levine’s prize-winning series of legal thrillers, and the first since 1997.

Paul: You haven’t aged a day in 14 years. How do you do it?

Jake: Being fictional helps. You could use some sun. Don’t you ever get out of the house?

Paul: Careful, or I’ll kill you off in the next book.

Jake: Then what will you do? Get a real job?

Paul: Okay, just tell us about.

Jake: Here’s what the flap says. “Eighteen years ago, Jake Lassiter crossed paths with a teenage runaway who vanished into South Florida’s sex trade. A suspect in her disappearance, Jake re-traces her steps and runs head-on into a conspiracy of Miami’s rich and powerful who would do anything to keep the past as dark as night and the girl’s fate as silent as the grave.” Sheesh. Who writes this hokum, anyway?

Paul: Lee Child says “Cracking wise and butting heads, Lassiter is the lawyer we all want our side, and on the page.”

Jake: What does Child know? His Jack Reacher character is a menace to society.

Paul: You hear what Harlan Coben says about LASSITER? 

Jake: He must owe you some dough from a rigged poker game.

Paul: That’s defamatory.

Jake: So sue me, scribbler

Paul: Anything else you want to say about the new book?

Jake: I don’t buy hardcover books. They cost too much.

Paul: Then try the e-book. It’s only $9.99.

Jake: I can buy a six-pack of Grolsch for that and have enough left over for a couple Slim Jims.

Paul: Okay, then try the Lassiter backlist. Most of the early books are $2.99 on Kindle, Nook and Smashwords. In fact, why don’t you tell us about those stories?

Jake: In TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD, I defend a surgeon accused of malpractice and start to think he’s guilty of murder. In NIGHT VISION, I switch sides and get appointed to prosecute a serial killer stalking women on the Internet. In FALSE DAWN, I don’t believe my client who confesses to killing a man. In MORTAL SIN, I’m sleeping with my client’s wife.

Paul: Sounds unethical.

Jake: I knew her before she met her husband, so I’m relying on the legal principle that I’m grandfathered in.

Paul: I’m not touching that line. 

Jake: You want to hear about the other books?

Paul: Not really. Readers can go to my Website for more details about LASSITER and the entire series. Thanks for taking the time to talk. Can we do this again?

Jake: Not unless you subpoena me.