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Bum Rap


Bum Rap

As has been said elsewhere, it had to happen: the meeting, intersection, cross-pollination --- whatever you want to call it --- of two excellent series by Paul Levine. The first is the long-running Jake Lassiter canon, and the other is the more recently introduced, but no less entertaining, books featuring attorneys Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, partners inside and outside the courtroom. BUM RAP fits nicely into both series, an installment that will satisfy fans previously familiar with any or all of the protagonists while serving as an addictive introduction for newcomers.

"Levine has always been a master of balancing the comedic with the thrilling, and BUM RAP proudly displays all of his skills and talents as he puts a very interesting twist on the classic 'locked room' mystery theme."

Levine has always been a master of balancing the comedic with the thrilling, and BUM RAP proudly displays all of his skills and talents as he puts a very interesting twist on the classic “locked room” mystery theme. In this case, it is Steve Solomon who is found in the locked room, with the body of a Russian mobster that is quickly assuming room temperature. Solomon spins an interesting tale to the police, insisting, even on the 911 call, that he didn’t do it. However, his fingerprints are on the murder weapon, and he bears gunshot residue on his person. There is a witness, who happens to be his client --- a very attractive one --- but she has flown the coop to parts unknown, and she actually could get him deeper into trouble than out of it. Lord hires the best defense attorney she can think of: Lassiter.

Naturally, Lassiter and Solomon mix like oil and water, because (and this will come as no surprise to fans of both series) they are so much alike. These similarities are not lost upon Lord, who is oddly attracted to Lassiter in spite of herself and struggles mightily to resist temptation. Lassiter himself feels the tug of emotional magnetism toward Lord, and what happens is part of the charm of BUM RAP. Lest one feels that this is a romance novel, please be advised that the majority of the book consists of Lassiter and Lord attempting to determine what really happened in that locked room. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. Lord wants to know; Lassiter would prefer not to, given that he has to work with the statement that Solomon gave to the police. He then has to slip his way through a whole bunch of legal and ethical problems, not the least of which concerns the possibility that if Solomon goes to jail, Lassiter would have a clear shot at Lord.

It takes a while for the case to get into court, but by the final fifth of the book, we get to the “courtroom” part of this courtroom thriller, and it’s every bit as good as Levine fans have come to expect. There is plenty of repartee, light and otherwise, to go around. And if you haven’t heard a good lawyer or Miami joke lately, there are lots of them, new and old, to be found in these pages, as well as the possibility of significant change in both series.

Levine gives us all of the above in a little over 300 pages without making things feel crowded and without any drag. BUM RAP is one of those rarities: a thriller that is fun but still ever-so-gently makes you care about the characters. Welcome back, Mr. Levine, and thanks for bringing such an excellent book with you.

Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub on July 2, 2015

Bum Rap
by Paul Levine

  • Publication Date: July 1, 2015
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 334 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
  • ISBN-10: 1477829865
  • ISBN-13: 9781477829868