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on July 10, 2005
TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD is the first of Miami lawyer-turned-novelist Paul Levine's Jake Lassiter novels, and it acquits itself well as an initial effort.

Levine knows his landscape as well as fellow Floridians John D. MacDonald or Carl Hiaasen, and his characters are at least as well developed and colorful. In TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD we are introduced to former second-string Miami Dolphin-turned-slightly stumbling attorney Jake Lassiter, his irrepressible moonshine sippin' Granny Lassiter, and his best friend, the Latin-spouting retired ME, Dr. Charlie Riggs.

Very much a working lawyer, the self-deprecating Jake is usually quicker with his wisecracks than with his appellate arguments, but he somehow manages to be smarter than the people around him expect him to be, nonetheless.

Lassiter's failing is idealism---he firmly believes people to be better than they are---and he struggles to discover what more cynical, jaded human beings might assume from the outset.

Jake's recent client, Dr. Roger Salisbury has just been cleared of malpractice in the death of multimillionaire Miami developer Philip Corrigan, age sixtyish. No sooner has Salisbury walked out of the civil courtroom than Corrigan's twentysomething widow, Melanie Corrigan (aka ex-exotic dancer Autumn Rain) accuses him of murder.

As it turns out, Dr. Salisbury and the grieving widow have a sloppily kept secret "history." So...Is it murder? Is it conspiracy? Is it an accident...Is it revenge...? And why is Jake wearing one brown loafer and one cordovan?

As light reading goes, this one is a page-turner, though with the low-key feel of a summer dusk at Longboat Key.

Highly recommended fun!
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VINE VOICEon October 29, 2011
Always looking for new books in the genre and the Jake Lassiter series was highly recommended, I am glad I looked at Paul Levine. Being from South Florida I think adds to the fun of the book for me. Jake Lassiter is a go get 'em lawyer and team him with crusty old retired coroner Charlie Riggs and you have quite an interesting team. Good characters and fun dialogue. TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD is a solid first effort and I will read the next book in the series, NIGHT VISION. RECOMMENDED
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VINE VOICEon July 12, 2010
Just as good the second (or is it the third or fourth?) time around as when I first read this book, discovering both Jake Lassiter and Paul Levine at the same time. Breezy writing, and a fun character, surrounded by a more than decent plot. I loved it then, and gobbled up everything by Levine after that, and I'm glad I took the time to buy and read again for a good cause. (Funny story - discovered Levine because I was looking to see whether Levinson [,Robert S.] was on the shelf of a then local bookstore.
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on August 4, 2011
This was my first Jake Lassiter book and I found him to be an engaging character. I especially liked his irreverent approach to his job, as well as life in general. Secondary characters were equally engaging, although Granny Lassiter was a bit much. Most of the plot elements rang true, with the exception of some of the scenes with the dead body. Not being a lawyer, I can't say how true the courtroom scenes were, but I do know criminal law is showmanship, and that is something Lassiter does well.

By far, the best part of a Paul Levine book is his wry sense of humor and wonderful twist of wordage. I found myself wanting to highlight every other wisecrack or sardonic comment that came from Lassiter or Granny, or any of the other great characters in the book.
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on January 27, 2012
I say "sadly" because the author shows some flashes of greatness, with features of levity similar to Elmore Leonard and detail similar to Michael Connelly.

However, for a non-fantasy book to be good it has to be at least somewhat believable and this one is so ridiculous at times on legal grounds, medical grounds, and martial arts grounds, not to mention just common sense, that it is more pitiful than even laughable.

I find it inexplicable that the author does enough research to know what a rongeur is but not an aneurysm, and with many similar examples throughout the book.

It really is a shame that the author didn't refine this into something much better.
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on June 11, 2012
To Speak for the Dead is a fast-paced, suspenseful, legal thriller. This story moves like the wind, even the courtroom scenes. It is one of the few books I couldn't put down. The writing is superb.

The dialogue is great, very believable. The characters are 3-dimensional and whole. I love Jake's character. He's sharp, witty, caring, and tough, but he has a soft side too. The eccentric Charlie Riggs is an endearing, loveable character. He's someone I'd like to know. I didn't care too much for Granny. She's a little much, but her character and the things she says are the only things that put me off even slightly.

I was able to suspend disbelief, even in more extreme situations, simply because the writing was so good and the plot unfolded so quickly. I just kept turning pages. You know, the old "one more chapter" and before you know it the book is read.

I will definitely be reading the rest of this series and highly recommend To Speak for the Dead.
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on September 20, 2010
I strongly recommend the Jake Lassiter series by Paul Levine to all the mystery/legl thriller enthusiasts. Jake Lassiter (the main protagonist) is a former pro-football player turned lawyer with an attitude and a humor to match the sophistication of the award-winning series' storylines.
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on February 2, 2016
Nothing in this book is typical. The characters are wonderfully quirky, something that is unexpected in a legal thriller. The courtroom scenes are fairly accurate, even acknowledging the boring bits, but not making us sit through them. There are unexpected deaths, unexpected sex, and an unexpected ending. My favorite character is Charlie Riggs, the former Medical Examiner, who spouts Latin and knows the most surprising things. My only complaint is the slow pace, despite the many twists and turns. Things start slowly and continue to progress deliberately, until past the halfway mark at which point the action speeds up some. However, it never really gets to the point where you HAVE to know what happens next. I did not lose any sleep needing to finish "just one more chapter." Nevertheless, it was a good story and it had some definite surprises, including the ending, so that was fun.
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on April 29, 2011
I gave this book a second star ONLY because I wanted to find out what happened enough to read to its end. And for Tyrone Hambone Washington.

Otherwise, it was unbelievable, no matter what "Lady Trial Lawyer" claims. No prosecutor would go to trial based on merely the word of a woman who could have planted the alleged murder weapon and who had already sued the alleged murderer for malpractice. If he or she did, no competent lawyer would fail to ask when and where the accuser met the accused, i.e., when she was stripping and giving lap dances in a strip bar. Nor do judges wait until the middle of a trial to rule on whether certain evidence is admissable.

It's also unbelievable that a person who hears the gruesome and painful details of a loved one's death from a "friend" would continue to consider that person a friend.

Maybe that's just me. But the rest of it simply doesn't hold up. Not recommended for the well-informed.
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on August 22, 2015
What a cheap trick to get you to buy more books. Usually series books stand alone. Book was boring and predictable with way to many descriptions. No ending to this book, y o u h ave to purchase next and next........ Rip off
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