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Why Does A Hearse Horse Snicker Hauling A Lawyer Away?
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!