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Bum Luck (Jake Lassiter Legal Thrillers) Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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"Paul Levine continues his trademark brisk pacing with timely storytelling and well-placed humor... 'Bum Luck' is elevated further by teaming Jake with Steve and Victoria. The trio make an unstoppable team - concerned about the law, but even more about people." - South Florida Sun-Sentinel
"A gripping and often quite an amusing thriller with a surprising climax, all of which is built around an intriguing cast of characters as it achieves an almost flawless rhythm." - BookPleasures.com
"Immensely entertaining. Paul Levine is among the best authors of legal thrillers, right up there with Grisham and Turow." - Lee Goldberg, #1 New York Times bestselling author
"Truly a humorous, smart and enjoyable fast-paced read. - MysterySequels.com
From the Author
THE SOLOMON vs. LORD SERIES OF LEGAL THRILLERS
LASSITER, SOLOMON & LORD LEGAL THRILLERS
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After publishing the forgettable _9 Scorpions_ in 1998, Levine spent the next several years in LA doing TV writing, and he published four Solomon vs. Lord novels between 2005-2007. Entertaining, but a bit lightweight, not as gonzo as the Lassiter books. Between 2009-2014, he published four stand alone books, really good stuff---but not LASSITER.
You can see where I'm going here. Lassiter is the single strongest and best-developed character Levine ever created. And Levine knew that Lassiter had to return. In 2011, our hero was resurrected in _Lassiter_, and there have been four more Lassiter books since then. All of them were right in the groove of the original novels, although we see that Jake is getting older and wiser.
_Bum Luck_ is as every bit good as any other Lassiter book, and it's gratifying to see Jake aging and mellowing and ruminating about his ethics and his priorities. That's what people do when they get to be 50 years old. Here, Jake is having trouble with his conscience after years of defending guilty scumbags--and winning those cases a good percentage of the time.
The refusal of the NFL to acknowledge the effects of concussions among players is a theme here. In fact, Jake himself may have brain damage from his years as a football player. It's an intriguing topic, and it's a socially responsible statement from Levine.
I hope Levine still has a couple more Lassiter novels in him.
If you're uninitiated, start with _To Speak for the Dead_, 1990, and read your way through one of the best Florida crime series ever written.
This book is mostly about Lassiter; Solomon and Lord play somewhat diminished roles. This is unfortunate, I think, because I have always preferred the Solomon/Lord books; they are much lighter and frothier than the Lassiter books, which, at least as of late, seem to involve Lassiter ruminating endlessly (and sometimes tediously) about justice and the law.
Another unfortunate feature of this book is that Lassiter behaves very inappropriately—downright unethically—in several places. The book has several (related) subplots: Lassiter (a) has just gotten an acquittal of a client he believes to be guilty, (b) is under indictment for bribing a juror in this case, (c) is representing an insurance company in a lawsuit (brought by Solomon and Lord) alleging bad-faith refusal to pay a claim based on the suicide of the insured, and (d) is experiencing health problems, quite likely related to all those concussions he got playing football over the years. His behavior in the insurance case is particularly odious; admittedly, nobody likes insurance companies and it would seem just to pay the claim, but the fact remains that the company has a very strong argument that it did not act in bad faith and Lassiter’s basically throwing his own client under a bus to salvage his ideas of what is or is not justice is clearly unethical and ill-serves the judicial system, which presupposes intelligent advocacy on both sides and obviously does not function well if a litigant’s own attorney is actively trying to sabotage his case. Not only does Lassiter give his opponents a potentially winning legal argument, but his behavior during a deposition is laughable and essentially leaves his client unrepresented.
Lassiter also engages in far more unethical conduct in this book, but to avoid spoilers I won’t describe these.
In addition to conduct that clearly renders Lassiter unfit to practice law, the ultimate resolution of all these subplots is far too tidy and convenient for my taste as well.
What saves the book is the author’s readable writing style, and his obvious familiarity with both the law and the locale of the book. Levine does know how to tell a story, and even though the book is seriously flawed I was interested enough in what was happening to continue to turn the pages. Conclusion: a decent enough time-killer, but Levine is capable of doing better and has in fact done so previously.
Jake Lassiter, criminal defence lawyer and ex linebacker for the Miami Dolphins, feels like killing his client after he won the case. He was not expecting to win as the evidence seemed unquestionable, but Thunder Thurston, high profile football star, has been found not guilty of murdering his wife. Jake is angry at himself, for doing his job too well, and Thunder. He’s certain Thunder is guilty and is completely disillusioned about the justice system, fantasising about taking matters into his own hands. To add to his problems Jake learns the District Attorney is attempting to charge him with jury tampering and bribing a witness.
Running alongside this story line is another case Jake is defending, about a mother of two who commits suicide. His friends, law partners Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, are prosecuting. The insurance company claims they are not liable but certain facts come to light which cast doubt on their assertions. Those facts could also relate to Jake and the recent health issues which are a concern to his friends and family. This is another case where Jake knows his client is in the wrong but he is duty bound to represent them to the best of his ability, even if it does go against his personal code of justice.
I can believe this is basically true to life, in that it emphasises the imperfections of the justice system. Jake Lassiter has re-established his ethical code. It’s not all about winning cases anymore as it is for most lawyers, he wants just and fair treatment meted out. An entertaining, well written and thought provoking legal thriller, with distinctive characters and multiple threads woven together to create a very satisfying conclusion.
The story has a serious theme running through, regarding CTE or chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a disease which affects people who have suffered repeated and/or severe blows to the head.
Jake is a great character, unconventional, eminently likeable and quirky. I enjoyed the story line very much, it’s sharp, fun and witty, and enhanced by Luke Daniels’ performance, which always guarantees a great listen. Although this is part of a series there’s enough back story to make it a stand alone.