Thursday, September 29, 2011

Review: Lassiter by Paul Levine

Author: Paul Levine
Publication: Bantam (September 13, 2011)

Description: Eighteen years ago, Jake Lassiter crossed paths with a teenage runaway who disappeared into South Florida’s sex trade. Now he retraces 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 silent as the grave. In this tale of redemption and revenge, Edgar-nominated author Paul Levine delivers his most powerful thriller yet.

Jake Lassiter, second-string linebacker turned low-rent lawyer, is cynical about the law, but if you hire him, he’ll take a punch for you . . . and maybe a swing at the prosecutor, too.

Amy Larkin—beautiful, angry, and mysterious—accuses Lassiter of involvement in the disappearance of her sister eighteen years earlier. What does Lassiter know about Krista Larkin, the runaway teen turned porn actress? More than he’s saying.

Seeking to atone for his own past, Lassiter follows the cold trail of the missing Krista and butts head with the powerful men who also knew her: a former porn king turned philanthropist, a slick Cuban-born prosecutor who’d love to be governor, and an aging mobster who once worked for the infamous Meyer Lansky.

The evidence leads to a long-ago night of kinky sex, designer drugs—and possible murder. But before Lassiter can nail the truth, a gun goes off, a suspect falls dead, and Amy is charged with murder.

The state has an eyewitness and a slam-dunk case. Lassiter has a client he doesn’t trust and a case he can’t win. Did Amy shoot the man who killed her sister? Or the wrong man? And what really happened to Krista? The answers, buried under years of deceit and corruption, are revealed in an explosive courtroom finale proving that rough justice is better than no justice at all.

My Thoughts: If you are looking for a novel with no heroes, this is the story for you. Lassiter is a guy who is trying to get by. He isn't heroic and he's willing to do any kind of trick to get his (sometimes guilty) clients off. He's not the world's best lawyer. In fact at one point he says that he was in the top half of the bottom third of his class in law school. But he is willing to go to the line for his clients.

When Amy Larkin shows up in his office with an old photo searching for her missing sister, it throws Lassiter back into a time he would rather forget. He was a typical testosterone and alcohol fueled pro-football player who mostly rode the bench when he met Krista Larkin. They had a brief encounter and then went their separate ways. When Amy accuses him of being the last person who saw Krista alive, Lassiter is drawn into the case of trying to find out what happened to Krista.

The case leads him into the porn industry in South Florida with the assorted sleazebags and mobsters as he tries to find Krista and, maybe, ease the conscience that is nagging at him and telling him he didn't do what he could have done to help her. 

This was an entertaining mystery with well-developed characters. I liked how the twists and turns played out on the way to something like justice at the conclusion. Fans of hard-boiled mysteries with ambiguous characters will really enjoy this one. 

Favorite Quote:
My dog, Csonka, greeted me inside with a slobbery hello. A couple of years ago, he showed up, crapped on my front step, and challenged me to do something about it. He's a mix of bulldog and something else, maybe donkey, and has the personality of a New York cabdriver. If you don't get out of the way, he'll barge into you. And yeah, I named him after Larry Csonka, the Dolphins' fullback who used his forearm the way Paul Bunyan used an axe.
I received this book from the author and the publisher in exchange for an honest review. You can get your copy here. 

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