Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Guest Review: Bum Deal

Summary: They don’t call us sharks for our ability to swim.

Second-string linebacker turned disillusioned defense attorney Jake Lassiter finally switches teams. Appointed special prosecutor in a high-profile murder case, he vows to take down a prominent surgeon accused of killing his wife. There’s just one problem…or maybe three: no evidence, no witness, and no body.

But Lassiter’s used to fighting impossible battles on the gridiron and in court. After all, he’s not totally burned-out—just a little scorched.

Standing in Lassiter’s way are the defense lawyers: slick-talking Steve Solomon and blueblood Victoria Lord, who have their own complicated history with the defendant. Not to mention the specter of CTE, the lethal brain disease Lassiter may have contracted banging heads in the NFL. Drained of his mental edge just when he needs it most, Lassiter must do whatever it takes to win this case—even if it costs him his life. Because law is a contact sport, and you don’t get trophies for trying. -- Thomas and Mercer

I know my dad really enjoys the Jack Lassiter series by Paul Levine because he talked about these books over dinner last week. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that the main character is an ex-Penn State linebacker! He recently read the 13th book in the series BUM DEAL -- here are his thoughts:

BUM DEAL is the 13th and maybe final book in the series featuring Defense Attorney Jack Lassiter as the main character. Lassiter is an ex-Penn State/ Miami Dolphin linebacker who earned a law degree in night school after his playing days and suffers from early symptoms of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative brain disease associated with severe head trauma. Lassiter, now 50 years old, is a tenacious defender of his clients and often crosses the line between proper and outrageous behavior in the courtroom.

In BUM DEAL, Lassiter reluctantly switches sides and becomes a special prosecutor for the District Attorney in a high profile murder case against Clark Calvert, a famous orthopedic surgeon accused of killing his missing wife. The problems Lassiter must overcome in his case against Calvert are that there is no body, no evidence and no witnesses. To compound Lassiter’s challenges, Calvert has hired his two best friends, Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, as his defense team. Lassiter has been a mentor to these two and they’re well-versed in his courtroom tactics.

Author Paul Levine does a fantastic job of bringing this story to life. His characters are well developed and the interplay among characters is very well done. Levine’s prior experience as a sports writer at Penn State, allows him to add real-life detail to Lassiter’s playing days at Penn State and in the NFL. His knowledge of CTE is evident in the ways he describes Lassiter’s behavior as it relates to memory loss, irritability and confusion. Even though Lassiter’s best friends are his adversaries in this case, there is still plenty of witty remarks among the three. Levine adds a complexity to the storyline as he reveals a prior history between Valerie Lord and Calvert which could complicate her defense tactics and roil the relationship with fiancée and partner Steve Solomon. The case is further complicated when the District Attorney brings a political element into the proceedings when his biggest donor for his campaign for higher office happens to be the father of the missing wife. The courtroom scenes are very interesting and when Lassiter has his back against the wall, things get really bizarre.

Even though this is the 13th story in the Jack Lassiter series, there is no need to read any of the prior novels to follow the storyline and characters. BUM DEAL is a fast-paced easy-to-read novel that will keep your attention up to the end. Levine seems to lead the reader to draw certain conclusions and then shakes things up with a surprising conclusion. Anyone interested in the legal thriller genre will really enjoy BUM DEAL.

Thanks to Booking Pap Pap for his review and thanks to Saichek Publicity for providing a review copy of this novel.

1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

Oh yeah, I'm sure the PSU connection makes it more entertaining. It sounds like a series I need to try.