Paul Levine Brings Back Jake Lassiter

September 28, 2011 at 4:15 pm 1 comment

When I want to relax, I read. So it was a good day when the new novel by Paul Levine ’69, Lassiter, showed up in the office. I mean, who doesn’t like to curl up with a tale of thugs, crooked politicians, porn moguls, strippers, a grieving woman who’s slightly bananas and hell bent on revenge … and a lawyer who’s got some rough edges, but whose heart is always in the right place?

I can’t imagine.

Lawyer Jake Lassiter—a washed-up Miami Dolphins special teams player, by way of Penn State—was the star of Levine’s first book, To Speak for the Dead, and was the centerpiece of five novels to follow. It’s been 14 years since Levine wrote about Jake (although it doesn’t seem that long to me; I’ve read all of the Lassiter books in the past year or so), and it’s worth the wait.

It has a look at Lassiter’s past—and his regrets. All the twists and turns mystery readers love. A courtroom showdown. A strangely sympathetic ex-pornographer. (There’s a sentence fragment I never thought I’d write …) And the usual cast of terrific of supporting characters: Granny, who raised Lassiter and makes a mean plate of fried catfish; Kip, his slightly awkward nephew, who’s pretty clever with a computer; and the city of Miami, which is beautifully, accurately, and entertainingly portrayed. If you don’t want to take my word for it—I didn’t live in Miami that long—click here, and you’ll get the view from a more reliable source.

For bonus fun, note the Penn State references. My favorite: Lassiter gets key information from the jail by gifting his contact with a case of wine from the Eberle Winery. I am hoping, though, that Levine had better sense than his protagonist, and didn’t place a “sentimental bet” on the Nittany Lions against Alabama.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

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1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. R Thomas Berner  |  October 2, 2011 at 5:30 am

    Good recommendation, Lori. I read the book within 24 hours. It’s not only well plotted, it has an ending I did not see coming.

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