Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Paul Levine talks BUM RAP

On sale today from Thomas & Mercer:

NFL linebacker-turned-lawyer Jake Lassiter has had it with shifty clients, dirty prosecutors, and a legal system out of whack. It’s enough to make a man want to leave Miami and never look back—until he gets a call from Victoria Lord, the better half of hot local legal team Solomon & Lord. Her partner in life and law has been arrested for murder. What’s worse: the only person who can clear him has fled the city. Now it’s up to Jake and Victoria to track down the witness—a stunning “Bar girl”—before she’s roped in by the feds…or eliminated by the Russian mob.

Jake knows that if he doesn’t get to the witness first, his client’s case is lost. Luckily, he’s got some good advice from his college football coach: "Buckle your chin strap and hit somebody." And sometimes, the only way to win a tough case is to do just that.



Gerald So: I'm glad to see Solomon and Lord back in a new book. What gave you the idea to cross them over with Jake Lassiter?

Paul Levine: First, I didn't know that Michael Connelly was up to the same thing with a new book this Fall featuring Harry Bosch AND Lincoln Lawyer Mickey Haller. I like to think Mike got the idea from me. :)

A reader asked me to describe the differences between Jake Lassiter and Steve Solomon, since both have a blatant disregard for the rules of conduct pertaining to the practice of law. Suffice it to say that there are lots of differences, though Solomon reminds Lassiter of his younger, more reckless self. Throw the beautiful and talented Victoria Lord into the mix, and you have a triangle. (For fans of Justified, think Boyd, Raylan and the lovely Ava). Anyway, the idea leapt into my head: Lassiter and Lord should defend Solomon in a murder trial. It just felt right.

Gerald: I almost used the phrase "team-up" in my first question, but I've read your comments to the effect that Jake Lassiter and Steve Solomon don't like each other. In fact, they hate each other's guts. If I have that right, why do they hate each other?

Paul: Lassiter thinks Solomon is slippery. Remember the first of "Solomon's Laws": When the law doesn't work...work the law.

Solomon thinks Lassiter is a bull in a china shop, and a burnout, too. The setup for Bum Rap is that Lassiter is tired of lying clients, unethical prosecutors, and incompetent judges. He's tired of losing, too, and he's thinking about hanging it up. He has this unrealistic idea about leaving Miami and coaching football at a prep school in Vermont.

The Solomon murder trial gets him juiced. He thinks he has that rare bird...an innocent client. But does he?

If a trial were a football game, Solomon would use trick plays -- the old fumblerooski -- and Lassiter would just punch you in the mouth.

Gerald: But Lassiter sometimes behaves unethically as well, does he not?

Paul: True. Lassiter isn't above the occasional trick play. As Prosecutor Ray Pincher greets him in Bum Rap: "The Jakester! The mouthpiece who took the 'shy' out of shyster and put the 'fog' into pettifogger."

Maybe that's what rankles him about Solomon. He reminds Jake...of Jake!

Gerald: What was it like writing characters from both your series in the same book? Did you find it more difficult, easier and more fun, or was the experience about the same as for your other books?

Paul: I learned more about the characters from having them play off each other. Lassiter is attracted to Victoria Lord but recognizes his blatant conflict of interest. If he loses the case and Solomon goes to prison, Victoria will be available. So Lassiter is in a tough situation. He must do everything he can to win the case, which will almost certainly result in losing any chance with Victoria Lord.

Gerald: In a previous interview, I asked whom you would cast as Steve and Victoria. Who would you cast as Jake? How close is he to Gerald McRaney? :)

Paul: Your McRaney reference alludes to the fact that he played Lassiter in a 1995 television movie on NBC. No, he wasn't right then, and now, well, let's just say I'd cast him as an old coot of a judge. Thirty years ago, I would have cast James Garner -- who I worked with on First Monday on CBS -- or Tom Selleck. These days, I just don't know. If Hollywood calls, I'll have an answer.

Gerald: What's the best book you've read lately?

Paul: The Girl on the Train [by Paula Hawkins] has a compelling narrator. Of course, there are several narrators, and I'm not saying which one I like best.

Gerald: What's next for you?

Paul: I'm working on making the perfect gin and tonic. I find that freezing tonic water as ice cubes helps a lot, especially in sizzling Miami. I think it's also the perfect drink for anyone reading Bum Rap.

Gerald: Thank you very much, Paul.


Photo by Alan Weissman
Paul Levine worked as a newspaper reporter, a law professor and a trial lawyer before becoming a full-time novelist. Obviously, he cannot hold a job. Paul claims that writing fiction comes naturally: he told whoppers for many years in his legal briefs. His books have been translated into 23 languages, none of which he can read. He has won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and has been nominated for an Edgar Allan Poe Award, the Macavity, the International Thriller Writers Award, the Shamus Award, and the James Thurber Humor Prize.

Wednesday, June 03, 2015

Patricia Abbott talks CONCRETE ANGEL

On sale June 9 from Polis books:

Evil doesn’t always live next door. Sometimes it lives right in your own home.

Eve Moran has always wanted “things,” her powers of seduction impossible to resist for those who come in contact with her toxic allure. And over the course of her life, she has proven both inventive and tenacious in getting and keeping whatever such things catch her eye, whether they are jewelry, money, or men. Eve lies, steals, cheats, swindles, and is even willing to take a life, paying little heed to the cost of her actions on those who love her and depend on her. Her daughter, Christine, compelled by love, dependency, and circumstance, is caught up in her mother’s deceptions, unwilling to accept the viciousness that runs in her family’s blood. It’s only when Christine’s three-year old brother, Ryan, begins to prove useful to her mother, and Christine sees a horrific pattern repeating itself, that she finds the courage and means to bring an end to Eve’s tyranny.

An atmospheric, eagerly awaited debut novel,
Concrete Angel centers around a family torn apart by a mother straight out of “Mommie Dearest”, and her resilient young daughter who discovers that survival can mean fighting the closest evil imaginable.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Ace Atkins talks KICKBACK

Thanks to Crimespree's Jon Jordan and Jeremy Lynch, I got to interview Ace Atkins two days after Putnam and Robert B. Parker's estate announced him as the choice to continue the Spenser series.

Last month, Jon asked me to interview Ace about his fourth Spenser novel, Kickback. The interview will run in the July 2015 print issue of Crimespree, but it also posted to the Crimespree site.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Eric Beetner talks RUMRUNNERS

On sale now from 280 Steps:

Meet the McGraws. They're not criminals. They're outlaws. They have made a living by driving anything and everything for the Stanleys, the criminal family who has been employing them for decades. It's ended with Tucker. He's gone straight, much to the disappointment of his father, Webb.

When Webb vanishes after a job, and with him a truck load of drugs, the Stanleys want their drugs back or their money. With the help from his grandfather, Calvin-the original lead foot-Tucker is about to learn a whole lot about the family business in a crash course that might just get him killed.


Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Josh K. Stevens talks SCRATCH THE SURFACE

On sale now from 280 Steps:

The first book in an action-packed pulp thriller trilogy arriving back-to-back in 2015, about former mafia collector Deuce Walsh.

Deuce Walsh is a former gangster trying to keep his past hidden in the middle-of-nowhere Midwest. Seven years ago, his colleagues—The Chianti Brothers—made a power play and left him for dead. He survived, but had to leave everything behind and start from scratch with a new identity.

But when his brother-in-law Colm, a degenerate gambler and wannabe wiseguy, gets himself into trouble, Deuce is brought back into the life of crime and finds himself helping Colm pay off a debt to the very people who tried to have him killed in the first place.

The second book in the series, Delving Deeper, is out July 28.


Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Christopher Irvin talks BURN CARDS

Mirna Fowler believes she has been cheated in life, growing up in a broken home alone with a drunken and gambling-addicted father. Now she works at a small hair salon in Reno, doing her best to survive while she saves money for school. Hoping to get a degree that will take her places.

But in the wake of her father's death, Mirna inherits his extravagant debt, an amount of money she can never repay. As her fractured world begins to crumble, the search for the truth sets her on a path where life hangs on her every move.



Monday, April 06, 2015

James O. Born talks SCENT OF MURDER

Career law enforcement officer James O. Born has written multiple thriller series that sizzle with authenticity (the Bill Tasker series, the Alex Duarte series, as James O'Neal the futuristic police procedurals The Human Disguise and The Double Human, with Lou Dobbs Border War). His next novel, out tomorrow, focuses on the work of police K-9 units: