Paul Levine,
Deep Blue Alibi
(Bantam, 2006)

The battling trial lawyers of Solomon vs. Lord are at it again in Deep Blue Alibi, the second book about Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord. My verdict, on the first book, included the word "raucous," not a word to be thrown about lightly. Now I add "racy" and, sometimes, "ribald." To even things out, I'll add "entertaining" and "inventive."

Deep Blue Alibi is a witty novel about murder and money in the Florida Keys. The action never stops. For openers, a splendid yacht hits the beach, narrowly missing Steve and Victoria. One man is dead with a spear in his chest and another is wounded. The third man is Hal Griffin, the owner of the yacht and an old friend of the Lord family. A murder scene is not what Steve and Victoria expected.

Grif knows he needs a lawyer at once, and two would be better if they were Solomon & Lord, Partners. Victoria is suddenly territorial. This is her case, she thinks, and she drives a hard bargain with Steve.

Key West makes a vivid backdrop for this book. The dialogue, razor-keen, hums along like a gyroscope on the rim of a glass. Then there are the characters, supposedly minor, that appear and, in a trice, are as big as life. Characters are Levine's forte. He shows a kind of familial affection for them that the reader shares. It just may be that these creations are responsible for this bit of news about Solomon and Lord: CBS has optioned the series and Paul Levine is currently co-writing the script.

While you are waiting for the pilot, look for the Jake Lassiter series, seven books about another lawyer as freewheeling as Solomon. The first one is To Speak for the Dead, available in 23 languages.

by Jean Marchand
13 May 2006

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