Paul Levine,
Kill All the Lawyers
(Bantam, 2006)

First, there was Solomon vs. Lord, then The Deep Blue Alibi. Now, we have Kill All the Lawyers. Paul Levine is on a roll with this witty and brash new series set in Miami and its environs: in the courthouse, in the Keys and other places Floridian. The main characters, two trial lawyers, Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, have an almost new partnership. And in Kill, Steve faces a disgruntled ex-client bent on revenge. In a nutshell, this is the worst problem Steve has ever faced.

Why do I enjoy these books so much? Levine's skill in character-creating is now well-established. Steve, the bright, articulate male member of Solomon & Lord, partners, is a perfect foil for Victoria, even when she disagrees with him. Steve's father, her mother, his live-in nephew, the courthouse regulars -- all of these quirky, fun characters are so well-drawn, I don't need pictures or a music score. I'd know them on the street.

Then there is Florida, the sleeping giant in the stories, with the importance of a major character. It isn't the balmy weather so much, it's the flora and fauna Levine includes. He describes rooms, buildings, roads and streets, and people with a cataloguer's eye and with the same intensity. I thrive on good descriptions and Levine's are vivid.

I like the translations of Yiddish expressions by Steve's father and the mental picture of him wearing a golfer's hat over his yarmulke to ward off the sun. I want to read more about this man.

I also like the moral dilemmas that crop up. Of special importance is Steve's adventure face-to-face with the ex-client. In one of the last scenes, he must decide a course of action in seconds. His decision is pivotal and will, undoubtedly, influence the direction his life takes forever. Exercises in judgment, like this, add depth to Steve's character.

I tried hard not to reveal the plot. I decided that, if I did, it would be like "outing" a special agent -- or like knitting a sweater -- one thread is snipped and the whole garment unravels into a heap of yarn.

This series is a must-read for lovers of action, good dialogue and sparkling characters. The writing reminds me of Robert B. Parker and Janet Evanovich, with a dash of Anne Tyler thrown in. These writers are good company to be in for an author.

review by
Jean Marchand

30 June 2007

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