Monday, December 17, 2007

To Speak for the Dead -- Paul Levine

To Speak for the Dead was Paul Levine's first novel and the first in the Jake Lassiter series. I don't know how many there have been since this one was published back in 1990, but I can say several with confidence. I enjoyed Levine's novels about the legal team of Solomon and Lord (see here and here), so I figured I'd like the Lassiter books, too.

And I do. I'd guessed from the title of one of the Solomon and Lord books (The Deep Blue Alibi) that Levine might be an admirer of John D. MacDonald. I mean doesn't that sound like the title of a Travis McGee novel to you? Well, almost. Anyway, Lassiter is a little like McGee might have been if he'd had a law degree. "I know you, Jake," Charlie Riggs says. "I know your code. It isn't written anywhere except all over your face. You're one of the last decent men. You're a guy who looks for broken wings to mend." Sounds a bit like the aforementioned McGee to me, and
Charlie Riggs reminds me a lot of Meyer. Too bad the girl who falls for Lassiter doesn't know about what happens to . . . but I shall say no more on that topic.

The deal is that a
man has died after surgery, and his doctor is accused of malpractice. The doctor is Lassiter's client, and Lassiter discovers that the good surgeon has been involved in hanky-panky with the doctor's wife. Heavy-duty hanky-panky, at that. And when Lassiter wins the civil case, the wife accuses the doctor of murder. After that, things get even more complicated.

Levine has an easy-going style, he creates colorful characters, he does the Florida scene very well, and he's funny. I'm sure I'll be reading more books in this series.

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