The answer, of course, is all of the above in this lightweight but ebulliently seamless melding of Levine’s two legal-eagles...

BUM RAP

Levine brings ex-Dolphin Jake Lassiter, Esq., (State vs. Lassiter, 2013, etc.) together with his other series regulars Solomon and Lord, of the Florida bar (Habeas Porpoise, 2014, etc.), under the most trying circumstances possible when Lord asks Lassiter to defend Solomon on a murder charge.

The outlook isn’t brilliant for his client. Everyone agrees that Bar girl Nadia Delova waltzed into Steve Solomon’s office and offered him $5,000 to accompany her to the office of Club Anastasia owner Nicolai Gorev, the boss she said was holding her passport and some money he owed her. Gorev, suspecting that one of his callers was wearing a wire, pulled a gun on them and demanded that they strip. While his eye was on Steve, Nadia pulled a gun from her own purse. What happened next is a little unclear, but once the dust settled, Steve was alone in a locked room with Gorev’s corpse waiting for the Miami cops to come and Mirandize him. Nadia, naturally, has vanished, and attempts to find her only provoke more violent death. Victoria Lord, Steve’s partner and girlfriend, may bicker with him nonstop, but she can’t believe he’s a killer, so she reaches out to Jake, who can believe anything. With such a limited range of possibilities, you might think the prospects for surprise are limited, too: either Nadia killed Gorev or Steve did. But Levine focuses instead on the different legal strategies each turn of events offers Jake. Will he put the blame for everything on the absent Nadia? Once she turns up and gets immunity for her testimony against Steve, will he argue that the gun went off accidentally? Will he do his best to impeach the testimony of the one and only witness against his client? Or will he do something else entirely?

The answer, of course, is all of the above in this lightweight but ebulliently seamless melding of Levine’s two legal-eagles series.

Pub Date: July 1, 2015

ISBN: 978-1-4778-7986-3

Page Count: 350

Publisher: Thomas & Mercer

Review Posted Online: April 16, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2015

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TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD

A first novel, this is also a first person account of Scout's (Jean Louise) recall of the years that led to the ending of a mystery, the breaking of her brother Jem's elbow, the death of her father's enemy — and the close of childhood years. A widower, Atticus raises his children with legal dispassion and paternal intelligence, and is ably abetted by Calpurnia, the colored cook, while the Alabama town of Maycomb, in the 1930's, remains aloof to their divergence from its tribal patterns. Scout and Jem, with their summer-time companion, Dill, find their paths free from interference — but not from dangers; their curiosity about the imprisoned Boo, whose miserable past is incorporated in their play, results in a tentative friendliness; their fears of Atticus' lack of distinction is dissipated when he shoots a mad dog; his defense of a Negro accused of raping a white girl, Mayella Ewell, is followed with avid interest and turns the rabble whites against him. Scout is the means of averting an attack on Atticus but when he loses the case it is Boo who saves Jem and Scout by killing Mayella's father when he attempts to murder them. The shadows of a beginning for black-white understanding, the persistent fight that Scout carries on against school, Jem's emergence into adulthood, Calpurnia's quiet power, and all the incidents touching on the children's "growing outward" have an attractive starchiness that keeps this southern picture pert and provocative. There is much advance interest in this book; it has been selected by the Literary Guild and Reader's Digest; it should win many friends.

Pub Date: July 11, 1960

ISBN: 0060935464

Page Count: 323

Publisher: Lippincott

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1960

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Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

BAREFOOT

Privileged 30-somethings hide from their woes in Nantucket.

Hilderbrand’s saga follows the lives of Melanie, Brenda and Vicki. Vicki, alpha mom and perfect wife, is battling late-stage lung cancer and, in an uncharacteristically flaky moment, opts for chemotherapy at the beach. Vicki shares ownership of a tiny Nantucket cottage with her younger sister Brenda. Brenda, a literature professor, tags along for the summer, partly out of familial duty, partly because she’s fleeing the fallout from her illicit affair with a student. As for Melanie, she gets a last minute invite from Vicki, after Melanie confides that Melanie’s husband is having an affair. Between Melanie and Brenda, Vicki feels her two young boys should have adequate supervision, but a disastrous first day on the island forces the trio to source some outside help. Enter Josh, the adorable and affable local who is hired to tend to the boys. On break from college, Josh learns about the pitfalls of mature love as he falls for the beauties in the snug abode. Josh likes beer, analysis-free relationships and hot older women. In a word, he’s believable. In addition to a healthy dose of testosterone, the novel is balanced by powerful descriptions of Vicki’s bond with her two boys. Emotions run high as she prepares for death.

Nothing original, but in Hilderbrand’s hands it’s easy to get lost in the story.

Pub Date: July 2, 2007

ISBN: 978-0-316-01858-6

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15, 2007

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