FALSE DAWN by Paul Levine


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 Beefcake Miami lawyer Jake Lassiter (To Speak for the Dead, Night Vision) is determined to save Francisco Crespo, his old landlady's son, from a murder charge Francisco wants to plead guilty to--little realizing he's buying into a fantastically twisted plot to steal billions worth of Russian-owned art. It isn't long before Jake starts to suspect the man who's paying his bill--Francisco's wealthy employer, import king Matsuo Yagamata-- of involvement in the murder of Soviet ÇmigrÇ Vladimir Smorodinsky. Ignoring the mitigating depositions of two witnesses his go-getting new investigator, Lourdes Soto, has dug up, he concentrates instead on a few suspiciously pricey artworks--the FabergÇ egg Yagamata has been proudly displaying, a Matisse canvas Lourdes's rabid anti-Castro father Severo has hanging on his wall--that are supposed to be in the Hermitage. But just as Francisco is about to come clean with Jake about what appears to be a grandly scaled robbery, he's killed by someone who leaves Jake holding the door for the local police and treacherous, protean CIA agent Robert T. Foley. Foley's entrance pushes Levine way over the top. Telling Jake first that the CIA has been trying to round up the artworks to return them to Russia, then that the US helped party regulars steal them in order to set them up for Gorbachev to oust, he tries to frame Jake for Francisco's murder, then blackmail him into conspiring with the CIA to return the paintings, then trick him into releasing them to Foley as a free-lance thief, and finally negotiate a finder's fee as Foley's lawyer so that Yeltsin's Russia can pay to recover them. He doesn't realize--and neither does Jake, who's two steps behind everybody this time--that the Soto family have plenty of surprises up their own sleeves. Entertainingly audacious, though eventually the incessant double- crossing gets tiring. Jake's law degree turns out to be a lot less useful than his demi-season with the Dolphins.

Pub Date: April 15th, 1993
ISBN: 0-553-08995-1
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Bantam
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993


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