30 March 2009

Book Banter -- Illegal

Title: Illegal
Author: Paul Levine
Length: 367 pages
Genre: legal mystery
Plot Basics: Hot-shot lawyer Jimmy "Royal" Payne is watching his career go down the drain after he was set up on a sting operation to bribe a judge. But when he finds a young Mexican boy, Tino, who was separated from his mother during a border crossing, Payne takes it upon himself to reunite the family, amidst a growing wave of anti-immigration sentiment.
Banter Points: This is definitely a book for the times, given the political debates about immigration. Jimmy Payne was reminiscent of Levine's other lawyer hero, Steve Solomon from the "Solomon v. Lord" series, but had his own set of hang-ups that made the two characters different. Tino was a great character, full of a youthful feistiness, that made him a treat to read about.
Bummer Points: This is definitely a book for the times. Levine's cultural references (to things like the flop of the last Indiana Jones movie) were very specific and likely will lose their punch in a few years. The plot is rather predictable as well and while Jimmy Payne is not Steve Solomon, the characters are quite similar. Overall, it seems like Payne is sort of recycled from Solomon.
Word Nerd Recommendation: It's a good airplane read, but if you are looking for a gripping legal thriller, this isn't it.

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