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Review: Miami lawyer's case goes to his head in 'Bum Luck'


‘Bum Luck’ by Paul Levine. Thomas & Mercer, 332 pages, $15.95

Lawyers are supposed to want to win, and heaven knows that Miami attorney Jake Lassiter loves to win. But the former Miami Dolphins linebacker who hung up his cleats for the courtroom cares more about what is right and justice than winning.

“Truth be told, the relationship of ‘law’ to ‘justice’ is roughly that of roadkill possum to filet mignon,” muses Jake. Which is why Jake regrets getting his client, Miami Dolphins' running back Thunder Thurston, cleared of murdering his wife, Eva. Jake didn’t think he would win, nor did he want to, as he firmly believes his client is guilty and should go to prison.

Jake just can’t reconcile the jury’s not guilty verdict, but should a defense attorney really decided to mete out his own justice by killing his client? “If I didn’t leave my business card at the murder scene, maybe I could get away with it,” Jake thinks.

At first his friends and fellow Miami lawyers Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord believe their friend is kidding. But as Jake’s obsession seems to grow, so does their concern. They wonder if Jake could be suffering a delayed reaction from those concussions he received when he was playing football. Chronic traumatic encephalopathy has become a major issue among athletes who have had concussions from playing sports.

Paul Levine continues his trademark brisk pacing with timely storytelling and well-placed humor that gathers extra strength from its Miami setting in his 12th outing with Jake. “Bum Luck” is elevated further by teaming Jake with Steve and Victoria, the lead characters in four other novels by Levine. The trio make an unstoppable team — concerned about the law but even more about people.

Meet the author

Paul Levine will discuss “Bum Luck” at 8 p.m. March 17 at Books & Books, 265 Aragon Ave., Coral Gables, 305-442-4408, and at 6 p.m. March 18 at Murder on the Beach, 273 Pineapple Grove Way, Delray Beach, 561-279-7790.

Oline H. Cogdill can be reached at

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