Friday, July 03, 2015

Free and Easy with Paul Levine

It’s been a whole two months since our last book-giveaway competition, and we’re feeling a tad bad about that, so let’s cut right to the chase here: publisher Thomas & Mercer has agreed to send three free copies of Paul Levine’s brand-new comic legal thriller, Bum Rap, to deserving Rap Sheet readers. At the bottom of this post, we’ll explain the rules for entering our drawing.

First, though, here’s how Publishers Weekly describes Bum Rap’s basic plot:
Levine successfully combines series heroes Jake Lassiter (State vs. Lassiter) and Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord (Solomon vs. Lord) in a single convoluted case that showcases the three Miami, Fla., attorneys’ very different styles and strengths. Often a loose cannon in the courtroom, Steve is found alone with the body of bar owner Nicolai Gorev in Gorev’s office at Club Anastasia. Worse, he’s holding the gun used to kill Gorev. The self-described “bar girl” he accompanied there, Nadia Delova, is long gone. Steve thinks Victoria is nuts to hire former NFL linebacker Jake (“a slab of meat”) to defend him, and he and Lassiter are at odds from the start. But while Steve languishes in jail, Victoria and Jake have competition from assistant U.S. attorney Deborah Scolino and a mysterious character called Benny the Jeweler.
Men Reading Books fleshes out this tale’s romantic nuances:
Solomon was hired by Nadia, a Russian bar girl working at a night club, to retrieve her passport from the club’s owner, Nicolai Gorev. Gorev had helped Nadia immigrate to the United States in return for her work scamming customers at the club, and was holding her passport as collateral. Nadia had fallen in love with a customer and wanted her passport back so she could move on. But at the meeting in Gorev’s office, the club owner ends up dead of a gunshot wound from Nadia’s gun. Nadia steals a sack of diamonds from the wall safe and slips out the back door, and Solomon is caught holding the gun when the police arrive. Solomon tells the police that Nadia pulled the trigger, but she has disappeared. Now it’s up to Lassiter to convince a jury of Solomon’s innocence or find Nadia and deal with her unpredictable testimony.

Meanwhile, we learn that the Gorev and his associate, Benjamin Coben (aka Benny the Jeweler), are being investigated by the Feds for diamond smuggling. Solomon’s trial has already begun when they find Nadia living with her newfound love in Pennsylvania. She cuts a deal with the Feds to testify against Benny the Jeweler in exchange for a free pass for her involvement in Gorev’s death. To complicate matters further, Lassiter develops feelings for Lord. So here he is, defending a client he’s not sure is innocent, while daydreaming about the guy’s girlfriend. He finds himself questioning his ethics in both his personal and professional lives.
Finally, an Amazon reader-reviewer notes that
The author has written some 19 novels, a few of them involving Lassiter, so he knows how to pace an exciting crime novel. Snappy dialog, great local color of steamy Florida in the summer, with the usual rapacious, unethical Federal and local prosecutors, a bit of flirty sex, and a good fight in a sleazy bar. Hey, what more could a reader want? Oh, it ain’t Bleak House, but it is fun.
And a free copy of Bum Rap could soon be yours! All you have to do is e-mail your name and postal address to Just be sure to put “Bum Rap Contest” in the subject line. Entries will be accepted between now and midnight next Friday, July 10. Three winners will be chosen completely at random, and their names listed on this page the following day.

Sorry, but at the publisher’s request, this giveaway contest is open only residents of the United States.

If you’re interested in the offer, it’s probably best to hop on it right away. This being the start of a holiday weekend, you can bet that many other Rap Sheet readers will use some of their free time to send in contest entries. Missing out on what could be your completely free/no strings attached copy of Bum Rap would be, well, a bummer.

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