Monday, June 18, 2018

LEVINE GRILLS LASSITER by Paul Levine & Jake Lassiter

By Paul Levine and Jake Lassiter 

Jake Lassiter, the linebacker-turned-lawyer, first appeared in Paul Levine’s To Speak for the Dead in 1990. Nearly three decades later, Lassiter is still banging heads in the courtroom in the just released Bum Deal. Why does he switch teams and decide to prosecute a murder case, and why is this the last book of the series? Does Lassiter have C.T.E., the fatal brain disease afflicting former football players? Author and Hero trade punches about what it all means.

Paul: Sit down, Jake, and take a load off.

Jake: You busting my chops about my weight, noodle neck? 

Paul: What are you these days, two-fifty, two-fifty-five?

Jake: You’re the one who writes the descriptions, scribbler. I remember in Mortal Sin, you said I looked like a young Harrison Ford. 

Paul: These days, it’s more like an old Ford pickup. I shouldn’t have fed you so many burgers, poured you so many beers.

Jake: I’m as health conscious as the next guy, as long as the next guy is sitting on a bar stool. 

Paul: Maybe if you’d evolved into a modern man, you’d have a longer run.

Jake: Sorry that you can’t find my mug on Instagram. And that I don’t have a life coach, an aroma therapist, or a manicurist. And I sure as hell don’t do Pilates. 

Paul: Forget all that. Let’s talk about Bum Deal.

Jake: I’ve seen the promos. “Jake Lassiter: The Final Chapter?” What’s with that malarkey? 

Paul: You’re outdated and obsolete. And the word “malarkey” went out with spats and knickers.

Jake: Yeah, well you’re a nincompoop. What about the book? 

Paul: Bum Deal is the last of the series. That’s all.

Jake: That’s all! I got no life outside those pages. 

Paul: Time to hang up the briefcase, just like you hung up your cleats.

Jake: I didn’t retire. The Dolphins cut me, and I went to night law school. 

Paul: Same deal here. You’ve lost a step in the courtroom. Face it, you’re getting along in years.

Jake: Look who’s talking! When are you moving into the Old Writers’ Home? 

Paul: Deal with it, Jake. You’ve got brain damage from all those concussions playing football. You lose your train of thought. You’re more ornery than usual.

Jake: Look who’s talking, or did I already say that? 

Paul: In Bum Deal, you switch sides and prosecute.

Jake: The hell you say! I’d never do that. 

Paul: See, the ink is barely dry, and you’ve already forgotten. You’re appointed to prosecute a surgeon accused of killing his wife. Only one problem, or maybe three. No witness, no evidence, and no body.

Jake: That is a bum deal! You’re setting me up to lose. 

Paul: Aren’t you the guy who says, “If your cause is just, no case is impossible.”

Jake: That’s your wordsmithery. I just say the lines you feed me. 

Paul: Oh, one more thing. Your pals Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord defend the case.

Jake: Who? 

Paul: See what I mean about your thought processes.

Jake: I’m just messing with you, word boy. But, please not Solomon and Lord. I taught those two kids all my tricks. 

Paul: Sorry, Jake. You’ll just have to dig deep and try something new. How about sticking to the rules, standing by the facts, and living with the outcome?

Jake: Why do writers always say things in series of three? 

Paul: Probably because it’s pleasing to the ear, easy on the brain, and part of our hard-wiring.

Jake: Hilarious, pencil pusher. Say, why would I want to prosecute, anyway? My heart is with the little guy, not the behemoth of the state. 

Paul: You’re burned out. Too many guilty clients over too many years.

Jake: There’s truth in that. I lose a lot. Or plead my guy guilty. It’s a dirty little secret, but that’s the deal with most criminal defense lawyers. If anyone knew our real winning percentage, they’d jump bail and flee to Argentina. 

Paul: You’ve said that before, Jake. In Bum Luck. Remember?

Jake: Not my fault you’ve got so little imagination that I repeat myself, carbon copy boy. Bum Luck. Bum Rap. Bum Deal. What’s the next one, Bum Book? 

Paul: You forget already? No next book. This is it. The end. The final chapter. Finis. No más.

Jake: Jeez, you’re depressing me. 

Paul: Maybe this will cheer you up. Dr. Melissa Gold, an esteemed neuropathologist, takes an interest in you, during and after office hours. The two of you really connect.

Jake: So just as I’m losing my marbles, you’re giving me a lady that lasts? Is that fair? 

Paul: That’s life, pal.

Jake: I hope you get carpal tunnel in both arms, smart guy. You got any other happy news? 

Paul: Bum Deal is available in ebook, trade paperback, and audio. What else do you need to know?

Jake: Just tell me, this, you grim storytelling reaper. Is the last scene in the book my funeral? 

Paul: Would I do that to you, Jake? Really. Would I?


The author of 21 novels, Paul Levine won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and was nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, Shamus and James Thurber prizes. A former trial lawyer, he also wrote 20 episodes of the CBS military drama "JAG" and co-created the Supreme Court drama "First Monday" starring James Garner and Joe Mantegna. The international bestseller To Speak for the Dead was his first novel. His most recent books are Bum Rap (a Number One Amazon Kindle bestseller), Bum Luck, described by Bookreporter as "a one-sit, must-read novel full of memorable characters and unforgettable vignettes," and the newly released Bum Deal, praised in a "starred review" by Publishers Weekly for its "fascinating, fully developed characters and smart, well-paced dialogue." Visit Paul's website at

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