Paul Levine has written four books in the Solomon & Lord series, and four standalones. But perhaps my favorite of his books is the Jake Lassiter series, in which this is the tenth entry. Jake, primarily a criminal defense attorney and after twenty years of dealing with cops and prosecutors, now finds himself on the other side of the defense table: as the defendant, charged with murdering Pamela Baylins, his trusted, very personal banker and erstwhile lover. The book opens with Jake being rudely awakened by a Beach Patrol officer while lying in the sand on Miami Beach where he apparently passed out some time in the early morning hours. He is shortly returned in handcuffs to the suite in his name at the Fontainebleau Hotel, which suite also contained the dead body of Ms. Baylins, grotesquely strangled with Jake’s belt some time in those same early morning hours.
Not a good scenario for our protagonist. Only made worse by the ugly, bloody scratches on Jake’s cheek, admittedly put there by the victim after the two had very publicly argued during and after dinner at a swank steak house not far from the hotel.
It appears that during dinner Jake had received a phone call from his accountant, advising that the latter had discovered that his trust accounts were badly “screwed up,” with amounts going in and out and traveling through accounts in various places where money launderers are wont to place their money, such as the Cayman Islands. Since the only other person with access to those accounts was the woman seated beside him, namely Baylins, the ensuing argument traded accusations between the two. The only hope for Jake is that he had been caught on security cameras leaving the hotel some time after they couple had returned there, and before Pam was killed.
There are only a few others with motives to kill Pam, including a notorious Latin American realtor with various other projects going for him beyond real estate, Jake’s aforementioned accountant, and at least one other male with whom Pam had an intimate relationship. But the fact that the list is narrow doesn’t make any easier to find the killer, or evidence of any kind. Watching Jake get through the trial, ably assisted with the attorney he’d hired and despite his lawyering on his own behalf, is a treat for the reader. Having been on a diet of very long, very dark novels of late, this quick and very enjoyable read was a treat, and the novel is recommended....Continua