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Spotlight on: Kill All the Lawyers by Paul Levine

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Kill All the Lawyers by Paul Levine Paul Levine, Kill All the Lawyers

(Reviewer's note: As this is the third entry in a continuing series, I suggest beginning with the first book, Solomon vs. Lord, and reading your way through. I apologize in advance to those who choose to read on and have plot secrets from the first book and its sequel revealed to them.)

Imagine awakening to a 300-pound marlin stuck in your front door. A sign of animosity perhaps? Steve Solomon thinks so, and he knows who it is from: Pop psychologist / radio host William Kreeger (a.k.a. "Dr. Bill") is the only client whose case Steve deliberately lost, ensuring Kreeger was sent to prison. Now, after six years, Dr. Bill is out and wants revenge.

Sound like Cape Fear? Well, that's not too surprising, given how author Paul Levine has shown himself to be a big John D. MacDonald fan. But it's just the beginning of Kill All the Lawyers, the third entry in Levine's bestselling romantic-comedy / legal-thriller series begun with Solomon vs. Lord and continued with The Deep Blue Alibi (a play on MacDonald's The Deep Blue Good-by).

Despite the source of its title (Henry VI, Part 2), Levine has no Shakespearean aspirations; all he wants is for his readers to have a good time and get hooked on his characters. After the first two novels, I was definitely hooked and very eager to get my copy of Kill All the Lawyers. Levine writes his characters with just the right amount of detail -- they're reportedly based on real people. This is all the better to project ourselves onto, and ideal for both comedy and pathos, of which there are both in plenteous amounts.

Solomon and Lord have their usual relationship / partnership issues: Are they so different that they're not right for each other? Steve won't "whore for banks and insurance companies" to upgrade the practice and rejects every property Victoria finds for them to live in. Is he holding her back? And who is the nubile young girl who sunbathes nude at Kreeger's home, yet who calls him "Uncle Bill"? And why is she naked every time Steve confronts her, Victoria would like to know.

Nephew Bobby gets more page-time in Kill All the Lawyers, as he finds out his mother Janice is out of jail and wants her son back, and he works on getting a girlfriend, local "Juban" girl Maria Munoz-Goldberg, by helping her with her homework -- school-related get-togethers that Bobby hopes will lead to extracurricular activities. Uncle Steve's guidance towards "purity as maturity" is not the kind of advice Bobby wants. In all of these cases, advice is sought from surprising sources.

Just like its predecessors, Kill All the Lawyers is rife with pop culture references. (I was shocked, shocked to find throwaway lines referencing both Casablanca and The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.) Plus, there are twelve new "Solomon's Laws" that delight just as much as the ones that came before. I don't see how Levine can keep up this pace of productivity -- just thinking about it makes me tired. But when he does, I'll be right there to follow along with Steve, Victoria, Bobby, and the wonderful recurring cast of supporting characters as the loving conflict continues (along with the amusing cover art).

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