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Levine, Paul 1948- (Paul J. Levine, Paul Jacob Levine)

Levine, Paul 1948- (Paul J. Levine, Paul Jacob Levine)

PERSONAL:

Born January 9, 1948, in Williamsport, PA; son of Stanley (a retail merchant) and Sally (a retail merchant) Levine, married Alice Holmstrom, August 22, 1975 (divorced July 27, 1992); married Renee Braeunig (an attorney); children: Wendy, Michael. Education: Pennsylvania State University, B.A., 1969; University of Miami, J.D. (cum laude), 1973.

ADDRESSES:

Home—Los Angeles, CA. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Miami Herald, Miami, FL, reporter, 1969-70; Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, CA, stringer, 1972; admitted to the Bar of Florida State, 1973, the Bar of U.S. Supreme Court, 1977, the Bar of the District of Columbia, 1978, and the Bar of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, 1989; attorney at law firms in Florida, 1973-77; Bartel, Levine & Shuford, FL, trial and appellate attorney and partner, 1977-78; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Miami, FL, attorney and partner, 1978-87; Spence, Payne, Masington, Grossman & Needle, Miami, FL, counsellor, 1987-88; Grossman & Roth, Miami, FL, counsellor, 1988-91. University of Miami School of Law, adjunct faculty, communications law, 1978-80; creator, writer, and talent for nationally syndicated show, You & The Law, 1978-82; former legal commentator for WPLG-TV News and AM South Florida. Member, Pennsylvania State University School of Communications alumni board of directors and Pennsylvania State University Libraries advisory board; speaker on various law issues.

MEMBER:

Sigma Delta Chi Journalism Society, American Bar Association, American Trial Lawyers Association, Writers Guild of America, Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers, Florida Bar Media Relations Committee (vice chair, 1985), Authors Guild, Kappa Tau Alpha, Phi Kappa Phi, Omicron Delta Kappa, Phi Eta Sigma.

AWARDS, HONORS:

William Randolph Hearst National Writing Competition, third place, 1968, first place, 1969; Society of Professional Journalists/Sigma Delta Chi Award, 1968, for newspaper writing; first place, National Moot Court Competition, Atlanta and New York, both 1971; grand prize and first place, Florida Bar Media Awards Competition, 1979, for television show You & The Law; recipient, John D. MacDonald Award for fiction, 1994.

WRITINGS:

"JAKE LASSITER" DETECTIVE NOVELS

To Speak for the Dead, Bantam (New York, NY), 1990.

Night Vision, Bantam (New York, NY), 1991.

False Dawn, Bantam (New York, NY), 1993.

Mortal Sin, Morrow (New York, NY), 1994.

Slashback, Morrow (New York, NY), 1995.

Fool Me Twice, Morrow (New York, NY), 1996.

Flesh and Bones, Morrow (New York, NY), 1997.

"SOLOMON VS. LORD" DETECTIVE NOVELS

Solomon vs. Lord, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2005.

The Deep Blue Alibi, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Kill All the Lawyers, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2006.

Trial & Error, Bantam Books (New York, NY), 2007.

OTHER

What's Your Verdict? Dell (New York, NY), 1980.

9 Scorpions, Pocket Books (New York, NY), 1998.

(With others) JAG (television series), Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 1999-2000.

(Cocreator and coexecutive producer) First Monday (television series), Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc., 2001.

Contributor to periodicals, including Reporters' Handbook, University of Miami Law Review, Lawyers Monthly, Newsweek, Editor and Publisher, New York Times, Miami Review, Miami Herald, Palm Beach Post, and St. Petersburg Times. Author of a nationally syndicated newspaper column.

ADAPTATIONS:

To Speak for the Dead was adapted for television as Lassiter: Justice on the Bayou, National Broadcasting Company (NBC), 1995.

SIDELIGHTS:

Former trial lawyer Paul Levine uses his courtroom experiences to produce mystery novels. His first novel series features Jake Lassiter, a football player turned defense attorney who becomes embroiled in murder cases. In Levine's novel To Speak for the Dead, Lassiter defends Roger Salisbury, a surgeon charged with malpractice in the death of his patient Philip Corrigan. Melanie Corrigan believes that Salisbury fatally cut her husband's aorta during surgery. Although the surgeon is acquitted, Philip's daughter, Susan, is not satisfied and tries to prove that the death was a conspiracy between Salisbury and his lover, Melanie. Jake and Susan team up with retired coroner Charlie Riggs and exhume Philip's body to find clues, but discover two bodies in the grave. Richard North Patterson, in the Washington Post, deemed that the novel's ending is "genuinely chilling and, in its abruptness, just right." Patterson also added that Levine's courtroom scenes have a "real bite and authority."

Jake Lassiter reappears as the protagonist in Levine's second novel, Night Vision. As special prosecutor for a serial murder case, Lassiter again seeks the help of Charlie Riggs. The first murder victim is television newscaster Michelle Diamond, who is strangled to death after questioning her occasional lover and state attorney, Nick Wolf, about a suspected Vietnam conspiracy. The next two victims—like Diamond—were members of Compu-Mate, an electronic sex hotline. While investigating the deaths, Jake uncovers political corruption and a complex scenario pointing to several suspects, including Wolf, a detective, a professor, an actor, and the owners of Compu-Mate. With help from a British serial-killer expert, Jake and Charlie close in on the murderer. Critics once again lauded Levine's ingenious conclusion but felt Night Vision suffered from heavy plotting.

In False Dawn, the third entry in the Lassiter series, Jake takes on a beautiful Finnish spy, Japanese art smugglers, CIA double agents, and Cuban exiles. A Publishers Weekly reviewer found the plot overly complicated, writing that the "double-, triple-and quadruple-crosses" pile up "to the point of self-parody." Nevertheless, allowed the reviewer, "the silliness is redeemed only by the character of Levine's hero and narrator." The critic concluded that False Dawn is "a quirky little mystery with … a unique hero."

Mortal Sin finds Lassiter becoming involved with his former lover, Gina, even though she is engaged to land developer Nicky Florio. Florio's latest project, on a Native American reservation in the Everglades, has upset ecologists. When one conservationist opposing the project dies under mysterious circumstances, Lassiter reluctantly agrees to defend Nicky in court. Before long, Lassiter finds himself framed for murder and in danger of losing his own life. Reviewing Mortal Sin in Booklist, Wes Lukowsky noted that the Lassiter series is "continually improving," and described the book as "a violent, sexy thriller with a brutal, almost operatic conclusion."

Lukowsky also gave high marks to Flesh and Bones, in which Lassiter defends a woman charged with murdering the father who abused her as a child. The Booklist contributor stated that "Lassiter is smart, tough, funny, and very human." The Publishers Weekly critic who reviewed Flesh and Bones commented that the Lassiter series is "refreshingly unpretentious" and named Levine "a wily and spirited practitioner of ripe plotting and big-time narrative excess."

Levine followed up his series of Jake Lassiter novels with the 1998 book 9 Scorpions, which centers on the inner workings of the U.S. Supreme Court. In the book, lawyer Lisa Fremont lands a spot as a clerk for Supreme Court justice Samuel Truitt. But Fremont is pressured by corrupt businessman Max Wanaker to influence Truitt's votes, as Wanaker holds a secret of Fremont's that could jeopardize her blossoming career. Fremont is torn by where her loyalties lie, and how they relate to overall questions of professional ethics. Some critics did not enjoy the author's take on the Supreme Court, finding the novel unrealistic in what really happens at the highest court in the nation. The book's "story line is implausible," wrote Trial contributor Laura Ariane Miller. But others found 9 Scorpions to have an exciting plot full of twists and turns, and likeable characters who made the story come alive. "Readers won't be disappointed," commented Emily Melton in a review for Booklist.

In 2005, Levine began a second series of detective novels, this one revolving around Florida lawyers Victoria Lord and Steve Solomon. The first in the series is Solomon vs. Lord. In this novel, Solomon and Lord—whose personalities are total opposites of each other—end up working together defending widow Katrina Barksdale, who has been accused of murdering her husband. Critics enjoyed the banter between the two mismatched characters and found the story to be likeable and easy to follow. The novel's plot is "fully developed and fully believable," wrote Jennifer Winegardner in a review for the Florida Bar Journal. Other reviewers commented that Solomon vs. Lord was written with humor and personality. Levine's novel has a lot of "genuine laugh-out-loud moments," noted one Publishers Weekly contributor.

Levine once told CA: "My background as a trial lawyer (seventeen years) forms the basis for my series of Jake Lassiter novels. Jake is the ‘ex-football player, ex-public defender, ex-a-lot-of-things’ who does the best he can in and out of court. He doesn't play by any rules but his own. He believes that codes of ethics are invented by lawyers from deep-carpet law firms to favor the side with the most money. As he says in False Dawn, Jake prefers cases he believes in. ‘Best is to have a client you like, a cause that is just, and a check that doesn't bounce. Two out of three and you're ahead of the game.’"

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Armchair Detective, spring, 1995, review of Mortal Sin, p. 186; winter, 1996, review of Fool Me Twice, p. 104; winter, 1997, reviews of To Speak for the Dead, Night Vision, False Dawn, Mortal Sin, Slashback, and Fool Me Twice, p. 82.

Booklist, August, 1990, review of To Speak for the Dead, p. 2159; January 1, 1994, Wes Lukowsky, review of Mortal Sin, p. 810; June 1, 1994, Bill Ott, review of Mortal Sin, p. 1779; January 15, 1995, Wes Lukowsky, review of Slashback, p. 899; January 1, 1996, Wes Lukowsky, review of Fool Me Twice, p. 796; November 15, 1996, Wes Lukowsky, review of Flesh and Bones, p. 574; June 1, 1998, Emily Melton, review of 9 Scorpions, p. 1669.

Bookwatch, May, 1996, review of Fool Me Twice, p. 6.

California Law Review, January, 2000, John B. Owens, review of 9 Scorpions, p. 233.

California Lawyer, December, 1991, review of Night Vision, p. 112.

Federal Lawyer, March-April, 1995, Fredric H. Karr, review of Slashback, p. 55; July, 1996, Fredric H. Karr, review of Fool Me Twice, p. 54; May, 1997, Fredric H. Karr, review of Flesh and Bones, p. 71; March-April, 1999, Mitch Neurock, review of 9 Scorpions, p. 47.

Florida Bar Journal, July-August, 1993, review of False Dawn, p. 82; February, 2006, Jennifer Winegardner, review of Solomon vs. Lord, p. 45.

Kirkus Reviews, June 15, 1990, review of To Speak for the Dead, p. 826; August 1, 1991, review of Night Vision, p. 971; February 15, 1993, review of False Dawn, p. 174; December 1, 1993, review of Mortal Sin, p. 1481; November 15, 1994, review of Slashback, p. 1496; October 15, 1995, review of Fool Me Twice, p. 1459; October 15, 1996, review of Flesh and Bones, p. 1497; July 1, 1998, review of 9 Scorpions, p. 918.

Kliatt, July, 1993, review of False Dawn, p. 47; May, 1996, review of Slashback, p. 48; January, 1999, review of 9 Scorpions, p. 47; July, 2006, Jean Palmer, review of Solomon vs. Lord, p. 48.

Legal Times, November 5, 1990, Elizabeth Engdahl, review of To Speak for the Dead, p. 89; April 1, 1996, Eric Ries, review of Fool Me Twice, p. 66; August 28, 2006, Tony Mauro, "Of Alligators and Sun-baked Depravity."

Library Journal, July, 1990, Rex E. Klett, review of To Speak for the Dead, p. 133; September 1, 1991, review of Night Vision, p. 235; January, 1994, Robert H. Donahugh, review of Mortal Sin, p. 162; October 15, 1995, Roland Person, review of Fool Me Twice, p. 88.

Los Angeles Times, September 9, 1990, review of To Speak for the Dead, p. 10; October 13, 1991, review of Night Vision, p. 11; March 12, 1995, review of Slashback, p. 6; January 21, 1996, review of Fool Me Twice, p. 15.

New York Law Journal, April 20, 1995, Carolyn Schurr, review of Slashback, p. 2; March 7, 1997, Bruce Balestier, review of Flesh and Bones, p. 2; November 22, 2005, Annamarie Bondi-Stoddard, review of Solomon vs. Lord.

New York Review of Books, June 10, 2004, John Leonard, "The Prophet," p. 20.

New York Times, May 23, 1993, Newgate Callendar, review of False Dawn, p. 21.

New York Times Book Review, March 20, 1994, Marilyn Stasio, review of Mortal Sin, p. 22; January 15, 1995, review of Mortal Sin, p. 28.

Practical Lawyer, July, 1991, Charles Alan Wright, review of To Speak for the Dead, p. 89.

Publishers Weekly, June 22, 1990, Sybil Steinberg, review of To Speak for the Dead, p. 46; July 25, 1991, review of Night Vision, p. 40; February 22, 1993, review of False Dawn, p. 84; January 31, 1994, review of Mortal Sin, p. 80; November 14, 1994, review of Slashback, p. 55; December 12, 1994, review of Mortal Sin, p. 60; April 3, 1995, review of Slashback, p. 30; October 9, 1995, review of Fool Me Twice, p. 79; November 6, 1995, review of Slashback, p. 89; January 13, 1997, review of Flesh and Bones, p. 59; August 17, 1998, review of 9 Scorpions, p. 48; August 1, 2005, review of Solomon vs. Lord, p. 50; December 12, 2005, review of The Deep Blue Alibi, p. 44; July 24, 2006, review of Kill All the Lawyers, p. 42.

Trial, January, 1999, Laura Ariane Miller, review of 9 Scorpions, p. 86.

Tribune Books (Chicago, IL), February 6, 1994, review of Mortal Sin, p. 6; January 1, 1995, review of Slashback, p. 7; January 15, 1995, review of Mortal Sin, p. 8.

Washington Post, September 4, 1990, Richard North Patterson, review of To Speak for the Dead, p. 4.

Wisconsin Lawyer, March, 1999, Michael Mahoney, review of 9 Scorpions, p. 34.

ONLINE

Bookreporter.com,http://www.bookreporter.com/ (September 30, 2005), interview with Paul Levine.

Paul Levine Home Page,http://paul-levine.com (April 11, 2007).

PopMatters,http://www.popmatters.com/ (February 28, 2006), Christine Forte, interview with Paul Levine.

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