Rush out and get some Bum Luck of your own.
A little-known fact about Paul…
“I’ve never been disbarred, committed, or charged with moral turpitude, and the only time I was arrested it was a case of mistaken identity…I didn’t know the guy I hit was a cop.
“Wait! That isn’t me. That’s my protagonist. My life is profoundly boring. I wake up, eat breakfast, sit down and slave over a hot keyboard for several hours, then ride my bike, either along the Pacific Ocean or into the hills. At night, I read, drink tequila, and watch television. Tomorrow, repeat.”
Sandra Ruttan: What’s your new book about? What inspired you to write it?
Paul Levine: Thirty seconds after the jury announced its verdict, I decided to kill my client.
On the surface, the book is about Lassiter seeking justice. The Miami defense lawyer has just WON a murder trial for a client he believes killed his wife. Lassiter didn’t expect win. Didn’t want to win. But the jury said “not guilty,” and NFL superstar Thunder Thurston went free.
Fed up, Lassiter vows to seek justice. Rough justice. Vigilante justice. His friends, Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, are stunned when Lassiter tells her his plan.
They fear that Lassiter’s bizarre behavior stems from all those concussions he suffered playing linebacker in the NFL before going to law school. Does he have C.T.E., the fatal brain disease linked to repetitive head injuries? Will he kill Thunder Thurston or be killed? Is this the end of Lassiter’s career…and his life.
The subject is personal to me. In 2014, I lost a friend of 40 years who had played college football, a bit of professional ball, and then decades of rugby at high level. He played fiercely and fearlessly and suffered numerous head injuries. And died in his 60’s of C.T.E.
I was offended at the way the N.F.L. hid or buried the results of head trauma studies. It reminded me of the tobacco companies’ denying the link between smoking and cancer. The medical knowledge now is unassailable. In post-mortem tests of brain tissues, 90 of 94 former professional football players who had shown symptoms of dementia were revealed to have, in fact, suffered from C.T.E.
Recently, two living former NFL stars – Gale Sayers and Dwight Clark – were revealed to be suffering from symptoms consistent with C.T.E. (The gruesome fact is that a positive diagnosis can only be made post-mortem).
The more I researched, the more angry I became at the NFL for its shameful conduct in lying about the connection between football injuries and dementia. And when I get angry, so does Jake Lassiter. His anger fuels the book.
Sandra: Practice pitching: tell us what your book is about in 30 words or less.
Paul: The search for justice…sometimes by illegal means. Is vigilante justice ever justified in a civilized society?
Sandra: Is there something you’ve experienced that’s affected your view of life? Tell us about it and how it changed you.
Paul: I practiced law in Miami for 17 years. In every courtroom above the judge’s bench hangs a sign: “We who labor here seek only the truth.” Well, call me a cynic but I came to consider that a cruel joke. So I created lawyer Jake Lassiter who says (about the sign), “There ought to be a footnote. Subject to the truth being ignored by lying witnesses, concealed by sleazy lawyers, excluded by inept judges, and overlooked by lazy jurors.”
Paul: Although there are profound similarities with digging ditches, writing is easier on the back and generally pays better.
Sandra: What’s the worst thing about writing?
Paul: Writing is an illness, similar to the flu or a fever. Most of us don’t write because we want to…we write because we have to. It’s a compulsion, some inner need to tell stories. I heard James A. Michener speak a long time ago. He said writers are descended from a certain kind of cave man. The ones who weren’t good at making spears, or tracking beasts, or killing them, or even carrying the carcasses back to the caves. Our ancestors were the storytellers, the ones who were spectators to the hunt, then came back to the cave and told the story – greatly enhanced, no doubt – of the heroics of others.
Sandra: Due to oppressive taxation you have to move into a tiny house. What are the ten books you aren’t giving up?
Paul: One for sure: “How to Avoid Taxes”
Sandra: Is your protagonist more likely to go insane or end up in prison?
Paul: My protagonist, linebacker-turned-lawyer Jake Lassiter, skirts the law, flirts with disbarment, and has already been acquitted in a murder trial. So, prison is always a possibility.
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On Twitter: @Jake_Lassiter
Or Paul’s Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Paul-Levine/e/B000APPYKG
Paul also blogs at his website: https://www.paul-levine.com
Paul Levine, the author of the “Jake Lassiter” and “Solomon vs. Lord” series, has won the John D. MacDonald Florida Fiction Award and was nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, Shamus, and James Thurber prizes. He wrote 20 episodes of the military drama “JAG” on CBS and co-created the Supreme Court drama “First Monday” starring James Garner and Joe Mantegna. His newest novel is “Bum Luck.”