By Paul Levine
“When is Jake Lassiter coming back?”
I get the question at bookstores and Bouchercon, at Thrillerfest and Sleuthfest, at Left Coast Crime…and even my dentist’s office.
“Where the heck is Jake?” I’m asked.
I wrote seven Lassiter novels between 1990 and 1997. Since then, I’ve written three stand-alone thrillers, the four-book “Solomon vs. Lord” series, and a bunch of episodes for two CBS-TV dramas, “JAG,” and “First Monday.” I still get some e-mail about a sermon I wrote for a Navy chaplain in the “JAG” Christmas episode nine years ago, but what most people want to talk about is that linebacker-turned-lawyer, a tough guy with a tender heart.
“Jake’s not in jail, is he?”
“Nope, but given his propensity for contemptuous conduct, maybe he should be.”
Truth is, Jake Lassiter lives!
“Lassiter” is just out in hardcover from Bantam. My favorite renegade lawyer is still swimming with sharks as he searches for a missing woman from his past and becomes entangled in the intertwined worlds of politics and porn. Here’s the set-up:
Eighteen years ago, Jake Lassiter crossed paths with a teenage runaway who vanished into South Florida’s sex trade. When her mysterious sister, Amy Larkin, shows up in Miami to investigate, she accuses Lassiter of being involved in the disappearance. What does Lassiter know about Krista Larkin, the runaway teen turned porn actress? More than he’s saying.
Seeking to atone for his own past, Lassiter follows Krista’s ice-cold trail and butts head with some powerful men from her checkered past: a former porn king turned philanthropist, a slick Cuban-born prosecutor who’d love to be governor, and an aging mobster who once “cleaned up messes” for the infamous Meyer Lansky.
Evidence points to a night, long-ago, full of kinky sex, designer drugs—and possible murder. But before Lassiter can nail the truth, a gun goes off, a suspect falls dead.
Hey, that’s all I’m going to say now, except that early notices are good. “Engaging…a standout job,” writes Publishers Weekly. And this from Lee Child, creator of the incomparable Jack Reacher: “Moving fast, cracking wise, butting heads, Lassiter is the lawyer we all want on our side and on the page.”
What else is new? All seven novels in the Lassiter backlist are now available as low-cost e-books. The series started with “To Speak for the Dead,” chosen by the “Los Angeles Times as one of the best mysteries of 1990. Twenty years after publication, it hit number one on Amazon Kindle’s bestselling hardboiled mystery list.
Now, here’s the best part: All author royalties will go to the Four Diamonds Fund, which supports cancer research and treatment at Hershey Children’s Hospital. It’s a cause dear to my heart. The hospital, part of Penn State’s College of Medicine, is one of the premier institutions of its kind. Thanks to the Fund, children whose families lack the financial wherewithal receive top-notch medical care.
There’s more information on both “Lassiter” and the backlist e-books on my website.
Paul Levine is an award-winning author of legal thrillers, including Solomon vs. Lord (nominated for the Macavity and the James Thurber awards), The Deep Blue Alibi (nominated for an Edgar), and Kill All the Lawyers (a finalist for the International Thriller Writers award). He won the John D. MacDonald award for his critically acclaimed Jake Lassiter novels, which are now best-selling e-books. Levine also wrote more than 20 episodes of the CBS military drama “JAG” and co-created the Supreme Court drama “First Monday.”