Paul Levine






Bantam Books, October 2005
Reviewed by Barbara Fielding
Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord are opposing counsel on a case that lands the two of them in a holding cell. Steve "Slash and Burn" Solomon is a thirty-five year old criminal defense lawyer with an easy smile and brash personality. Victoria Lord is an uptight rookie prosecutor. On Victoria's first day as a prosecutor for Dade County, she lands in a cell across from "the most unethical lawyer" she knows. Solomon intentionally provoked her into losing her cool in court.
Steve thinks Victoria has a great legal mind and great legs. He feels she will make an outstanding lawyer if DA Ray Pincher doesn't ruin her first. Baiting Victoria was his way of mentoring her -- molding her into the kind of trail lawyer he thinks she could become. Of course, he never intended to get her fired.
After their unfortunate and volatile beginning you would think they would avoid each other, but that wouldn't be any fun.  When Katrina Barksdale, a Miami socialite, is charged in the death of her sixty year old husband, Solomon and Lord both seek to be retained as her defense attorneys. Solomon needs the paycheck and Lord needs the trial experience. They eventually enter into a reluctant temporary partnership for the Barksdale trial. Now, they must find a way to work together despite the explosive chemistry between them and the complications of their personal lives.
SOLOMON VS. LORD is a fast-paced romantic legal mystery.  The banter and zingers flying between these two characters is reminiscent of Bruce Willis and Cybil Shepherd in the old Moonlighting television series.
The legal mystery is first rate. Author Paul Levine certainly knows how to spin a legal tale.  However, I found the romantic element was a little rocky. I had a problem with some inconsistencies in Victoria Lord's character. She is presented as an ethical and slightly repressed person, but in a couple of scenes she acts in a way that I found hard to accept in an honorable character. There wasn't enough internal narrative to explain why she would betray her own standards and act against type. Since this novel is part of a series, I can only hope there will be some explanation and growth in her character.
Steve Solomon is a playboy who dates many beautiful women. He's the last person you'd expect to be a guardian of his young autistic savant nephew, Bobby. Steve isn't the greatest role model, but among his redeeming qualities are his devotion to family and his desire to defend underdogs. Little Bobby is an appealing, multifaceted character and I am looking forward to reading more about him.
Paul Levine is a former journalist, trial lawyer and screenplay writer. He was co-executive producer for the television series First Monday and wrote for the JAG televisions series. He is also the author of the Jake Lassiter Mystery series. SOLOMON VS. LORD is the first novel in a new series. A sequel, THE DEEP BLUE ALIBI: SOLOMON VS. LORD, is due out in January 2006.
November 2005


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