Author: Paul Levine
Performed by Luke Daniels
Released: June 2018 by Brilliance Audio
Category: Courtroom Drama, Crime, Mystery, Thriller, Book Review
Second-string linebacker turned defense lawyer Jake Lassiter finally switches teams. Appointed special prosecutor in a high-profile murder case, he vows to take down a prominent surgeon accused of killing his wife. There’s just one problem…or maybe three: no evidence, no witness, and no body.
But Lassiter’s used to fighting impossible battles on the gridiron and in court. After all, he’s not totally burned-out—just a little scorched.
Normally in the defense half of the courtroom, Jake Lassiter is persuaded to change sides. State Attorney Raymond Pincher, an old sparring partner of Jake’s, asks him to be a specially appointed prosecutor in case against Dr Clark Calvert, an orthopaedic surgeon who is accused of murdering his wife.
There are several factors that don’t bode well for Jake’s change of direction. There’s no body, apparently no evidence against the doctor and Jake is struggling with the possibility of having contracted CTE, otherwise known as Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy, a lethal brain disease caused by too many head traumas sustained during his days as a linebacker. Jake’s illness has worsened progressively over the course of the previous couple of books and his only hope seems to be the experimental treatments prescribed by his doctor and lover, neuropathologist Melissa Gold.
Jake’s close friends who are also defense lawyers, Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, and learned almost everything they know from him, will be defending the doctor. Calvert and Victoria have a shared history and she doesn’t believe he’s capable of murder. Or at least that what she tells Jake and Steve…but perhaps there’s a niggling doubt in Victoria’s mind.
“That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you. Pincher asked me to put my hand on a Bible and promise to support, defend, and protect the Constitution from the likes of you. If I say yes, you’re looking at a specially appointed assistant state attorney.”
“I don’t believe it, Jake,” Victoria said. “This is one of your practical jokes.”
“Nope. But like I said, if I’m handling the case and there’s insufficient evidence, everybody goes home. On the other hand, there might be a homicide case to try with you two kids on one side of the courtroom and me on the other. Oh, the tricks you will learn.”
I’ve listened to most of the books in this series, bar one or two very early ones with a different narrator, and loved them all. Jake Lassiter is an engaging character—tough, humorous and of course, not without flaws…but never boring.
There’s always a very strong sense of place throughout the novels with sentences like ‘I leaned back in my chair and admired the view of a placid Biscayne Bay in the fading light ….. An easterly breeze kicked up sand from the beach and ruffled the palm trees a few feet from my table.’
The characters are fully developed (I did miss Doc Charlie Riggs and Granny Lassiter in this episode) and the depiction of the justice system is realistic. Jake’s health issues are moving, adding a sombre note, portrayed extremely well and obviously well researched. The courtroom drama is a battle with surprising twists, and not Jake’s finest hour. A clever plot with sharp, pacy dialogue and a really unexpected conclusion. I hope we haven’t seen the last of Jake Lassiter.
Luke Daniels always delivers a wonderful audio performance and this is no exception. Each character is clearly distinct and individually characterised.
They don’t call us sharks for our ability to swim – Jake Lassiter