Author: Paul Levine
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Paul Levine's recent novel, Bum Luck is quite an exciting journey into the world of court room drama and dirty politicians.
The thriller gets underway when our protagonist, attorney Jack Lassiter, who is a former Miami Dolphin football player, defends Marcus “Thunder” Thurston, a well-known NFL football hero, who is accused of murdering his wife. Lassiter manages to successfully defend his client but regrets the jury's decision of not guilty on the grounds of the “stand your ground defense.” And for those that are unfamiliar with this defense, it is a justification in a criminal case, whereby the accused can “stand their ground” and use force without retreating, to protect and defend himself or herself as well as others against threats or perceive threats. In fact, Lassiter wanted to lose the case and was surprised when the jury returned their verdict of innocence. He even thought of killing his client but backed off realizing the consequences. You are probably wondering why was he so upset that he won the case? Apparently, he has an irreconcilable conflict between his duties as a lawyer and his ideals.
After his success with defending Thurston, Lassiter is recruited by his former law firm of Harman and Fox as honorary counsel to defend Biscayne Life Insurance Company. The insurance company wrote a half-million-dollar life insurance policy on a female cage fighter named Carla Caruana. Caruana was a single mother of two children. During her career as a cage fighter she suffered multiple injuries. The company had a one-year exclusion for death by suicide. Apparently, she attempted suicide before midnight on the three hundred sixty-fifth day after the policy was issued. As a result, the company is refusing to pay the estate the half million dollars.
The plot thickens when the prosecuting attorney in the Thurston case, Stacy Strickstein goes after Lassiter accusing him of jury tampering, however, as it turns out he was framed. But this is not all, he also is framed for campaign finance fraud. By the way, Strickstein has political ambitions and wants to challenge her boss, Raymond Pincher for the state attorney's job. Incidentally, she plays rough and will do anything and destroy anyone who is in her way.
Adding even more components to the story, Levine alludes to the lawsuit launched by former athletes against the National Football Leagues. The plaintiffs had suffered from dementia, depression or Alzheimer that they blamed on blows to their heads. The league was accused of concealing the dangers of concussions and rushing injured players back into the field. You will have to read the novel to see how this is tied in with the Caruana proceedings and how it also affects Lassiter's personal life.
Levine has crafted a gripping and often quite an amusing thriller with a surprising climax all of which is built around an intriguing cast of characters as it achieves an almost flawless rhythm.