ILLEGAL by Paul Levine

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The Edgar-nominated author acclaimed for his crackling courtroom scenes delivers an adrenaline-laced, no-holds-barred thriller—his most powerful novel to date—as a disgraced lawyer travels the twisted border between justice and revenge.

Haunted by a tragedy in his past and wanted by the cops for his latest malfeasance, trial lawyer Jimmy “Royal” Payne needs to skip town. That’s when he crosses paths with twelve-year-old Tino Perez, newly arrived from Mexico with no money and no papers. The gutsy kid first robs Payne, then pleads for his help. Marisol, the boy’s mother, is missing, after crossing the border with a vicious coyote.

Payne doesn’t go out of his way for anyone. But ex-wife Sharon, the L.A.P.D. detective he still loves, gives him a choice: help the boy or go to jail.

Following a chain of greed, corruption, and betrayal, Payne traces Marisol’s steps from Mexicali to California’s Hellhole Canyon, swept into the dark current of illegal immigration, human trafficking, and sexual slavery. Soon the cynical lawyer and the savvy kid are bonding…and battling cunning predators on both sides of the border. It’s the two of them against an army of cops, coyotes, vigilantes, and sex slavers. Most dangerous of all is Simeon Rutledge, a wealthy grower and the biggest employer of farm workers in California.

Just why is Rutledge willing to bribe Payne—or kill him—to keep Marisol under wraps? Will Payne’s quest redeem his mistakes and resurrect his dead marriage—or get him buried in a shallow grave? Either way, he’ll find out there’s no escaping his past….

From the shadows of migrant stash houses to the fertile fields of the San Joaquin Valley, Illegal delivers a searing mix of live-wire prose, shattering violence, and rich characterization. Set against a backdrop of larger social issues, this is a masterful tale from one of the most skillful practitioners of the contemporary thriller.

About Paul Levine

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Paul Levine is a former trial lawyer and the award-winning author of the Solomon vs. Lord legal thrillers. He has also written for the CBS television program, JAG. Levine lives in Los Angeles, where he is working on his next Jimmy Payne thriller.
Published March 6, 2014 by Nittany Valley Productions, Inc.. 386 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for ILLEGAL

BC Books

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After Jimmy puts his life and career in the toilet at the beginning of this novel, things get even more interesting.

Apr 06 2009 | Read Full Review of ILLEGAL

BC Books

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Jimmy has been hammered at every turn by life, and in the opening chapters of this book he gets blackmailed into bribing a judge, which results in even harsher circumstances.

Apr 06 2009 | Read Full Review of ILLEGAL

Book Reporter

Atticus Payne, who had assisted a group of migrant workers in attaining legal status in the U.S. But when Tino ultimately arrives at Payne’s place of business, he is disappointed to find a disheveled office and an even more down-at-the-heels Payne.

Jan 24 2011 | Read Full Review of ILLEGAL

Suite 101

Bristol cops Jack Caffery and Phoebe "Flea" Marley face their most formidable foe to date in this twisty thriller by the author of SKIN.

Jan 17 2010 | Read Full Review of ILLEGAL

Mysterious Reviews

Review: Illegal, a stand-alone thriller by Paul Levine, is the story of a lawyer at a crossroad in his life, only seeing a future of despair but seizing an opportunity to make a difference in someone else's life and ultimately, just possibly, his own.

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Las Vegas Review Journal

Payne obviously becomes a father figure for Tino Perez, who has become victimized by a vicious “Coyote,” as the people who smuggle illegals across the border are called.

Jun 29 2009 | Read Full Review of ILLEGAL

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Mar 18 2009 | Read Full Review of ILLEGAL

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