Written by Paul Levine — The jury may still be out as to whether the ebook will save or kill off the publishing industry, but one thing is not in doubt. Ebooks have made it so much easier for readers to find books they missed out on the first time around. A case in point is Paul Levine’s Solomon vs Lord series. Nominated for the Macavity and Edgar awards on publication in 2005, they are hard to find in paperback now. Thankfully though, retired law professor Levine has made them available for your ereader of preference.
Solomon vs Lord is the first in the series. Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord are advocates in the Florida legal system, and as much opposites in court as they are in their personal lives. Steve acts for the defence. He is the son of a judge who was forced to retire in disgrace, and plays by his own rules – known as Soloman’s Laws. These guide his life as well as his legal practice and the pop up regularly through the book. What matters to Steve is winning, the law is an inconvenience. Prosecutors exist to be humiliated, judges to have the wool pulled over their eyes, and jurors to be sweet-talked and seduced, all in the name of securing an acquittal.
His private life is as chaotic as his work. He resents his distant father, prefers one night stands to lasting relationships, and is only grounded by his relationship with his nephew Bobby. Bobby was neglected by his addict mother Janice and had to be saved by Steve. They may yet be each other’s salvation, but only if Steve can can prevent Bobby being sent away for experimental therapy.
Victoria had a very privileged upbringing thanks to her father’s successful business career, but following his fall from grace she is determined to make her own way in the world. A graduate of Princeton and Yale, she is on the fast track to success. Her life is mapped out: she is engaged to the rich but rather boring Bruce Bigby, and will put in a few years as a public prosecutor before making a fortune working for Bruce.
Victoria is determined not to let anything divert her from her return to the upper levels of Florida society, and that includes Steve. Fate however, has other plans. Their first trial ends with the pair jailed for contempt of court, and having been sacked by the State’s Attorney, Victoria is forced reluctantly to join Steve in private practice. Using her contacts she gets the case of Katrina Barksdale, a rich young trophy wife accused of murdering her older husband during some S&M sex games. It’s massive news, and getting a dismissal could put their names right up there with Johnny Cochrane. Things get difficult when it becomes clear the grieving widow didn’t just play with her husband. They go from bad to worse when Janice turns up with a plan to kidnap Bobby, and the State takes a closer look into Steve’s unique parenting style.
Solomon vs Lord may be a legal thriller, but there is surprisingly little courtroom action. Levine spends more time on the glamour than the process of trial law, and that’s fine with me. The heart of the book is Steve Solomon’s relationship with Bobby, and his emerging romance with Victoria. The will-they-won’t-they aspect is nicely handled, and the bickering is pleasantly funny. One slight criticism would be that perhaps all the various plots were tied up a little too neatly and conveniently.
Overall this book is as light and frothy as the cappuccinos lawyers always seem to be drinking on TV. This is a good holiday read for your Kindle, particularly for fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum or AE Maxwell’s Fiddler and Fiora series.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars