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March 18, 2009

A Down-and-Out Lawyer, A Missing Woman. A Lost Boy. And Shades of “Chinatown.”

Welcome! Paul Levine here with the story-behind-the story of ILLEGAL.

In the past two years, I’ve trudged through the Mojave Desert and climbed the Tehachapi mountains. I’ve followed the toxic sludge of the New River as it winds a serpentine path from Mexicali to the Salton Sea. I’ve hung out at Border Patrol stations in Calexico and picked peaches in Kings County.

THE CHARACTERS: A shady lawyer. A missing woman. A lost boy. And a wealthy rancher with a twisted vision of his own power. It’s about unspeakable pain and loss and the love of family. It’s about greed and corruption, revenge and redemption, all set in the dark world of human trafficking and sex slavery.

A PERILOUS ROAD TRIP: ILLEGAL will take you from the dangerous streets of Mexicali, north to Hellhole Canyon, and northward still through the Tejon Pass into California’s San Joaquin Valley. That’s the perilous road trip taken by Jimmy (Royal) Payne, the hero of ILLEGAL. Did I say hero? Payne, a Los Angeles lawyer with an anger management problem, skims money from a bribery sting, punches out two cops, and skips town when he’s jailed for contempt. But when it’s time to choose between risking his life for a boy with a missing mother or surrendering to his own demons, his choice is….well, you gotta read the book for that.

THE TONE: Inspired by real events, ILLEGAL is harder-boiled than my SOLOMON vs. LORD novels. But if you liked Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, you’ll love trouble-prone Jimmy Payne and ex-wife Sharon, a cop who once shot him and now would love to arrest him. The Solomon books were frequently compared with the Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn films, particularly Adam’s Rib. ILLEGAL combines the moral decay of “Chinatown” with the sudden violence of “No Country for Old Men.”

A SNEAK PEEK: The first eight chapters of the book are posted above in an easty-to-read, full page format. For more information, please visit my website. While there, sign up for my free newsletter, which automatically enters you in a book drawing. Or, if you’re ready to rumble, you can order ILLEGAL above.

So, come along. Hop into Jimmy’s Acapulco blue Mustang ragtop - okay, not his; he stole it - and fasten your seat belts. It’s gonna be a bumpy night.

Paul Levine


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