Solomon vs. Lord (Solomon vs. Lord Series #1)

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Overview

Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer ever to barely graduate from Key West School of Law. Victoria Lord is fresh from Yale, toiling for an ambitious D.A. and soon to be married. And Katrina Barksdale is a sexy former figure skater charged with killing her incredibly wealthy, incredibly kinky husband. With all three tangled in the steamiest trial of the century, the case is sure to make sparks fly, headlines scream—and opposites attract.

But with Solomon inventing his own laws ...

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Overview

Steve Solomon is the sharpest lawyer ever to barely graduate from Key West School of Law. Victoria Lord is fresh from Yale, toiling for an ambitious D.A. and soon to be married. And Katrina Barksdale is a sexy former figure skater charged with killing her incredibly wealthy, incredibly kinky husband. With all three tangled in the steamiest trial of the century, the case is sure to make sparks fly, headlines scream—and opposites attract.

But with Solomon inventing his own laws and Lord sticking to the real ones, these two can’t stop squabbling, even after teaming up to defend the glamorous widow. With crooks, con men, and a cast of colorful characters swirling around Solomon, and an anxious fiancé waiting for Lord, the two attorneys begin to believe their luscious client has been lying through her perfect teeth. Now Solomon and Lord must solve the case before they end up in ruin, in jail…or in bed.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Levine delivers a funny, fast-paced legal thriller ... Fans of Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry will enjoy this humorous Florida crime romp."—Publishers Weekly

"Authentic dialogue, rich characterizations, complicated relationships and even pathos bolster Solomon vs. Lord. Unique plot twists and well-placed humor help, too. Levine makes the most of his characters, as well as the South Florida setting both in and out of the courthouse."—Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel

"Levine's book is remarkably fresh and original, with characters you can't help loving, and sparkling dialogue that echoes the Hepburn-Tracy screwball comedies."—Chicago Sun-Times

Publishers Weekly
Former attorney and reporter Levine delivers a funny, fast-paced legal thriller, his first since 1998's 9 Scorpions. Circumstances conspire to force two Florida lawyers with opposing personalities-by-the-book Victoria Lord and anything-goes Steve Solomon-into working together as the defense attorneys for Katrina Barksdale, a "grieving" widow who's been charged with murdering her wealthy husband during a kinky sexcapade. This basic plot is nothing new, but Levine keeps things fresh by injecting the story with interesting subplots and a full roster of quirky, lovable characters, perhaps the best of whom is Bobby, Solomon's autistic savant nephew, who has a photographic memory and a penchant for making defaming anagrams out of people's names. While Levine's two protagonists may not be Tracy and Hepburn, the barbed dialogue that flies between them makes for some genuine laugh-out-loud moments. Fans of Carl Hiaasen and Dave Barry (who supplies a blurb) will enjoy this humorous Florida crime romp. Agent, Al Zuckerman at Writers House. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780440242734
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/27/2005
  • Series: Solomon vs. Lord Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 576
  • Product dimensions: 4.12 (w) x 6.87 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author

Paul Levine is a former trial and appellate attorney, and the award-winning author of the critically acclaimed series featuring Miami trial lawyer Jake Lassiter and other legal thrillers. He has also written for ABC Television, Stephen J. Cannell Studios, and the CBS television program, JAG.Levine makes his home in Los Angeles, where he is at work on the second Solomon vs. Lord mystery, which Bantam will publish in Spring 2006.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Cell Mates

The man in the holding cell loosened his tie, tossed his rumpled suit coat into a corner, and stretched out on the hard plastic bench. The woman in the facing cell slipped out of her glen plaid jacket, folded it carefully across an arm, and began pacing.

"Relax, Vickie. We're gonna be here a while," the man said.

"Victoria," the woman corrected. Her angry footsteps echoed off the bare concrete floor.

"Wild guess. You've never been held in contempt before."

"You treat it like a badge of honor."

"A lawyer who's afraid of jail is like a surgeon who's afraid of blood," Steve Solomon said.

"From what I hear, you spend more time behind bars than your clients," Victoria Lord said.

"Hey, thanks. Great tag line for my radio spots. 'You do the crime, Steve does the time.' "

"You're the most unethical lawyer I know."

"You're new at this. Give it time."

"Sleazy son-of-a-bitch," she muttered, turning away.

"I heard that," he said.

Nice profile, he thought. Attractive in that polished, cool-as-a-daiquiri way. Long legs, small bust, sculpted jaw, an angular, athletic look. Green eyes spiked with gray and a tousled, honey-blond bird's nest of hair. Ballsy and sexy, too. He'd never heard "sleazy son-of-a-bitch" sound so seductive.

"If you weren't so arrogant," he said, "I could teach you a few courtroom tricks."

"Save your breath for your inflatable doll."

"Cheap shot. That was a trial exhibit."

"Really? People have seen the doll in your car. Fully inflated."

"It rides shotgun so I can use the car-pool lane."

She walked toward the cell door. Shadows of the bars pin-striped her face. "I know your record, Solomon. I know all about you."

"If you've been stalking me, I'm gonna get a restraining order."

"You make a mockery of the law."

"I make up my own. Solomon's Laws. Rule Number One: 'When the law doesn't work, work the law.' "

"They should lock you up."

"Actually, they already have."

"You're a disgrace to the profession."

"Aw, c'mon. Where's your heart, Vickie?"

"Victoria! And I don't have one. I'm a prosecutor."

"I'll bet you think Jean Valjean belonged in prison."

"He stole the bread, didn't he?"

"You'd burn witches at the stake."

"Not until they exhausted all their appeals." She laughed, a sparkle of electricity.

Damn, she's good at this.

Fending off his mishegoss, trumping his insults with her own. Something else appealed to him, too. No wedding band and no engagement ring. Ms. Victoria Lord, rookie prosecutor, seemed to be unattached as well as argumentative. Maybe twenty-eight. Seven years younger than him.

"If you need any help around the courthouse," he said, "I'd be willing to mentor you."

"Is that what they're calling it these days?"

Touche. But she'd said it with a smile. Maybe this wasn't so much combat as foreplay. Another parry, another thrust, who knows? The more he thought about it, the more confident he became.

She likes me. She really likes me.

I hate him.

I really hate him, Victoria decided.

Dammit, she'd been warned about Solomon. He always tested new prosecutors, baited them into losing their cool, lured them into mistrials. And she wasn't totally "new." She'd handled arraignments and preliminary hearings for eight months. And hadn't she won her first two felony trials? Of course, neither one had involved Steve Slash-and-Burn Solomon.

"You gotta know, the contempt citation is all your fault," he said from the facing cell.

She wouldn't give him the pleasure of saying, Why?

Or, How?

Or, Go screw yourself.

"You should never call opposing counsel a 'total fucking shark' in open court," he continued. "Save it for recess."

"You called me a 'persecutor.' "

"A slip of the tongue."

"You're incorrigible."

"Lose the big words. You'll confuse the jurors. Judges, too."

Victoria stopped pacing. It was stifling in the cell, and her feet were killing her. She wanted to pry off her ankle-strapped Prada pumps, but if she stood on this disgustingly sticky floor, she'd have to burn her panty hose. The plaid pencil skirt was uncomfortable, a tad too tight. Now she wished she'd taken the time to let it out before coming to court. Especially after catching Solomon, the pig, staring at her ass.

She saw him now, sprawled on the bench, hands behind his head, like a beach bum in a hammock. He had a dark shock of unruly hair, eyes filled with mischief, and a self-satisfied grin, like he'd just pinned a "Kick Me" note on her fanny. God, he was infuriating.

She couldn't wait to get back into the courtroom and convict his lowlife client. But just now, she felt exhausted. The adrenaline rush was ebbing, the lack of sleep was fogging her mind. All those hours practicing in front of the mirror.

"Ladies and gentlemen, you will hear the testimony of Customs and Wildlife Officers . . ."

Maybe she was going about this the wrong way. How many times had she had researched the legal issues, prepped her witnesses, rehearsed her opening statement?

". . . who will testify that the defendant, Amancio Pedrosa, did unlawfully smuggle contraband, to wit, four parakeets, three parrots, two cockatoos . . ."

And a partridge in a pear tree.

Maybe she'd burned herself out. Maybe that's why she'd cracked today. Had she looked ridiculous pushing a grocery cart overflowing with boxes to the prosecution table? There was Solomon, holding a single yellow pad, and there she was, weighted down with books, research folders, and color-coded index cards bristling with notes.

Even though she despised Solomon, she did envy his brash confidence. The way he glided across the courtroom, skating to the clerk's table, flashing an easy smile at the jurors. He was lean and wiry and graceful, comfortable in his own skin. When she rose to speak, she felt stiff and mechanical. All those eyes staring at her, judging her. Would she ever have his self-assurance?

An hour earlier, she hadn't even realized she was being held in contempt. Judge Gridley never used the word. He just formed a T with his hands and drawled, "Time-out, y'all. This ain't gonna look good on the instant replay." It was only then that she remembered that the judge was a part-time college football official.

"Mr. Solomon, you oughta know better," Judge Gridley continued. "Miss Lord, you're gonna have to learn. When I say that's enough bickering, that's by-God enough. No hitting after the whistle in my courtroom. Bailiff, show these two squabblers to our finest accommodations."

How humiliating. What would she say to her boss? She remembered Ray Pincher's "two strikes" orientation lecture: "If you're held in contempt, you'll feel blue. If it happens again, you'll be through."
But she wouldn't let it happen again. When they got back into the courtroom, she'd . . .

Shit!

Something was stuck on the velvet toe of her pump.

A sheet of toilet paper!

Grimacing, she scraped it off with the bottom of her other shoe. What else could go wrong?

"Hey, Lord, we're gonna be in here a while." That aggravating voice from the other cell. "So here are the ground rules. When one person has to pee, the other turns around."

She shot a look at the seatless, metal toilet bowl.

Right. As if I'd squat over that fondue pot of festering bacteria.

When she didn't respond, he said: "You still there or you bust out?" Somewhere, deep inside the walls, the plumbing groaned and water gurgled. "Suit yourself, but I gotta take a leak."

What a jerk.

Solomon was one of those men you run into in bars and gyms, she thought, so clueless as to believe they're both witty and charming.

"No peeking," he said.

There was a plague of these men, with a sizable percentage becoming lawyers.

"Unzipping now . . ."

Dear God, scrunch his scrotum, zipper his balls.

"Ahhh," he sighed, the tinkle-tinkle sounding like hailstones on a tin roof. "Ninety-nine bottles of beer on the wall," he sang out. "Ninety-nine bottles of beer . . ."

"I didn't realize they still made men like you," Victoria Lord said.

I'm getting through to her, Steve thought. Sure, she was still playing that old I am strong, I am invincible, I am wo-man shtick, but he sensed a shift in her mood.

There seemed to be something different about the feisty Ms. Lord. Nothing like the court stenographers he usually dated. Quiet, rather submissive women who transcribed whatever they heard. And nothing like the SoBe models, whose brains must have been fried by exposure to so many strobe lights.

He remembered looking around the courtroom when Victoria rose to address the judge. All the players--from his shifty client to the sleepy bailiff--had been riveted. Jurors, witnesses, cops, probation officers, jailers, clerks, public defenders. Hell, everybody watched her, even when he was talking. Yeah, she was a natural, with the kind of pizzazz they can't teach in law school.

Maybe the best rookie I've ever seen.

Of course, she had a rigid prosecutorial mentality, but he could work on that, once she forgave him for suckering her into contempt. Not that he minded the downtime. To him, this eight-by-eight cell was a cozy second home, a pied-ˆ-terre with a view of the Miami River from the barred window. Hell, they ought to put his name on the door, like a luxury suite at Pro Player Stadium. Failing that, he scribbled on the cell wall:

Stephen Solomon, Esq.
"Beating the state's butt for nine years"
Call UBE-FREE, 822-3733

Steve preferred to defend the truly innocent, but where would he find them? If people didn't lie, cheat, and steal, he figured he'd be starving, instead of clearing about the same as a longshoreman at the Port of Miami who worked overtime and stole an occasional crate of whiskey. Steve usually settled for what he called "honest criminals," felons who ran afoul of technicalities that would not be illegal in a live-and-let-live society. Bookies, hookers, or entrepreneurs like today's client, Amancio Pedrosa, who imported exotic animals with a blithe disregard of the law.

Steve glanced into Victoria's cell. She had resumed pacing, a tigress in a cage. Her tailored plaid jacket was draped over an arm. An expensive outfit, he was sure, but wrong for the jury. The high neck accentuated her--well, stiff-neckedness. She should ditch that Puritan look, get something open at the collar, a bright blouse underneath. The matching skirt was fine, a little tighter than he'd expect on the prim prosecutor. A nice ass for someone so flat on top.

"What do you say, after we get out, we hit Bayside, dive into a pitcher of margaritas?" he said.

"I'd rather drink from the toilet bowl."

Keeping her distance for now, he thought. Made sense as long as they were in trial. "Okay, let's wait till we get a verdict. Win or lose, I'll treat you to tapas."

"I'd die of starvation first."

"You might not be aware, but over the years, I've tutored several young women prosecutors."

"I'm aware you've bedded down a few. And rifled their briefcases in the middle of the night."

"Don't believe everything you hear in the cafeteria."

"You're one of those toxic bachelors, a serial seducer. The only thing that shocks me is that some women find you attractive."

Have I missed a signal? Shouldn't she be warming up by now?

"I'll bet any relationship you've had, the woman always ended it," she said.

"My nephew lives with me and scares most women off," Steve said.

"He scares them off?"

"He's kind of a reverse chick magnet."

"That sort of thing genetic?" she asked.

An hour later, her feet still ached and the toilet still gurgled, but at least Solomon had shut up. Victoria hoped he understood that she had no interest in him. You hit some men with a frying pan, they think you're going to make them an omelette.

But as annoying as she found him, the sparring did help pass the time. And if nothing else, jousting with Solomon might sharpen her courtroom tactics. The trick was not to let him provoke her once they were back in front of judge and jury. She made a vow. Even if he led a herd of elephants into the courtroom, she would maintain a Zen-like tranquillity.

If I get back into the courtroom.

She wondered if word had reached Ray Pincher that she'd been sent to the slammer. A shudder went through her, and suddenly she felt both alone and afraid.

Awfully quiet over there, Steve thought, trying to see her through the shadows.

What was she thinking right now? Uptown girl inhaling the stale sweat and toxic cleansers of her own private Alcatraz. Probably planning what she'd tell her boss, that pious phony Ray Pincher. Scared he'd demote her to Traffic Court.

Had he gone too far, Steve wondered, baiting her into those outbursts? Judge Gridley's contempt citations were sort of like calling unsportsmanlike conduct on both teams. But would Pincher understand? Did he even recognize Lord's potential?

Dammit, Steve thought, beginning to feel regretful. He hadn't wanted to hurt her. He was just trying to have some fun while defending his client.

Another worry, too. His nephew, Bobby, barely eleven, was home alone. If Steve was late, who knows what might happen? One day last week, when he rushed through the door just after seven, the kid announced he'd already made dinner. Sure enough, Bobby had found a dead sparrow on the street, covered it with tomato sauce, zonked it in the microwave for an hour, and called it "roasted quail marinara." It had been easier to throw out the microwave than to clean it.

If he ever dated Victoria, he'd introduce her to Bobby, his relationship litmus test. If she responded to the boy's sweetness and warmth--if she saw past his disability--she might be a contender. But if she was repulsed by Bobby's semi-autistic behavior, Steve would toss her out with his empty bottles of tequila.

Now what the hell was going on? Did he just hear a sniffle?

I will not cry, Victoria told herself.

She didn't know what had come over her. A feeling of being totally inadequate. A loser and a failure and a fraud. Dammit, what baggage had spilled out of the closet without her even knowing it?

"You okay?" Steve Solomon called out.

Shit, what did he want now? A lone tear tracked down her face, and then another. Great. Her mascara would turn to mud.

"Hey, everything all right?" he asked.

"Just great."

"Look, I'm sorry if I--"

"Shut up, okay?"

The clatter of footsteps and the jangle of keys interrupted them. Moments later, a man's voice echoed down the dim passageway. "Ready to go back to work?"

"Go away, Woody," Steve said. "You're disturbing my nap."

Elwood Reed, the elderly bailiff, skinny as an axe blade in his baggy brown uniform, appeared in front of their cells. He hitched up his pants. "Mr. Pincher wants to see both of you, pronto."

A chill went through Victoria. Pincher could fire her in an instant.

"Tell Pincher I don't work for him," Steve said.

"Tell him yourself," Reed retorted, fishing for the right key. "He's waiting in Judge Gridley's chambers and he ain't happy."

Reed unlocked their cells, and they headed down the passageway, Steve whistling a tune, jarringly off-key, and Victoria praying she still had a job.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 22 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

4 Star

(7)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 22 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 19, 2007

    Not today

    Good story, but predictable and cheesey.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2006

    LOVE this author

    I could not put this book down. I started it on a Saturday morning, scrapped my plans for the day and finished it in about 7 hours. It is a fantastic book with great characters, witty dialogue, great plot. I just wish Mr. Levine could put out a book about every three months!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    A witty, irreverent and laugh out loud legal thriller

    The first time they met it was in court when she was the prosecutor and he was the defense attorney. Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord ignited sparks in their arguments leading to the judge throwing both in jail for contempt of court. When they get out, her boss tells her he¿s on probation but Solomon irritates her so much that she bad mouths him again in open court. This time her boss fires Victoria.................... When Katriana¿s wealthy husband Charles Barkdale dies during a bondage game that went too far, the police charge her with murder and believe she purposely strangled her spouse. Victoria agrees to defend Kat but makes the mistake of telling Solomon who beats her to Kat¿s house and gives her a phony story that he and Victoria are partners and she needs his experience if she hopes to be acquitted. Victoria is furious but has no choice but to work with Solomon because she needs the money. Solomon also needs a miracle to keep custody of his nephew an autistic savant who was physically abused by his mother. Even though Vickie is engaged to a decent and proper man, she has strong feelings for Steve and his nephew she represents them in juvenile court while they work together on Kat¿s murder case............... Paul Levine has written a witty, irreverent and laugh out loud legal thriller that will have readers laughing out mindful of Winger-Redford¿s Legal Eagles. This book makes readers feel good about lawyers, a Herculean task that Mr. Levine manages with seeming ease. The two protagonists are polar opposites yet they are a perfect match in and out of court. The hero¿s nephew plays a major role by adding an extra delightful dimension to this legal thriller.................. Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2012

    Paul Levine writes dialogue like a well-matched tennis game, bou

    Paul Levine writes dialogue like a well-matched tennis game, bouncing
    back and forth between the characters with skill and excitement. Not
    since The African Queen have I seen such well-developed tension between
    two characters. Victoria Lord and Steve Solomon feed off each other and
    light up the page. Victoria's high-society life and strong ethics clash
    with Steve's laid-back, bend-the-law attitude. They are fire and ice in
    the courtroom, in their office, and in their might-be romance that
    sizzles with each interaction. I could not put this book down. Both
    of these characters leapt from the story into my heart. I can't wait to
    see what they do next. Solomon vs Lord is a fast-paced, well-plotted
    courtroom mystery set in South Florida that is anything but lawyerly. I
    LOVED it! Victoria Allman author of: SEAsoned: A Chef's Journey with
    Her Captain

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 30, 2011

    Good.

    I enjoyed much of the book, the two opposing attorneys, the nephew, the eccentric characters around the courtroom. By the end I was clicking pages pretty quickly to see what would happen next. One drawback was that the lead character Solomon was portrayed too much like a middle school jerk. With those qualities it was hard to believe he could accomplish as much as he did. I did have trouble seeing Lord's motivations. Notwithstanding, I've gone on to read others in the series and see character growth. And there's good stuff here with cultural commentary I appreciated.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 24, 2006

    What a great surprise!

    I just happened across this book...never heard of it or the author...but am I ever glad I gave it a try. It was a real fun story, a good 'whodunit' with lots of humor. The characters are great! I will definitely keep an eye out for other books by Mr Levine.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2006

    Solomon VS. Lord

    When Victoria Lord loses her high powered position in the state attorney's office, she finds a new job not with a friend, but with Steve Solomon, a man who could be described as her best enemy. They are polar opposites, at least on the surface, but it is this combination of by the book and break any rule that does not work that might be a society widow's best shot at freedom when she is accused of killing her rich husband in a most humiliating fashion. Moreover, Victoria could well be Steve's lifeline in a custody case. Dare he hope that her pretend role as fiancee could become real? Yes, she's engaged to another guy, but the other guy is boring, and Steve is fun. Besides, his nephew needs Vicki, and they work well together, sort of anyway. It may be a match made somewhat south of heaven, but it's a match of wits and hearts. **** This is a fun book that combines a modern tone with an old fashioned flair reminescent of Tracy and Hepburn with a side order of Perry Mason. It's a very character driven story. Despite a profusion of profane language, there is a goodness about both main characters that will win your affection. ****

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 3, 2005

    Must Read

    Excellent book! Laugh out loud funny, loveable characters, and great storyline. Recommended to anyone

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2005

    how to win romantic feelings

    Lord and Solomon remind me a lot of the TV show 'Moonlighting', with the banter between Willis and Shepard. I always find that amusing with the different comebacks and swipes each give to the other. Have lent book to many other people who have lent it to their friends. Definitely looking forward to the next book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 28, 2005

    Best thing I've read in months!

    I love, love, love these characters and the zany dialogue. I am an attorney and I gobble up books in this genre like mini-cupcakes. If you enjoy Janet Evanovich, and you're tired and disappointed with the recent releases of old favs like Patricia Cornwell, then head on over to Paul Levine! My mother loaned this book to me after I heard her laugh out loud at least a dozen times while reading it. You will be laughing from the first page when the primary characters, Victoria Lord and Steve Solomon, are engaging in hilarious dialogue while sitting in separate jail cells for contempt of court. The other thing I loved about the book is the heart-warming sub-plot concerning Steve's autistic nephew...just warm enough to make Steve human without dripping goo all over the place. I did find the Yale vs. low-end law school bit to be very stereotypical, but it wasn't bothersome enough to drop a star. Run out and grab this one TODAY and you'll be laughing within minutes.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2005

    SOLOMON VS. LORD IS A BLAST

    Paul Levine is a master storyteller who, sentence by sentence, spins ingenious yarns of the American justice system that are not only intriguing, but extremely humorous. He ranks high among the very few contemporary novelists who actually make reading fun. SOLOMON VS. LORD is a blast.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2005

    Not to be missed

    I enjoyed Paul Levine's Solomon vs. Lord more than any book in recent memory. I always have liked legal thrillers, but this one stands head and shoulders above most because of the irrepressible humor. Victoria Lord and Steve Solomon, the two main characters, are as witty as any Tracy-Hepburn movie characters, but much more irreverent. Not only did I stay awake until 3:00 AM to finish the book, but I often laughed out loud. I can't wait for Levine's next Solomon vs Lord novel.

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    Posted October 27, 2008

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