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FALSE DAWN (Jake Lassiter Legal Thrillers Book 3) Kindle Edition

4 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Length: 303 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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From Publishers Weekly

Levine's third novel starring lawyer and ex-Miami Dolphin Jake Lassiter (after To Speak for the Dead ) mixes an international conspiracy stew out of a huge list of ingredients that includes Cuban socialists, Cuban exiles, Japanese art smugglers, double-dealing CIA agents and even a beautiful operative from the Finnish Intelligence Agency. Lassiter, working at the Miami firm of Harman and Fox, is asked to defend his old friend Francisco Crespo, who cheerfully admits that he murdered a Russian co-worker by skewering him on a forklift. But medical evidence indicates that Crespo was unconscious at the time of the Russian's death. Why is he lying? Things become a little clearer when Lassiter receives a veiled warning from Matsuo Yagamata, Crespo's employer and a big Harman and Fox client, and a lot clearer when Yagamata displays the contents of a Faberge egg he has no business owning. By then it's pretty obvious what's going on, so the real question becomes: who's on what side? The answer changes literally chapter by chapter, with double-, triple- and quadruple-crosses piling up to the point of self-parody. The silliness is redeemed only by the character of Levine's hero and narrator. Lassiter is like the sole halfback in a field full of quarterbacks: he just takes the ball and runs, and whoever hands him the ball points him in another direction. A quirky little mystery with enough twists and turns to satisfy Robert Ludlum fans and a unique hero who will always be more of a ball-carrier than a playmaker.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Beefcake Miami lawyer Jake Lassiter (To Speak for the Dead, Night Vision) is determined to save Francisco Crespo, his old landlady's son, from a murder charge Francisco wants to plead guilty to--little realizing he's buying into a fantastically twisted plot to steal billions worth of Russian-owned art. It isn't long before Jake starts to suspect the man who's paying his bill--Francisco's wealthy employer, import king Matsuo Yagamata-- of involvement in the murder of Soviet ‚migr‚ Vladimir Smorodinsky. Ignoring the mitigating depositions of two witnesses his go-getting new investigator, Lourdes Soto, has dug up, he concentrates instead on a few suspiciously pricey artworks--the Faberg‚ egg Yagamata has been proudly displaying, a Matisse canvas Lourdes's rabid anti-Castro father Severo has hanging on his wall--that are supposed to be in the Hermitage. But just as Francisco is about to come clean with Jake about what appears to be a grandly scaled robbery, he's killed by someone who leaves Jake holding the door for the local police and treacherous, protean CIA agent Robert T. Foley. Foley's entrance pushes Levine way over the top. Telling Jake first that the CIA has been trying to round up the artworks to return them to Russia, then that the US helped party regulars steal them in order to set them up for Gorbachev to oust, he tries to frame Jake for Francisco's murder, then blackmail him into conspiring with the CIA to return the paintings, then trick him into releasing them to Foley as a free-lance thief, and finally negotiate a finder's fee as Foley's lawyer so that Yeltsin's Russia can pay to recover them. He doesn't realize--and neither does Jake, who's two steps behind everybody this time--that the Soto family have plenty of surprises up their own sleeves. Entertainingly audacious, though eventually the incessant double- crossing gets tiring. Jake's law degree turns out to be a lot less useful than his demi-season with the Dolphins. -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2083 KB
  • Print Length: 303 pages
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Nittany Valley Productions, Inc. (Nov. 7 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B003ZK5KNO
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #75,123 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Paul Levine kicks butt. He's just plain a great author, and his characters and places stick in your mind.
This particular story isn't one of his best, but it's certainly a dang good read nonetheless. I strongly urge any fan of detective/lawyer/murder stories to run out and buy a couple of Levine's books, because not only will you enjoy the stories, and the hero, but you'll also find yourself laughing out loud from time to time.
And that's what books are supposed to do (in my opinion, anyway)- entertain you!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa21e4900) out of 5 stars 123 reviews
26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa21d6930) out of 5 stars A must read -- just ignore the sloppy HTML errors Aug. 24 2010
By Kathleen W. Hayward - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a must read in the Jake Lassiter series. For those coming in late, start the series chronologically with the excellent and award winning TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD (The Jake Lassiter Series). While Levine's second offering in this series, NIGHT VISION (The Jake Lassiter Series), was over wrought, FALSE DAWN returns to the tight writing and clever turns of plot that characterized TO SPEAK FOR THE DEAD.

Less that 1/3 of the way in, what seemed clear will be turned on its head, causing most readers to stay up half the night to sort it all out. Character development is excellent, leaving at least this reader wishing he could lift a brew with some of the protagonists (and even with some of the fully fleshed out antagonists).

I would have give this Kindle Version 5 starts, but the download is full of typos and odd sentence breaks that are irritating. (Similar sloppiness can be found in the download of NIGHT VISION.

It is wonderful to have back list novels now available for the Kindle, but typos and other odd formatting need to be cleaned up prior to offering a back list book as a Kindle download.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa240118c) out of 5 stars "Duck Feathers And Flapdoodle!" July 21 2005
By Konrei - Published on
Format: Paperback
"False dawn" is an atmospheric anomaly which causes the observer to believe that sunrise is about to peek over the horizon---at 3 AM. As a metaphor for illusion, Paul Levine could have picked no better title for this, his third Jake Lassiter novel, in which nothing is as it appears.

Jake, Levine's comic hero ex-linebacker, ex-Public Defender, ex-a-lot-of-things, is initially hired to defend small-time hood Francisco Crespo on a murder charge. As Jake investigates the circumstances, he realizes that Crespo is not only Not Guilty of killing fellow longshoreman Vladimir Smorodinsky---he is clearly innocent, having been unconscious at the time of the killing. Yet, Crespo seems willing to take the rap. Jake asks him why---and Crespo is shortly thereafter found dead.

Jake's hunt for the truth, which takes up the entire second half of the book, quickly begins to resemble a bucket full of freshly-dug earthworms.

It seems that Crespo's employer, Japanese industrialist and art collector Matsuo Yagamata has business contacts in Moscow, and that Crespo's killer is a man named Kharchenko aka former KGB man Stankevich, and that the CIA's man on the scene, Foley, is an art thief or just maybe it's all been bought and paid for and is in safekeeping, and that Jake's new girl, the stunning blonde sailboarder Jillian from Minnesota is really a Finnish agent, Eva Lisa from Helsinki, and that the Cuban patriot-Exilado Severo Soto and his daughter Lourdes are really working for the CIA, or possibly it's the KGB, or it might be Fidel Castro, or maybe not, and that the Faberge egg at the center of it all is a forgery, or maybe only a rock, shades of THE MALTESE FALCON.

In short, the plot has more twists and turns than the Monte Carlo Grand Prix. A simple double-cross doesn't exist anywhere in the world of FALSE DAWN, but there are too many sextuple and septuple-crosses going on to count.

Poor Jake, who incessantly seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, complains more than once that he can't tell the good guys from the bad guys and the players without a scorecard. He isn't the only one struggling with this overwrought story, which sags dangerously low under the weight of its plot.

Levine's audacious attempt to write a good old-fashioned Cold War espionage tale doesn't quite make the grade. The reader becomes lost in this rococo tale of patriotism and betrayal; I imagined Levine writing with a flow chart at his side, and wished I'd had one to follow along (never a good wish in light fiction). Levine totally loses control of the story about two-thirds of the way through and it avalanches toward a denoument that leaves the reader with an unsatisfying sense of ends left loose.

Rather than drawing his characters in simple black and white, Levine chooses to paint in various shades of gray. Without clear right and wrong archetypes, in the end FALSE DAWN leaves the reader feeling just as dazed as Lassiter himself.

Still, Jake Lassiter remains a sympathetic and likeable character. Levine's barbed observations about life in the social hodgepodge that is South Florida always ring true, from the Exilados to the Marielitos to the Russians, the Blacks and the Jews; not to overlook the Finns in Lake Worth. As bizarre as it all seems, we locals know these people exist as Levine presents them.

FALSE DAWN, though by far not Levine's best work, remains more than the sum of its parts.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa25c036c) out of 5 stars Great read with both history and politics in it March 13 2012
By S. Freeman - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I really enjoy the Jake Lassiter novels. I read them on my Kindle Fire when I'm flying or during lunch at the office. This one does have more than the usual number of plot twists and is more international in scope. Most of the foreigners depicted in the novel are not very PC, but bad guys seldom are and a crime drama has to have a few villians to be interesting. My biggest problem with the Jake Lassiter series is being able to put them down in time to still get a good nights sleep.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa21e8978) out of 5 stars Not Levine's best- but his average is better than most! Dec 4 2000
By Paul Cox - Published on
Format: Paperback
Paul Levine kicks butt. He's just plain a great author, and his characters and places stick in your mind.
This particular story isn't one of his best, but it's certainly a dang good read nonetheless. I strongly urge any fan of detective/lawyer/murder stories to run out and buy a couple of Levine's books, because not only will you enjoy the stories, and the hero, but you'll also find yourself laughing out loud from time to time.
And that's what books are supposed to do (in my opinion, anyway)- entertain you!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa21d2690) out of 5 stars Wonderfully Improbable and Loads of Fun Aug. 30 2013
By Mark T Stephens - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If you like to read mysteries please read the works of Paul Levine. I just finished "False Dawn," the third installment in the Lassiter series. I read the book in two nights and if I did not have to go to work, I would have read it one. In this novel Mr. Levine creates an aura of the most improbably crazy outcomes being completely accepted as naturally occurring. The sheer craziness kept me reading to see what could possibly happen next. But it is only the appearance of being out of control. The book is tightly written and completely under Mr. Levine's thumbs. You will know that when you get to the ending, which closes every plot line and satisfies all questions.