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.