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ILLEGAL (Jimmy ("Royal") Payne Legal Thriller Book 1) Kindle Edition

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Length: 386 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Product Description


Riveting ... filled with action, pathos, and even humor. ... The book’s best quality is the way Levine invests his characters with believable humanity.”—Booklist

Product Description

A down-and-out L.A. lawyer with nothing to lose...
A beautiful Mexican woman and her son who disappear crossing the border...
And the corrupt rancher who schemes to destroy them all. 

Set in the world of human trafficking and sex slavery, this a "masterful tale from one of the most skillful practitioners of the modern thriller."

"Chilling and rings with authenticity. Levine invests his characters with believable humanity. Compulsively readable thriller." -- Booklist

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1569 KB
  • Print Length: 386 pages
  • Publisher: Nittany Valley Productions, Inc.; 1 edition (March 6 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B007Q4RO5W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #113,561 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xb8e85300) out of 5 stars 278 reviews
60 of 62 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fb7003c) out of 5 stars Depressing, but fascinating April 9 2009
By H. Grove (errantdreams) - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Some of the characters start off feeling a bit flat, particularly the expectably spunky and tough-talking Tino, but thankfully they grow into their roles, around much the same time that I started finding the book more dark than depressing. I never really could figure out why on earth Sharon was with her current fiancee, however; Levine never succeeds in making him seem charming enough to counterbalance his total jackassery.

The details of the human trafficking in illegals are fascinating, and definitely bring the book alive. We get to see plenty of sides to the issue under many different circumstances. The author never tries to reduce the issue to some platitude or provide a magical solution. Instead, he allows it to simply act as an incredible backdrop for his story.

Make no mistake--whether you agree that this book is depressing or not, it's definitely dark. There are themes and often scenes of murder, abuse, sexual abuse, rape, attempted rape, attempted pedophilia, and more. Illegal isn't for everyone.

My only other reservation is that some of the details at the end wrap up entirely too neatly. I don't want to give the events away; I'll merely say that there are things that hang over Jimmy's head for most of the novel as dire threats that are swept under the rug with barely an explanation when the time comes to wrap things up, and it broke the ability to suspend disbelief for me.

This is definitely a fascinating thriller, and if you're looking for a peek into the dark world of illegal immigrants and human trafficking then definitely give it a shot. But it does have a few flaws.
29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fb70090) out of 5 stars A combination of real-world situations, nail-biting suspense June 9 2010
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
ILLEGAL is not a Solomon vs. Lord novel. Paul Levine, creator of the unique attorney duo who fought for justice with almost as much passion as they fought each other (and often hilariously so), has created a new mythos, one closer to his Jake Lassiter series than to Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord. His new protagonist is attorney Jimmy "Royal" Payne. While his previous creations made South Florida their home base, Payne is headquartered across the country from them in Los Angeles. The change of locale is accompanied by a darker tone, which is not to say that ILLEGAL finds Levine's well of humor to be dry. Payne uses humor more as a weapon than as a conversational instrument, unlike the characters who populate the author's earlier works. And with good reason.

We come to find out that Payne has experienced a devastating personal tragedy, one that has cost him his family and apparently his judgment. As the book begins, Payne is recruited --- "coerced" may be a better word --- into entrapping a judge in a bribery scheme. He is successful, but, as with many things with which Payne is involved, it backfires badly on him, more so when he is accused of diverting some of the bribery money for himself. The accusation is career-threatening, all the more so because it's true. On the run from the police, Payne crosses paths with a 12-year-old Mexican runaway who is in even more trouble than he is.

Tino Perez and his mother, Marisol, have been forced to flee their native Mexico and use a notorious coyote to negotiate the illegal crossing into the United States. Mother and son become separated along the way, with the result being that Tino suddenly finds himself penniless on the streets of Los Angeles without papers or guidance. His only hope is a business card that his mother slipped him shortly before they lost touch, bearing the address and phone number of a "powerful" attorney: J. Atticus Payne, who had assisted a group of migrant workers in attaining legal status in the U.S. But when Tino ultimately arrives at Payne's place of business, he is disappointed to find a disheveled office and an even more down-at-the-heels Payne. Himself on the run from the police, Payne quickly though inadvertently places Tino in even more jeopardy than he was in previously. Still, Tino notices one quality that his mother had valued above all others: Payne is a man who keeps his promises, and she would describe him as a real valiente.

For reasons of his own, Payne agrees to accompany Tino on a clandestine trip back to Mexico, hoping to retrace Tino's path so they can locate the coyote that disappeared with Marisol and ascertain her whereabouts so that mother and son can be united. Such a task is not easy. Payne and Tino doggedly pursue Marisol's path along a desolate landscape littered with false starts, bad luck and danger at every turn. Marisol, for her part, is being held as a de facto prisoner on a farm that provides the sole income for a small California town and where the word of Sim Rutledge, the owner, is law. Payne and Tino speed toward an uncertain rescue and a deadly, tragic climax where much, but by no means all, is resolved, while more than one innocent life hangs in the balance.

Those familiar with Levine's past work will find that his ever-present penchant for accuracy in the settings of his stories has reached new heights. The varied backdrops of ILLEGAL are more exotic than those featured in his previous novels. For example, Levine could have phoned in a standard border town description in which Payne could have run wild; instead, he takes him down dangerous side streets away from the casual tourists to a bowling alley where bowling is a mere side business. As one reads the book and follows in the footsteps of Marisol, Payne and Tino, the feeling is inescapable that Levine's research wore out more shoe leather than word processing keys. This is true in particular of the slaughterhouse scenes, which will have you at least considering a change in dietary habits. Most significant, however, is his presentation of the problem of illegal immigration. While the illegal immigrants themselves are portrayed in a sympathetic light, Levine does an excellent job of highlighting the issues surrounding them.

The combination of real-world situations, nail-biting suspense and a new character in the Levine mythos make ILLEGAL a title for your must-read list.
27 of 31 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fb704c8) out of 5 stars intelligent fast-paced action-packed hard boiled novel June 3 2010
By L. French - Published on
Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a gift for the man in your life, try "Illegal", the intelligent fast-paced action-packed hard boiled novel by Paul Levine.
The story is about Jimmy (Royal) Payne, an ethically-challenged lawyer who finds himself caught in the world of human trafficking. The story takes place in Southern California and Mexico (local setting), brings up the issues of immigration (intellectual), contains great testosterone-packed fights, laugh-out-loud moments (quotable ones) , and sex scenes. (sensitive souls beware: a few graphic scenes and foul language. A great read!
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fb70894) out of 5 stars Fast Paced but Flawed Thriller May 29 2013
By TimG - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The good:
This was a fast paced thriller with characters that have a lot of emotional baggage. The main character, J. Atticus "Jimmy" Payne is a lawyer whose marriage has fallen apart following a tragic accident. He gets trapped by a bad cop into bribing a crooked judge which leads to his career falling apart as well. Then finds himself facing multiple felony charges. In the past he has helped the survivors of a truckload of immigrants who were left to die of heat exhaustion. Because of this, he is sought out by Tino, a twelve year old boy who has become separated from his mother in their clandestine border crossing. The issue of illegal immigration provides the backdrop for this thriller with murder, rape, slavery, prostitution and attempted pedophilia as some of the abuses facing undocumented workers. The book is an exciting thriller and hard to put down.

The bad:
The dialog in Spanish is terrible. It looks like he used a web based translator program or just asked someone who really didn't speak Spanish well. It is like if a foreigner who speaks English poorly tries to integrate swearing into his speech, but nearly always does it wrong. It is just embarrassing. Probably the worst is that every night, Tino says "Buenos Noches" (rather than "Buenas")to "Himmy" (rather than "Jimmy" or even "Yimmy" which might sound believable).

Jimmy starts with $5,000 in cash and due to his outstanding warrants cannot use credit cards or cash machines. He quickly uses all but a couple hundred dollars on fake documents and bribes but still manages to pay for hotels, meals, gas, baseball gloves and balls, shoes, a chainsaw and he gives $350 to a father to get help for his sick daughter.

Jimmy several times gets the upper hand in fights against greater numbers with guns and knives.

At the end of the book, the outstanding warrants that should lead to hard prison time are all forgotten.

If you can get past these flaws, the book is still an exciting thriller with a deep look into the dark side of illegal immigration.
38 of 49 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9fb70840) out of 5 stars Lawyers Are NOT Action Heroes July 22 2011
By N. Bilmes - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
The protagonist in this novel has a lot going for him personality wise, and quirk wise. Levine has written an overly detailed, yet interesting enough, novel of the hazards of illegally crossing over the Mexico/USA border. It's hard to say whose side of the immigration war Levine favors, as he attempts to present both sides of the argument. The main female lead has more disasters happen to her in this book than Job did in the bible. Readers skilled in foreshadowing processing will have no trouble figuring out what eventually occurs in this book. This book should have been subtitled, "The Idiots Guide to NOT Sneaking Into the USA."

The biggest problem this book has is that the lead lawyer, J. Atticus Payne, keeps busting heads of opponents who are more heavily armed than he is, younger than he is, and who should never let Payne get anywhere near them to begin with. Once a book is OK on the believability scale. Twice is stretching it. This book has it happen 4-5 times, and that makes the whole realism angle fly out the window.

This was an OK book, but I skimmed a lot of the pages.