Friday, April 3, 2009

Review: Illegal by Paul Levine

Book Info:
Illegal by Paul Levine
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Bantam (March 24, 2009)
ISBN-13: 978-0553806731
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Rating: 4/5

Haunted by a tragedy in his past and wanted by the cops for his latest malfeasance, Jimmy Payne needs to skip town. That’s when he crosses paths with twelve-year-old Tino Perez, newly arrived from Mexico with no money and no papers. The gutsy kid first robs Payne, then pleads for his help. Marisol, the boy’s mother, is missing, after crossing the border with a vicious coyote.

Following a chain of greed, corruption, and betrayal, Payne traces Marisol’s steps from Mexicali to California’s Hellhole Canyon. Before long, the cynical lawyer and the savvy kid are bonding…and battling predators on both sides of the border. It’s the two of them against an army of cops, coyotes, vigilantes, and sex slavers. Most dangerous of all is Simeon Rutledge, a wealthy rancher and the biggest employer of farm workers in California.

I have never had the pleasure of reading a Paul Levine book before, but Illegal and Jimmy Payne have made me a fan!

Jimmy Payne is one of those characters who really isn't all that likeable, and yet, I find myself liking him. He's gone through some rough times, he can be sarcastic and has a smart reply for most situations, but under all that bluster he really is a nice guy.

Tino, the boy that Jimmy is helping, is a funny kid. He's scrappy and street smart, and he curses quite a bit, but it's usually in Spanish. I think I enjoyed this character so much because he reminded me of my brothers at that age.

The other thing I really liked about this book is that it isn't your typical mystery. There aren't bodies piling up with cops looking for the killer. In Illegal, you pretty much know what is going on throughout the book, but that doesn't take away from the suspense at all. The book also centers around a political hot topic and I think that also adds another great element to the story. No matter which side you come in on, you will be able to find a character that shares your views.

Illegal is a great start to a new series and can't wait to see what trouble Jimmy Payne gets himself into next. 4 stars

Order Illegal

Paul Levine's Website


Sandy Nawrot said...

I love the atypical mystery...there are so many out there, and its refreshing. I also like the protaqgonist that is edgy, and you're not sure you like or not. I may order this from the library.

Literary Feline said...

I am really looking forward to reading this one. It sounds great. Thanks for the review!