I was a Paul Levine fan from his Jake Lassiter series and his work on TV's JAG when I heard he was writing a new series, Solomon vs. Lord, based in part on his real-life marriage. Knowing the characters were supposed to end up together, I was afraid I wouldn't believe it when they did. As guarded as I was, I loved the whole series, four books published six months apart. I'm pleased to see the series re-released as ebooks.
Paul presents this sample of Solomon's Laws:
"When the law doesn’t work...work the law."
Photo by Alan Weissman
So says Steve Solomon. It’s his First Commandment, and you won’t find it in the statute books. Which makes the following conversation even stranger. A Miami lawyer recently told me that he uses “Solomon’s Laws” to train young associates in his firm.
That’s akin to teaching manners to sharks by tossing them chunks of red meat.
"Someone's gonna get disbarred," I told the lawyer.
“No way. Those laws teach lawyers to be fearless and creative.”
Also irreverent, insolent, and contemptuous. I ought to know. After all, I practiced law for 17 years and had my share of courtroom victories, defeats, and being held in contempt. Honestly.
I also created Steve Solomon, a beer and burger guy with a night school degree and a crooked smile. He’s the rule-breaking half of Solomon & Lord, while Victoria Lord is his proper and meticulous partner. Victoria graduated from Yale and believes in the sanctity of the law.
In SOLOMON VS. LORD, these squabblers extraordinaire defend a young woman accused of killing her wealthy, older husband during a night of kinky sex. Reviewers have compared the bickering law partners to Nick and Nora in The Thin Man, Dave and Maddie in "Moonlighting" and Tracy and Hepburn in well...everything.
So what are Solomon’s qualifications as a legal philosopher? Well, he barely graduated from Key West School of Law; he passed the Bar exam on his fourth try; he advertises on the back of buses; and he’s frequently held in contempt of court. Atticus Finch, he’s not.
I always believed there was something special in the attorney-client relationship, and so does Solomon, who has this advice for clients: "Lie to your priest, your spouse, and the I.R.S. But always tell your lawyer the truth."
On the other hand, there’s this advice for lawyers: “Always assume your client is guilty. It saves time.”
In jury selection, I always used this rule, now codified in THE DEEP BLUE ALIBI: “Choose a juror the way you choose a lover. Someone who doesn’t expect perfection and forgives your bullshit.”
Some of Solomon’s Laws have nothing to do with the practice lf law, but rather reflect hard lessons learned from his checkered personal life: “When meeting an ex-girlfriend you dumped, always assume she’s armed.” In Florida, with the proliferation of concealed firearms permits, that’s a particularly appropriate rule.
Here’s a law from KILL ALL THE LAWYERS that used to get me in trouble.
"A creative lawyer considers a judge’s order a mere suggestion."
Then there's this law, which pops up after Solomon encounters a sunbathing femme fatale: “When you run across a naked woman, act as if you’ve seen one before.” If you ask whether that one is based on personal experience, I’ll plead the Fifth.
For an overview of criminal law, here’s a tidy observation from HABEAS PORPOISE: “A prosecutor’s job is to build a brick wall around her case. A defense lawyer’s job is to tear down the wall, or at least to paint graffiti on the damn thing.”
That’s the thing about Steve Solomon...he never runs out of paint.
(The Solomon vs. Lord novels have been nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, and James Thurber awards. All four legal thrillers are now Kindle Exclusives. For more information, please visit the author’s website: http://www.paul-levine.com)
For a Q & A with Paul, head over to Chatterrific.
And for a taste of Steve and Victoria's chemistry, I'm giving away Paul's short story "Solomon & Lord Sink or Swim" for Kindle thanks to Authors on the Web.
To enter, email g_so AT yahoo DOT com with the subject line "Sink or Swim Giveaway". One entry per person. Emails must be received by Wednesday, May 9, 11:59 P.M. Eastern. Winner will be notified and announced Thursday, May 10.