Darker and wider-ranging than Levine's Solomon vs. Lord series, Illegal follows Marisol Perez and her twelve-year-old son, Tino, forced to flee Mexico after Tino runs afoul of Marisol's boss. When Marisol and Tino are separated crossing into the U.S., Tino follows his mother's instructions and searches for Van Nuys lawyer J. Atticus Payne.
Unfortunately, since coming to the aid of some illegals two years earlier, Jimmy Payne has lost his son in a hit-and-run accident. Closing himself off, Payne engaged in extreme denial, leading to the breakup of his marriage.
When Tino finds him, Payne is on the run after being forced to cooperate with a bribery sting gone bad. After hearing Tino's story, Jimmy's ex-wife Det. Sharon Payne lets Jimmy and Tino go retrace Marisol's path to the States.
Each character's journey unfolds vividly and believably. Levine's short chapters keep up the pace, yet are nonetheless captivating reading. On sale March 24.