Paul Levine

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Paul Levine
Paul Levine.jpg
Genre Teleplays and Legal thriller
Notable works JAG
Notable awards John D. MacDonald Award for Excellence in Florida Fiction[1]
Years active 1990–

Paul Levine (born January 9, 1948) is an American author of crime fiction, particularly legal thrillers. He has written two series, known generally by the names of the protagonists: Jake Lassiter and Solomon vs. Lord.[2] His novels have been translated into 21 languages.


Born in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Levine graduated from Pennsylvania State University in 1969, where he was editor in chief of the newspaper The Daily Collegian.[3] He received his J.D. from the University of Miami in 1973. A lawyer before becoming a writer, he was (among other positions) a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and a legal commentator on television.[2]


One of his main characters was Jake Lassiter, an ex-Penn State linebacker and lawyer, who has appeared in 10 novels. Lassiter has been described by Booklist as “one of the most entertaining series characters in contemporary crime fiction” and by The Miami Herald as having “a lot more charisma than Perry Mason ever did.”[4]

Arguing Miami lawyers Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord appeared in four books. The interaction between the law partners has been described by as “reminiscent of the very best of David and Maddie in Moonlighting.”[5] The Chicago Sun-Times' review of Solomon vs. Lord declared: "Remarkably fresh and original with characters you can't help loving and sparkling dialog that echoes the Hepburn-Tracy screwball comedies."[6]


To Speak for the Dead was listed as one of the ten best mysteries of the year by the Los Angeles Times, which described Lassiter as “Travis McGee with a law degree.”[7] A screen adaptation of the book – with the setting moved from Miami to New Orleans and re-titled "Jake Lassiter: Justice on the Bayou" – appeared as an NBC movie-of-the-week in 1995, produced by Stephen J. Cannell and starring Gerald McRaney as Lassiter.[8]

Levine's novel, Illegal, featured Jimmy (Royal) Payne, a down-on-his-luck Los Angeles lawyer who is caught up in a human trafficking scheme. Calling the book a “riveting read,” Booklist noted: “The portrait of the dangers and predations that Latinos face crossing the border is chilling and rings with authenticity."[9]

Other writings[edit]

Levine also wrote 9 Scorpions, a thriller set at the Supreme Court of the United States. (Published in 1998 by Simon & Schuster, the novel is still in print under the title "Impact").

Levine moved from Florida to Los Angeles in 1999 to accept an invitation from his friend, television producer and fellow Penn State alumnus Don Bellisario, to become a writer on the CBS military series JAG.[10] He wrote 21 teleplays for the series, which aired from 1995 to 2005.[11][better source needed] Levine and Bellisario also co-created the 2002 CBS drama series First Monday, starring Joe Mantegna as a new U.S. Supreme Court justice and James Garner as the chief justice.[12][13]


  • To Speak for the Dead (1990)
  • Night Vision (1991)
  • False Dawn (1993)
  • Mortal Sin (1994)
  • Slashback (1995) (re-titled Riptide)
  • Fool Me Twice (1996)
  • Flesh & Bones (1997)
  • 9 Scorpions (1998) (re-titled Impact)
  • Solomon vs. Lord (2005)
  • The Deep Blue Alibi (2006)
  • Kill All the Lawyers (2006)
  • Trial & Error (2007) (re-titled Habeas Porpoise)
  • Illegal (2009)
  • The Road to Hell (2010) (short story anthology)
  • Ballistic (2011)
  • Lassiter (2011)
  • Paydirt (2012)
  • Last Chance Lassiter (2012)
  • State vs. Lassiter (2013)
  • Bum Rap (2015)


  1. ^ Oline H. Cogdill and By David J. Montgomery (February 26, 2006), "Love and law—The Deep Blue Alibi. Paul Levine", Sun-Sentinel (Broward County, Florida) 
  2. ^ a b Levine, Paul 1948-, Contemporary Authors (2008 ed.)  – via HighBeam Research (subscription required).
  3. ^ Alumni, The Collegian, retrieved 2015-06-16 
  4. ^ "Lassiter's Latest: A Patricide in Sobe," by Connie Ogle, The Miami Herald, January 5, 1997.
  5. ^ "Solomon vs. Lord," Book Review by Joe Hartlaub, September 30, 2005
  6. ^ Review, Solomon vs. Lord, by David J. Montgomery, Chicago Sun-Times, October 17, 2005.
  7. ^ "Bloody Sunday," by Charles Champlin, Los Angeles Times, September 9, 1990, Book Review, p. 10.
  8. ^ Chauncey Mabe, "Murder Zone: Miami Writer Paul Levine's Whodunit Hero Jake Lassiter Character Tackles The Airwaves." Sun-Sentinel, January 7, 1995.
  9. ^ Booklist, Review by Thomas Gaughan, March 2009.
  10. ^ Gloria Goodale, "'JAG' writer pursues passion, breaks Hollywood's age barrier", The Christian Science Monitor, August 6, 1999.
  11. ^
  12. ^ Julie Salamon, "Justices Divided, Searching For Drama", The New York Times, January 15, 2002.
  13. ^ Jenn Heinold, "Alumni on the inside track of television", The Daily Collegian, January 18, 2002.

External links[edit]