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Monday, August 3, 2015


4 stars out of 5

Even though author Paul Levine doesn't look anywhere nearly old enough to have written for the ABC TV series Moonlighting that aired from 1985 to 1989, this book so reminded me of the interaction between the characters played by Cybill Shepard and Bruce Willis that I actually checked to see if his name is listed anywhere in the writing credits. The biggest difference between the TV show and the book in my mind is that  the former pair were partners in a private investigation firm and the two in this book - Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord - are lawyers. Aha, I said to myself - it's also more than a little reminiscent of another more recent TV show, NBC's Harry's Law, starring Kathy Bates (there's even a list of "Solomon's Laws," the first of which is, "When the law doesn't the law").

I looked for Levine's name in the credits of that show as well, but I didn't find it there either. So, I'll say simply that anyone who enjoyed the bickering, sexual innuendos and snarky one-liners on either or both of those shows most likely will love this book - the first of a series of four. The dynamic duo first meet in court when the two are opposing counsel. Lord is totally put off by Solomon's devil-may-care courtroom antics that come close to crossing the ethics line, and he's relentless in his attempts to ruffle the feathers of the newly minted state's attorney whom Solomon considers to be "hot" but way too straight-laced. Needless to say, he's successful - and as a result they both end up in the pokey on contempt charges.

Ultimately, mostly thanks to Solomon's badgering, Lord gets fired. In theory, that's not a huge problem since she's engaged to a wealthy but nice (think ho-hum) guy who wants her to join his business. But Lord isn't quite ready to give up the courtroom (nor, given her soon-to-be husband's vegetarian bent, her meat).  And by now Solomon is in lust and will do just about anything to convince her she's got a place in his firm - and his bed - so let the games begin. 

Then, a local millionaire bites the dust, supposedly the victim of sex play with his trophy wife gone wrong. Lord, who knows the now-widow, wants to take the case, and Solomon convinces her to let him help. Meanwhile, Solomon is fighting a battle of his own. A while back, it seems, he "rescued" his druggie sister's young son Bobby, who's been seriously abused and exhibits autistic and savant characteristics (he's a pro at anagrams, for instance). The local powers-that-be want the child put in a place where he can be prodded, poked and tested - and Solomon will do just about anything to keep that from happening.

The book follows the murder and custody cases both in and out of court, all the while showcasing the love-hate "relationship" between Solomon and Lord. In spots, the dialog is chuckle-out-loud funny; in a few others, it gets downright silly, prompting me to go with 4 stars instead of 5. Still, it's an easy-to-read romp, and now I'm looking forward to the other books in the series.

Solomon vs. Lord by Paul Levine (Bantam Dell, 2005); 578 pp.

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