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Pondering the pages ~ Illegal by Paul Levine

April 9, 2009

Today’s pondering:

illegalJ. Atticus Payne, the star of Paul Levine’s newest suspense thriller Illegal has more trouble than he can handle. His life is unraveling and he hasn’t got a thread to grab. His law career is slip sliding away. His personal life is nonexistent. He’s in love with his ex-wife and she’s engaged to a local hot shot, loud mouthed TV pundit. J. Atticus isn’t even his real name. And, of all things, he’s accused of bribing a judge and on the run to nowhere fast. Add into this mix his world has been torn apart by a terrible and tragic accident for which he blames himself and suffers debilitating guilt. He’s a tortured and tormented lost soul. Then Tino, a young illegal immigrant, cross paths with Payne. Tino is searching for his mami. While attempting a Border crossing they’ve become separated. Tino is bound and determined to be reunited with his mother and enlists Payne’s help on this foolhardy mission. But will the search for Tino’s mother be his saving grace or the end of Payne?

I loved Illegal. Right for the start I was on Payne’s side. He is the consummate broken down good guy with a heart of gold and redeeming faults. How could I not be in his corner? I figured this book would take the usual twists and turns but there were some surprises along way. Payne and Tino face insurmountable odds both in the US and Mexico. Tino is by the far the most resourceful young man I’ve come across. His antics are clever and effective. There are times when Payne rues the day Tino came into his life. There is corruption throughout, high speed chases, small town cops, human trafficking, and a wealth of tight spots that keeps the reader entertained page after page. It gets a bit rough and tumble, touch and go but eventually the results justify the means.

Mr. Levin is a new-to-me author but I’m looking forward to getting better acquainted with his work. If his other novels are as engrossing as Illegal I expect this will be a rewarding and worthwhile reader/author relationship.


A good book should leave you…slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading it.
~William Styron, interview, Writers at Work, 1958



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