27 February 2011

Review: THE ROAD TO HELL, Paul Levine

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 444 KB
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Ransom House (February 8, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004MYFU6Y
  • Source: I bought it
The four stories in this anthology have something in common in addition to the word “hell” in their titles.
The heroes travel dark and dangerous paths as they confront devilish and powerful villains. The journeys are by land, by sea, and in one case, perhaps only in the mind.

In El Valiente en el Infierno, (The Brave One in Hell), a 13-year-old Mexican boy tells his own story as he makes a treacherous midnight crossing into California in search of his father. The boy’s courage is tested when he runs into two gun-toting American vigilantes, and the confrontation will change all of them forever.

Development Hell
is a well-known Hollywood term symbolizing the purgatory where projects are stuck in “development,” rather than being made into films. The story imagines a pitch session in which a bedraggled Poe squares off with a slick Hollywood producer who wants to make a cheesy slasher flick out of “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Bookgasm praised the story as “going straight to the funny bone.”

A Hell of a Crime: A prosecutor prepares for a homicide trial while being pestered by his domineering mother, a famous lawyer herself. Just what role did she play in the murder? And how is the prosecutor’s enigmatic wife involved in the case? It’s a mystery with a punch to the gut at the end.

Two of the author’s best-loved characters, Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, appear in Solomon & Lord: To Hell and Back. The ethically-challenged Steve Solomon and the very proper Victoria Lord are mismatched Miami law partners. Steve says he's going fishing with Manuel Cruz, a sleazy con man. Victoria knows that Cruz embezzled a bundle from Steve's favorite client and is an unlikely fishing buddy. So just what is Steve up to now? Something between mischief and murder, Victoria figures. To protect Steve from himself – and Cruz – she hops aboard the boat, and the three of them head for deep water and dark troubles.

My take:
For me the best of the stories was El Valiente en el Infierno and A Hell of a Crime. Both have an interesting twist at the end. I was a lot less interested in Development Hell and I thought To Hell and Back was just too long and felt as if it needed me to be familiar with the the central characters Solomon and Lord, which I'm not. Followers of these characters will probbably feel very differently about this short story.

This e-book also includes quite a large excerpt from MORTAL SIN, a novel featuring Jake Lassiter.
Lassiter is a lawyer with a dangerous conflict of interest. He’s sleeping with Nicky Florio’s wife…and defending the mob-connected millionaire in court. Florio has hatched a scheme deep in the Florida Everglades that oozes corruption, blood, and money. One false move, and Jake will be gator bait.

Whereas in another e-book that I reviewed just recently, DARK BLOOMS, this attempt at hooking me into reading more by the author felt that it worked well, in the case of  THE ROAD TO HELL I'm afraid that it hasn't despite the fact that Paul Levine comes well-credentialled (see below). I actually felt as if I would have preferred more short stories instead of the excerpt.

My rating: 4.1

About the author:
The author of 14 novels, Paul Levine won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and was nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, and James Thurber prizes. A former trial lawyer, he also wrote more than 20 episodes of the CBS military drama “JAG” and co-created the Supreme Court drama “First Monday” starring James Garner and Joe Mantegna. The critically acclaimed international bestseller “To Speak for the Dead” was his first novel. He is also the author of the “Solomon vs. Lord” series and the thriller “Illegal.” His next novel, “Lassiter,” will be published in hardcover—and as an e-book—by Bantam in Fall 2011. Visit Paul Levine on the Web at http://www.paul-levine.com.

I've read this for the e-book challenge

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Thanks for your take on this. I often wonder about excerpts anyway. Sometimes they work very, very well; sometimes, not so well...


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