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3.77 of 5 stars 3.77  ·  rating details  ·  494 ratings  ·  79 reviews
A down-and-out L.A. lawyer with nothing to lose...
A beautiful Mexican woman who disappears crossing the border...
And the powerful and corrupt rancher who would destroy them both.

Haunted by a personal tragedy and wanted by the cops, lawyer Jimmy (Royal) Payne wants to skip town. That's when he crosses paths with 12-year-old Tino Perez, newly arrived from Mexico, looking f
Kindle Edition, 384 pages
Published April 26th 2012 by Nittany Valley Productions, Inc. (first published March 1st 2009)
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Paul Levine
Feb 16, 2009 Paul Levine rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
L.A. defense attorney Jimmy Payne, overwhelmed by guilt and grief at his son’s death, also loses his wife,
Sharon, to divorce, and morphs into “Royal” Payne to both cops and judges. It’s just a matter of time
before he’s in deep trouble with both. Along with the trouble comes 12-year-old Agustino Perez, an illegal
alien who is searching for his mother. Initially, Tino robs Payne, but Payne admires the boy’s toughness
and determination and promises to help him find his mother. The trail takes them—do
Kay Robinson
I half heartedly started to read this book, the opening scene at a bowling alley and decided there were other books awaiting my attention. However, U was watching the TV and dipped into it during the ad breaks. How glad am I that I did continue. I don't think I've read any other Paul Levine books, or indeed anything about him. I can say that (and I'm assuming he hasn't a huge back catalogue of books to his name) this writer is clearly the successor to the crown so long worn by John Grisham. A br ...more
Debra Chapoton
Well written with unexpected turns in the plot. Lots of foul language - beware. Also the Spanish that was interspersed contained many, many errors - a sure sign that this was not professionally edited. (Hey, Levine, next time let me review the Spanish.)
The characters are well developed and relatable. The story focuses on the plight of two illegal aliens, mom and son, who are split apart. Our hero, Jimmy Payne, is caught up in helping the boy (who reminds him of his own deceased son) locate his m
Jul 27, 2009 Liz rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all the guys who enjoy thrillers
Shelves: thriller-adult
this well researched book delves into the "problems, horrors, and economic consequences" of the Mexican/US Border illegal crossings.
It is replete with greed, corruption, and horror beyond your comprehension
The human coyotes are of the worst kind--human trafficking.
Am reading it a second time as well as doing my own research. I am somewhat familiar with the setting as I am native to the area.
I feel like the setting is as impotant as the plot and the characters in this novel.
Kudos to the author, P
I got this book from as part of their early release giveaways. I had read other books by this author and this one sounded really good so I put my name in to hopefully win a copy.
This book started out with a judge holding Payne at gun point and then goes on from there…a lot going on all of the time…one minute Payne is defending himself from the coyote and the next he is running like hell to get himself and the boy out of another fix they have gotten themselves into. I found mysel
Jerome Statema
I like the flawed protagonist in this book, and how the author worked the ending. This was a quick read, but the story wasn't lacking in any way. There were fewer leaps in logic than required for some suspense/thriller novels, and those that were, were very minor. Overall, a very enjoyable story and, though it seems at this time to be a stand-alone novel, I may give some of his other books/series a chance. It helps as well that he wrote 20+ episodes of the television show, JAG.
Lexie Miller
Picked this book out of a stack and I was so happy I did. The book has a great story line intertwining Mexican immigrants, crime, mystery and family. I enjoyed reading about the passage from Mexico to USA especially with th current border crisis going on today. Levine has a nice writing style that leaves you wanting more after each chapter and a full-circle/complete feeling at the end. Good book ans I'm looking to read more of his.
Apr 11, 2011 Barbara rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one
Shelves: mystery
I won this book through Goodreads some time ago, but after starting it a couple of times, I found that I did not enjoy it. The style of writing in this novel is unattractive to me and certainly not stimulating. The best way that I can describe it is that it seemed very male-oriented, both in language and subject matter.
Apr 02, 2014 Richard rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are interested in the plight of illegal aliens.
Recommended to Richard by: I saw the book at work.
This is a brutal tale of human trafficking told in a straightforward, if unbelievable way.

The cover of the ARC I just read said "A thriller". It certainly was. Jimmy Payne needs meds to calm him down.

I wonder why we do not get as excited by the undocumented from Poland, Ireland, Russia, etc?
A boy unable to protect his mother alone. A man who couldn't protect his son. Together, they change their own lives, and the lives of those around them, fighting hard for what they know is right.

Jimmy Payne: A divorced lawyer in California who represents "undesirables."
Sharon Payne: Jimmy's ex-wife.
Marisol and Tino: Mother and son from Mexico who cross into the US illegally after Tino's life is threatened.
Simon Rutledge: A California farmer who hires illegal immigrants to work on his farms.

Paul Levine has introduced a new character who shares some of the traits of those from his earlier books. Like those protaganists in his earlier Jake Lassiter and Soloman and Lord series, Jimmy Payne is an attorney who is a rebel with a good sense of humor. But unlike his earleir works this one is set in Southern California instead of South Florida.
ALthough Levine inserts a lot of levity into this book, the subject matter is very serious. Payne was divorced by his wife because he was unable to
Comments by author Paul Levine on this thriller, ILLEGAL:

1. What are the major factors that inspired you to write the book?

News stories about the horrific incident where several Mexican citizens died in the back of a locked trailer truck on a run across the California/Arizona desert. And....the facts contained here:

2. How did your legal background and experience help in writing this book?

Not so much. Very little courtroom in ILLEGAL. It's unlike most of my legal t
Jimmy "Royal" Payne is a small time lawyer with a tortured past. He was charged with contempt of court but is evading the charges and needs to leave town immediately. As he prepares to leave, he crosses paths with Tino Perez, a 12 year old Mexican with no papers and lots of energy to spare. Tino and his mother got separated while crossing the border illegally. Tino first robs Payne and then asks him to help him find his missing mother.

Payne, with Tino in tow, goes to his ex-wife whom he still lo
Agustino, Tino to his friends, and his mother, Marisol, are running for their lives. They cross the Mexican border and enter America as illegal aliens. But things just go from bad to worse. The mother and son get separated during the crossing. The mother is a beautiful woman, who has been sexually harassed her entire life, and becomes the target of more unwanted advances.

I worked in construction and learned real quick to lose the makeup, pull my hair back into an unflattering ponytail, and not
Coming on the heels of author Levine's Lassiter and Solomon & Lord series, this stand alone novel had the feel of a series pilot.

Jimmy "Royal" Payne has separated from his LAPD detective wife over his failure to come to terms with the loss of his son in an auto accident. He crosses paths with an illegal 12 year old Mexican boy who has been separated from his mother. Although he is a fugitive, his wife lets him escape if he will promise to help Tino Perez find his mother, Marisol.
This 3.5 stars - I really wish you could give halves. My first book by Levine and it took me a bit to get into his style. The story line rambled a little...but took off after about a third of the way through the book. I will try another by Paul and go from there..
I loved the book Paul kept me coming back for more and I always knew what was going on every time I opened the book.
Lately it seems most of the books I've read I have to read a page before I can figure out whats going on.
Susan Moore
Valid, timely story about Mexicans coming to USA.

Endearing and hateful characters. Lives and love lost, some gained. Right and wrong. Very good story with a few laughs and a few tears. Well done!
Shirley Sexton
Good book

I enjoyed reading this book. I thought it was a good story, well written, and definitely entertaining. The characters are believable and colorful, the story heart wrenching.
kerry king

Couldn't put it down! Loved it. Hope there's another Jimmy Payne book on the horizon. Great characters, and dialogue. This book could easily be a kick assault movie

Moe Morin
Captivating tale

Good plot with lots of twists and turns. Captures the California / Mexico setting with gritty characters. A delicious read.
Jeannie Lemley
Paul Levine;

Writes the kind of book I love to read! He keeps the story interesting and I keep the pages turning! Illegal was an excellent book that I highly recommend!
Duffy Pearce
Entertaining, bordering on a little too cute about The Rockford Files but fast paced. Good summer read.
Walt Mccluskey

Seemed to be too much verbalization at times one would think would be action first , then explain it. Almost seemed like two different people wrote some parts of the book. Exciting flow for most of the time kept me coming back after a brief break in my reading. Would recommend to other adults if the profanity wouldn't turn them off.
Down on his luck lawyer is struggling to get on with his life after the loss of his son and divorce from his wife. Finds himself involved with a young Mexican boy separated from his mother when trying to cross the border. What follows is a wild ride going from the U.S. To Mexico and back. He gets himself involved in some wacky situations that include Paul Levine's unique sense of humor. Interesting and fast paced, shows Paul Levine's range with a new character. Good read!
Great story that keeps you on edge all the way through. Jimmy Payne, an attorney, has just about hit bottom after going through a divorce and the death of his 10 year old son in a car accident. He decides to change his life and do something good for someone. Thus begins his harrowing adventure as he tries to reunite Tino Perez with his mother, immigrants crossing the Mexican border into the United States. Mother and son were separated during the border crossing.
Won this book from Goodreads sweepstakes. Can't wait to get it and start reading! Thanks!

Received my hardcover book yesterday. I HAVE to finish Holy Smokes first, and then I'll move on to this one. The book looks very promising.

This is my first book by Paul Levine. It was a great read, hard to put down, and fast paced. Sometimes gritty and hard, but at others tender and heartbreaking. Great characters! This won't be the last of Levine's books that I read.
Great first chapter. Our hero "Royal Payne" bribes a judge. Story runs from there as he helps a young illegal try to reunite with his mother. Story starts from border crossings, how illegals are treated, fifedom of a large grower in San Joaquin Valley. Good characters. Saw Levine at LA Book Festival, his wit and intellect shine through.
If you like this, you might also like Renegades by T. Jefferson Parker; more border crossings!
Really a nice surprise! This guy knows how to keep your interest and offers a completely candid and unique look at the "illegal" immigration issue here in the states. Guarantied to make you think differently and/or reevaluate your opinion on this incredibly sensitive, brutal, and controversial matter. All this with a really good set of characters that will have you laughing and/or feeling sad. A really good read!!
Good read. Made me think about the plight of illegals in this country. Good story and fast, page turning action.
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The author of 19 novels, Paul Levine won the John D. MacDonald fiction award and was nominated for the Edgar, Macavity, International Thriller, Shamus, and James Thurber prizes.

A former Miami trial lawyer, he also wrote 21 episodes of the CBS military drama “JAG” and co-created the Supreme Court drama “First Monday” starring James Garner and Joe Mantegna.

His most recent novel is "Bum Rap," which
More about Paul Levine...
Solomon vs. Lord (Solomon vs. Lord, #1) Bum Rap (Jake Lassiter, #11) The Deep Blue Alibi (Solomon vs. Lord, #2) Kill All the Lawyers (Solomon vs Lord, #3) To Speak for the Dead (Jake Lassiter, #1)

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