Paul Levine has written twelve mysteries focusing on Jake Lassiter. Bum Luck is the eleventh one. The twelfth, Bum Deal, will be released next month. Publicist Wiley Saichek asked me to review Bum Deal, but suggested that I should read Bum Luck beforehand and sent me a free copy. This was the reverse of bum luck. In fact, I consider it very good luck indeed.
The first thing I noticed was the snappy dialogue. Up until now my favorite dialogue in mysteries was in the Spenser novels by Robert Parker. Lassiter's is of a different order. It's full of pointed criticism of his own profession.
Jake Lassiter is a former linebacker in professional American football who has become a lawyer. His having been a football player is very relevant to the plot of Bum Luck because this book deals with the tragic impact of repeated concussions on the lives of many former football players. Wikipedia has an article on this issue that provides a good introduction to it. Bum Luck is also centrally concerned with corruption in the justice system. I've seen the Lassiter series described as light, but this particular novel goes to some very dark places.
I found the characterization of Lassiter complex yet sympathetic. Although Lassiter had done things he regrets, he seemed to me like a wounded hero which is my favorite type of protagonist.
I had never seen frequent concussion syndrome as a theme in a novel. I appreciated the honesty with which Levine approached this subject which lent Bum Luck a kind of raw intensity.
I considered this book both original and well-written. I very much look forward to the digital ARC of Bum Deal that I've obtained through the good graces of Wiley Saichek via Net Galley.