Tuesday, March 24, 2009

"ILLEGAL" -- A Shady Lawyer, A Missing Woman, A Gutsy Kid, and Shades of "Chinatown"

From Paul

ILLEGAL Debuts Today:
First an apology. I'm going to flog my new novel like an old mule the next couple weeks. I've already been doing that on FACEBOOK, and my friends are probably more annoyed with me now than they usually are. (If you're not my friend and you're on FB, please drop me a note so we can link).

As has been said here many times, the shelf life of a novel is approximately that of yogurt. (This lactobacillus existence is not true for Jim Born, whose work seems to have the shelf life of Budweiser).

For starters, I'm giving away a couple copies of the book to those who sign up for Volume 1, Issue 1 of my newsletter. Sign up here.

In the past two years, I’ve trudged through the Mojave Desert and climbed the Tehachapi mountains. I’ve followed the toxic sludge of the New River as it winds a serpentine path from Mexicali to the Salton Sea. I’ve hung out at Border Patrol stations in Calexico and picked peaches in Kings County.

THE CHARACTERS: A shady lawyer. A missing woman. A lost boy. And a wealthy rancher with a twisted vision of his own power. It’s about unspeakable pain and loss and the love of family. It’s about greed and corruption, revenge and redemption, all set in the dark world of human trafficking and sex slavery.

ILLEGAL will take you from the dangerous streets of Mexicali, north to Hellhole Canyon, and northward still through the Tejon Pass into California’s San Joaquin Valley. That’s the perilous road trip taken by Jimmy (Royal) Payne, the hero of ILLEGAL. Did I say hero? Payne, a Los Angeles lawyer with an anger management problem, skims money from a bribery sting, punches out two cops, and skips town when he’s jailed for contempt. But when it’s time to choose between risking his life for a boy with a missing mother or surrendering to his own demons, his choice is….well, you gotta read the book for that.

THE TONE: Inspired by real events, ILLEGAL is harder-boiled than my SOLOMON vs. LORD novels. But if you liked Steve Solomon and Victoria Lord, you’ll love trouble-prone Jimmy Payne and ex-wife Sharon, a cop who once shot him and now would love to arrest him. The Solomon books were frequently compared with the Spencer Tracy/Katherine Hepburn films, particularly Adam’s Rib. ILLEGAL combines the moral decay of “Chinatown” with the sudden violence of “No Country for Old Men.”

A SNEAK PEEK: The first two chapters are posted on my website. There are also convenient buttons to order the book from Amazon, your local independent stores, or to have me personally deliver it if you live within five miles of VITELLO'S restaurant in Studio City, CA, where Robert Blake did NOT kill his wife, according to the jury.



  1. Aw, heck, Paul - can you meet me at LAX today and give me a copy to read on the 'plane??? Don't worry, only kidding - I wouldn't expect my enemies to come to LAX on a whim, let alone friends.

    Here's to "Illegal" - and may she have a long and lustrous life on the shelves, more importantly, may that book find its way to cash registers at fine bookstores everywhere, and Costco. But flogging a mule? I don't think so. The only mule I ever knew was smarter than any horse, and frankly, more intelligent than most humans. She goes by the name of Mabel.

    And a question - why do they still refer to cash registers as cash registers, when most people use plastic? Or is that how "checkout" came to be? Am I the only person in the world that still calls a cash register a "till" - or is that a British thing?

    Raise a glass of whatever you fancy to ILLEGAL, folks, and let's just watch the great reviews - and those sales - roll in!

  2. Congrats to you, Paulie. See you on Saturday at The Mystery Bookstore.

    Till is used here but it may be a regional term because you don't hear it much in these here parts. In my youth, I worked at a bakery with an old fashioned register with typewriter-type keys that produced a ker-ching sound when depressed. It took some muscle to press them all the way down.

  3. Congrats Paul on Illegal...it looks like it is much more substantive and thought provoking than the "Lord" series.


  4. Jacqueline: Do you have that Kindle? "Illegal" is downloadable for $9.99!

    Thanks, Patty. Completely forgot to mention for So CAL locals that I'll be at Mystery Bookstore in Westwood Saturday at 4 pm and at Mysterious Galaxy in San Diego Sunday at 2 p.m.

    Well, Jon, it sounds like a left-handed compliment, but you're right. More meat on the bones with this book. Strong thematic content...or so I believe.

  5. I'm almost done reading it. It rocks.

  6. Paul, I'm right handed.....

    Sorry for the confusion.


    you tout Illegal as "my most powerful novel yet. Maybe it will even win an award..."
    Best of luck towards that end, Paul; seriously.

  7. I'll have more to say on this Thursday.

    Stay tuned.


  8. I pre-ordered Illegal for my Kindle and it popped into it Tuesday morning. I love that quick easy access. I am saving it for my weekend read since I anticipate not being able to put it down once I start. Really looking forward to it. .... Mo