‘Illegal’ – A Tale of Drug Wars and Human Trafficking

‘Illegal’ – A Tale of Drug Wars and Human Trafficking

A Missing Mexican Woman, a Shady Lawyer, and a Perilous Road Trip


LOS ANGELES, March 24 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — A woman is kidnapped and her 12-year-old son forced to carry drugs. Predators on both sides of the border chase mother and child. And a midnight border crossing explodes in gunfire.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090324/LA87153)

If that sounds ripped from today’s headlines, it is. Just this week, The Los Angeles Times reported that Mexican drug cartels are taking over human trafficking operations. “Illegal” (Bantam Hardcover), the new novel by award-winning author Paul Levine, probes both worlds.

To protect his mother’s honor, twelve-year-old Tino Perez maims a Mexican drug lord. That sends mother and son on a desperate run to the U.S. where they’re intercepted by the Border Patrol. Marisol, the boy’s mother, goes missing. Tino — with no money, no papers, and no fear — finds his way to Los Angeles where he teams up with Jimmy Payne, a lawyer planning to skip town after his latest scrape with the law.

The cynical lawyer and the savvy kid track Marisol from migrant stash houses to lush fields of central California. It’s there they encounter Simeon Rutledge, a mega-grower whose family has employed — and abused — migrants for three generations. Rutledge won’t reveal what he knows, but one thing is clear: Marisol’s fate is in his hands.

Without realizing it, Payne has followed the Biblical injunction: “Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for by this, some have entertained angels.”

“Illegal” is a story of broken borders and shattered hearts. A thriller with a social conscience, the book presents arguments — economic, legal and moral — on all sides of the immigration dispute. The book also probes the shadowy world of drug trafficking, human trafficking and sex slavery. Already, “Illegal” is gathering glowing reviews.

“‘Illegal’ is a riveting read, filled with action, pathos, and even humor. and rings with authenticity.” — Booklist

Levine dedicated the book to a total stranger, something Bookpleasures.com said “captured the spirit and soul of the book.” The dedication:

“To the woman carrying a rucksack, clutching her child’s hand, and kicking up dust as she scrambled along a desert trail near Calexico, California.”


Paul Levine is a former trial lawyer and an award-winning author of legal thrillers. Solomon vs. Lord was nominated for the Macavity Award and the Thurber Prize. The Deep Blue Alibi was nominated for an Edgar; and Kill All the Lawyers was a finalist for the International Thriller Writers Award. He won the John D. MacDonald Award for his critically acclaimed Jake Lassiter series. He also wrote for the CBS military drama JAG.

For more information: http://www.paul-levine.com

EDITORS: For a news release, review copy, or an interview, contact paul.publications@gmail.com or Wendy Sachs (212) 981-5180.

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CONTACT: Wendy Sachs, 212-981-5180, for Nittany Valley Productions, Inc.

SOURCE Nittany Valley Productions, Inc.

‘Illegal’ – A Tale of Drug Wars and Human Trafficking