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Cheater's Game    by Paul Levine order for
Cheater's Game
by Paul Levine
Order:  USA  Can
Herald Square, 2020 (2020)
Paperback, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Paul Levine has attorney Jake Lassiter take on college admissions scams in his fourteenth in this series, Cheater's Game. It could come straight out of recent headlines. At the core of the novel is the notion of justice in a system where the rich are treated leniently for their crimes, while those less guilty often suffer much harsher penalties.

Jake raised his nephew Kip Lassiter and loves him dearly, but Kip has strayed badly and been taken in by millionaire Max Ringle, helping him in a shady setup to get rich kids into universities for which they could not normally qualify. Kip enjoys gaming the system, can get any score he aims for on college admissions tests, and believes Ringle when he assures him they are doing nothing illegal.

The FBI get involved, Kip refuses to turn on Ringle, and of course Ringle makes a deal to save his own skin, painting Kip as central to the crime. Uncle Jake has been dealing with his diagnosis of Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (a result of his football career). He has been undergoing experimental treatments recommended by his very concerned fiancée, Dr. Melissa Gold.

Now, he's determined to take on his nephew's defense in what seems a clear slam dunk for the prosecution. It feels like 'an ant carrying a boulder uphill.' An old friend tries to help - or does he? And the effects of Jake's illness are increasing, causing memory loss and aggressive outbursts. Can he hold himself together for long enough to save his nephew? An excellent read, as always from Paul Levine.

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