Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Mike Papantonio Interview - Law and Addiction

Photo Content from Mike Papantonio

Mike Papantonio is a truth-teller, a crusader who uses fiction to entertain and inform his readers about some of the most pressing issues of our time. In each of his thrillers, from Law And Disorderto Law And Vengeance, and now Law And Addiction, he lays bare the conspiracies and white-collar crimes that hurt ordinary Americans — and that are rarely covered by the national media.

A senior partner of Levin Papantonio, one of the country’s largest plaintiffs’ law firms, Papantonio uses his own cases as springboards for his novels. He has aggressively taken on Big Pharma, tobacco, weapon manufacturer, and the automobile industry, among other bastions of corporate greed.

One of the youngest inductees into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame, Papantonio is also a well-known media presence as host of America’s Lawyer on the RT America television network and co-host of the syndicated radio show Ring of Fire. A skilled musician and athlete, he is based in Pensacola, Florida.


Can you tell us when you started LAW AND ADDICTION, how that came about?
I think most novelists are driven by stories they’ve heard or experienced. All of my novels – LAW AND ADDICTION as well as Law & Disorder and Law & Vengeance – were driven by real events. These weren’t events that I read about in a newspaper – I’m actually in the middle of them. I’m in court and taking depositions on these issues. I actually wrote LAW AND ADDICTION in real time, while I was handling a similar lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies. So, the book is based on real events that I’ve sought to mold into a good story that people will enjoy reading. 

What is needed for a story to be good?
The starting point for good fiction is that it’s fun to read. It needs to be interesting. You need to want to get to the next chapter, to find out how it ends. And you want to pull for the characters and feel their emotions. But on top of that, the best stories also teach you something. When it comes to LAW AND ADDICTION, most people don’t understand that the opioid crisis never would have taken place if the attorneys general all over the country had done their jobs. The Department of Justice whistled through the graveyard as this crisis developed. LAW AND ADDICTION is fiction, but it’s based in real life. So, not only will people be entertained by the story, they will walk away from it having learned something.

What do you hope for people to be thinking after they read your novel?
My hope in writing this fictional account of the opioid crisis was to both edify and entertain. I wanted to provide readers with a front-row account of this epidemic, but not bludgeon them in the process. While I didn’t try to gloss over the human suffering, I still remain a believer in the power of the human spirit to prevail. At the same time, I am hopeful about getting meaningful justice out of this terrible and sad epidemic caused by corporate greed. I hope this noveldoes spark outrage in readers. As a nation, we need to be outraged. 

The best advice I ever got as a writer is
It may be counterintuitive, but the best writing advice I’ve ever gotten is to stop writing when you have a “hot hand.” In other words, when I’m writing a chapter and it’s going very well, I stop. I take a break, think about it, and get some sleep. When I come back the next day, I’m not in that pit looking for the next clever thing to do. I do follow a detailed, chapter-by-chapter outline, but I try to pace the actual writing so that each morning, when I pick up where I left off, it’s to work on something I’m already excited about. 


  • Being aware of the opioid epidemic was one thing; digesting the frightening statistics associated with it was quite another.
  • The opioid epidemic was like a hydra—you struck one head off and two more surfaced.
  • The case was about the economic devastation of counties and cities caused by the opioid epidemic . . . In court, the entire trial would need to focus on the analysis of lost money rather than the loss of so many human lives.
  • “If you visit my house,” Jake said, “you would see how I used an entire wall to map out collusion between between the manufacturers, the distributors, the medical community, the government, and basically the entire opioid pharmaceutical business. The opioid epidemic did not occur naturally.”
  • How can such a small population be taking so many pills every single day? That wasn’t just good marketing. That was legalized and reckless drug peddling.
  • “You’ve targeted a wake of vultures that will try and pick your bones clean before you even know you’re dead . . . There is a bounty on your head, and these particular bounty hunters are two-thousand-dollar-an-hour corporate lawyers who will seek to take your scalp.”
  • The briefcase was still outstretched, waiting for Jake to take it. That much money would help launch him into a real law practice. And for a few fleeting seconds, Jake couldn’t help but consider everything he could do with a quarter of a million dollars.
  • For at least a week, he’d been cooped up in the cage . . . Jake knew his food and water were drugged . . . He suspected even more potent drugs had been introduced into his system while he slept.
  • The fix was in. Over the course of a day, (Jake had) gone from being thought of as a courageous crusader to what many now believed was just another drug addict. 
  • Our goal is to live so we can fight another day, and maybe in the process tilt the judge’s attitude ever so slightly against these predators.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in researching LAW AND ADDICTION?
When I was first approached about representing plaintiffs in an action against the major corporate opioid distributors, I knew little about the opioid epidemic. As I write these words, somewhere in America an individual is dying of a drug overdose. During the next twenty-four hours, there will be at least 115 deaths from the same cause. In 2017, more than 72,000 people in the United States died of a drug overdose. To put that in perspective, during our seventeen-year involvement in the Vietnam War, there was a total of 58,220 American casualties.

The more I discovered, the more outraged I became. The opioid crisis didn’t occur as some kind of happenstance, but as a direct result of corporate greed. My legal team has documented these claims . . . and more. We have roomfuls of paperwork showing that these distributors knowingly and willfully opened Pandora’s Box, and the evils and misery that sprang out of that box are still plaguing our society. 

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
Along with preparing for a West Virginia trial against opioid distributors, I have been focusing on building a national consortium of America’s best trial lawyers to handle human trafficking cases against corporate entities that have helped the problem flourish. In fact that is the subject of my next book. 

One week before Jake Rutledge is scheduled to graduate from law school, he receives the devastating news of the death of his fraternal twin, Blake. What makes this death even more terrible for Jake is that his brother died of a drug overdose. Until hearing of his death, Jake had no idea his brother was even using drugs.

When Jake returns home to Oakley, West Virginia, he takes a hard look at the circumstances of his brother's death. In the five years Jake has been away for his schooling, his hometown has drastically changed. Because of the opioid epidemic, and the blight it has brought, many now call Oakley Zombieland. Jake can see how his town's demise parallels his brother's.

Undeterred, the newly minted lawyer takes on the entrenched powers by filing two lawsuits. Jake quickly learns what happens when you upset a hornet's nest. The young attorney might be wet behind the ears, but is sure there is no lawyer that could help him more than Nick Deke Deketomis and his law firm of Bergman/Deketomis. Deke is a legendary lawyer. When he was Jake's age he was making his name fighting Big Tobacco. Against all odds, Jake gets Nick and his firm to sign on to his case before it's too late.


“Fans of John Grisham and Steve Martini will welcome Papantonio’s pulse-pounding legal thriller.” ―Publisher’s Weekly

“…fast paced, high tension. The fact that the story is based on an actual case makes it all the more intriguing. If you are looking for an exciting thriller, definitely order this book!" ―Mystery Suspence Reviews

"This was a book full of surprises. There is murder, deception and all kinds of crazy things happen that readers won’t see coming." ―Good Men Project

"Based on a real case, Mike Papantonio delivers the goods in his carefully drawn, likable characters and a smart, well-told adventure." ―Gumshoe Review

"This legal drama is as good as Grisham. The ending was suspenseful and gripping. This one gets my strong recommendation” ―Men Reading Books

"The story moves fast but smoothly and wraps up with a satisfying ending. I cannot wait to read more from this author." ―Jenn’s Review Blog

"I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it. Mr. Papantonio takes the time to set his scenes, build his characters, and tell his story. It is easy to tell that he does his research and knows his stuff. I can't wait to read more of his books." ―Books and Such

"Papantonio brings the climax to a satisfying conclusion in this must read for any lover of crime, mystery, thriller and suspense, political, and law and order.” ―Lovely Lovelady

You can purchase Law and Addiction at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MIKE PAPANTONIO for making this giveaway possible.
Winner will receive a Copy of Law and Addiction by Mike Papantonio.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a fabulous read. "The opiod epidemic was like a hydra." That's downright chilling!