Bear Is Broken (Leo Maxwell Series #1)

Bear Is Broken (Leo Maxwell Series #1)

3.2 110
by Lachlan Smith
     
 

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Winner of the 2014 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Leo Maxwell grew up in the shadow of his older brother Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defense attorney. As children, their father was jailed for their mother's murder, and Teddy was left to care for Leo, who eventually followed him into the legal profession.

The two are at lunch…  See more details below

Overview

Winner of the 2014 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel

Leo Maxwell grew up in the shadow of his older brother Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defense attorney. As children, their father was jailed for their mother's murder, and Teddy was left to care for Leo, who eventually followed him into the legal profession.

The two are at lunch one day when Teddy is shot in the head—in public, in cold blood. As Teddy lies in a coma, Leo realizes that the search for his brother’s shooter falls upon him and him alone, as his brother had enemies not only on the street but in the police department as well. As he begins to examine the life of a brother he barely knew, Leo quickly finds that the list of possible suspects is much larger than he could have imagined.

The deeper Leo digs into Teddy’s life, the more questions arise: about Teddy and his ex-wife and about the murder that tore their family apart all those years ago. And somewhere, the person who shot his brother is still on the loose, and there are many who would happily kill Leo to keep it that way.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Set in 1999, Smith’s powerful legal thriller debut, the first in a series, grabs the reader by the throat and doesn’t let go. At a San Francisco restaurant, where Leo Maxwell, a freshly minted attorney, has met older brother Teddy, a local legend as a defense lawyer, for lunch, Leo feels flattered when Teddy tells him, “I ought to let you close this one,” a reference to the closing statement Teddy is soon to deliver in the case of Ellis Bradley, who’s accused of raping his wife. Then a stranger comes up behind Leo and shoots Teddy in the head. This violent act, which puts Teddy in a coma with little chance for recovery, places Leo in the position of trying to serve Bradley’s interests by avoiding a mistrial and carrying on in his brother’s stead—and finding out the who and why of the murder attempt. Assured prose and taut plotting add up to a winner. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“Bray was an easy voice to listen to. . . . A solid debut.”
A Bookworm’s World

“Muscular and engaging. . . . Reminiscent of early John Grisham or later-career Michael Connell. . . . An excellent springboard for a series.”
Strand Magazine

BookPage
“Sensitive, ingenious, and suspenseful. A series is promised and very welcome indeed.”
Kirkus

A Bookworm's World
“A debut novel that reads as if the writer has toiled at his craft for ages. . . . You will find yourself pulling for [Leo Maxwell]—and more importantly, strongly hoping he survives for a second installment.”
BookPage

Strand Magazine
“This debut San Francisco noir is so atmospheric you can practically hear the cable cars and fog horns on the bay. . . . R.C. Bray performs skillfully.”
AudioFile

Library Journal
Leo Maxwell just received his bar licence and has been shadowing his older brother Teddy, a well known San Francisco criminal lawyer. The novel opens with Teddy being shot point blank in the head as the two brothers eat lunch in Teddy's usual restaurant. In the aftermath of the shooting, Leo faces a new reality and tries to sort the truth from the lies regarding Teddy's business practices, ethics, and private life; in addition, Leo realizes that if his brother survives, Teddy will never be the same man he once was. Because of Teddy's success as a criminal defense lawyer, the police don't seem interested in investigating his shooting, and Leo is determined to find the shooter himself. VERDICT This engaging debut by a practicing Alabama attorney features well-drawn if somewhat unlikable characters and enough plot twists to please any mystery fan. A good read-alike recommendation for readers who enjoy David Hosp and S.J. Bolton. [See Prepub Alert, 8/20/12.]—Lisa Hanson O'Hara, Univ. of Manitoba Libs.
Kirkus Reviews
A newly minted attorney investigating his brother's shooting ends up learning more about the victim than he'd ever wanted to know. Hours after being sworn as a member of the California bar, Leo Maxwell is having lunch with his lawyer-brother Teddy when a stranger walks into the restaurant, fires a bullet into Teddy's face and leaves. As Teddy hovers in a coma, Detective Anderson, who has no love for the man he tells Leo was as dirty as a lawyer can be in San Francisco, plans to arrest Ricky Santorez, Teddy's most famous client, for the crime. Ricky has a grade-A alibi, since he's spent the past several years in San Quentin after killing two cops who burst into his place by mistake and caught him with a highly illegal weapon, but Anderson says that a snitch fingered him for hiring the job. Since the snitch is Lawrence Maxwell, Teddy and Leo's father, who's been locked up for a dozen years for killing his wife, Caroline, Leo takes an even more personal interest in the case. His search for other suspects leads him to the family of Keith Locke, a client Teddy was defending against the charge of murdering thrill-seeking sociologist professor Sam Marovich, whose corpse he was found trying to push through a window of the sex club where Keith worked. The suspects are familiar types--Keith's imperious father, Gerald, his fiercely protective mother, Greta, his sexually alluring sister Christine--but newcomer Smith juggles them with supernal dexterity, and the final showdown is hair-raising. Sensitive, ingenious and suspenseful. A series is promised and very welcome indeed.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780802193698
Publisher:
Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
Publication date:
02/05/2013
Series:
Leo Maxwell Series , #1
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
272
Sales rank:
118,248
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

Lachlan Smith was a Stegner Fellow at Stanford, and received an MFA from Cornell. His fiction has appeared in the Best New American Voices series. In addition to writing novels, he is an attorney practicing in the area of civil rights and employment law. He lives in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

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