Having just passed the bar a few days earlier newly minted lawyer Leo Maxwell expected a routine lunch with his brother Teddy Maxwell. It was 1999 and Teddy was deep in trial and locked into the case. When in trial he always ate at Coruna. That habit meant the shooter knew exactly where Teddy would be when court was in recess and could easily plan the attack. The shooter walked in and briefly stood behind Leo before firing one shot over his shoulder and fired one round directly into Teddy’s head putting him on the floor in a pool of blood and damn near dead.


Miraculously, Teddy didn’t die and survives the shooting to lie in a hospital bed deep in a coma.  As Leo is forced to face some very unpleasant truths about Teddy’s medical condition and his quality of life should he survive. There are more unpleasant truths in store. Teddy vigorously defended his clients against the police and courts in San Francisco and that means there are those who shed no tears over the attempted murder of Teddy Maxwell. Teddy was flamboyant and successful in his defense work and clearly he pushed things close to the edge on various matters. As far as Leo knows Teddy was not dirty, but now there are allegations of perjury, fraud, missing client money, and more.


And that is just the tip of the iceberg in this book full of twists, backstory, and complex dysfunctional relationships. While Leo works to find the shooter and can’t decide whether he should pray for his brother to survive or not, things get murkier and murkier page after page in Bear Is Broken: A Leo Maxwell Mystery.


A debut mystery for a projected new series that should be a very good one if this opening book sets the standard. Complex characters, plenty of intrigue, and many twists keeps the reader locked in throughout this compelling debut novel. Those readers who prefer simple characters they can like, simple plots, and light secondary storylines will want to look elsewhere as this often dark book is not for them.


Bear Is Broken: A Leo Maxwell Mystery

Lachlan Smith


The Mysterious Press (Grove/Atlantic)



ISBN #978-0-8021-2079-3

Hardback (also available in audio and e-book)

260 Pages




Material supplied by the good people of the Plano Texas Public Library System.


Kevin R. Tipple ©2013

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