The Leo Maxwell Mystery Series

Fox Is Framed

Lachlan Smith won great critical acclaim for his first novel in the Leo Maxwell series, Bear Is Broken, winner of the Shamus Award for Best First P.I. novel and a Kirkus Reviews best book of the year. William Bernhardt called it “one of the best debuts I’ve read in years.” The second Leo Maxwell mystery, Lion Plays Rough, continued the story, and now, in the utterly suspenseful Fox Is Framed, Smith confronts anew the drama that has haunted Leo—and his recently brain-damaged elder brother, Teddy—since childhood.

Faced with evidence of stunning prosecutorial misconduct, a San Francisco judge has ordered a new trial for the Maxwell brothers’ father, Lawrence, who was convicted of killing their mother twenty-one years before. A prison snitch soon turns up dead, with Lawrence the only suspect, and Leo teams up with hotshot attorney Nina Schuyler to defend Lawrence against murder charges both old and new. Working the streets while Nina handles the action in the courtroom, Leo is forced to confront the darkness at the center of his life as he follows a trail of corruption and danger that leads to the very steps of City Hall.

Lion Plays Rough

Leo Maxwell always lived in the shadow of his older brother Teddy, but is now an ambitious criminal defense attorney practicing in Oakland. He thinks he’s found the case that will make his name when a mysterious woman nearly runs him down, then appears at his office to hire him to defend her brother on a gun charge. One problem: Leo hasn’t actually met the client when he sets out to investigate what seems like a hot tip on a burgeoning scandal in the Oakland Police Department. Leo seems to blow the lid on deep-set corruption in the department; however, he quickly learns that all is not as it seems, beginning with Leo’s client and the alluring woman who hired him. Leo’s “client” is actually represented by Nikki Matson, one of Oakland’s most notorious gangland lawyers. What’s more, the client doesn’t know anything about Leo being hired to defend him and claims not even to have a sister.

Between Nikki’s star client, one of Oakland’s most feared gang leaders, and corrupt elements within the Oakland police, Leo realizes that he has unwittingly made himself enemy number one within the criminal community as well as the police department. Both sides want him silenced before he uncovers the full extent of a scandal that is poised to engulf the city and ignite a firestorm of repercussions. Even if Leo can survive, he’s a marked man unless he can bring those responsible for the murders to justice. Yet the truth is far more sinister, as Leo must confront the one person he never would have suspected…

Bear is Broken

Lachlan Smith bursts onto the crime fiction scene with the Shamus-award-winning Bear Is Broken, a phenomenal debut that combines the elements of classic PI novels with the contemporary sheen of the best legal thrillers.Leo Maxwell grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defense attorney, who racked up enemies as fast as he racked up acquittals. Leo has always tried to emulate Teddy, even following him into the legal profession. One day the two are at lunch when Teddy is shot in public, the gunman escaping through a crowd. As Teddy lies in a coma, Leo realizes that the search for his brother’s shooter falls upon him, as Teddy’s enemies weren’t merely the scum on the street but embedded within the police department as well. As Leo peels back the layers of Teddy’s mysterious past, he sees that the list of possible suspects is larger than he could have imagined. Leo must navigate the seedy underbelly of San Francisco, and the deeper he digs into his brother’s life, the more questions arise: about Teddy and his estranged ex-wife, about the ethics of Teddy’s career, and about the murder that tore their family apart decades ago. And somewhere, the person who shot Leo’s brother is still on the loose, and there are many who would happily kill Leo in order to keep it that way. Bear Is Broken is the first in a terrific new series, and establishes Lachlan Smith as a crime writer to watch and read.