Sunday, March 9, 2014

Meet Leo Maxwell - a San Franciscan defense attorney

Leo Maxwell is the fictional creation of US author Lachlan Smith. Here is how Lachlan describes his lead character:
What Leo lacks in judgment he makes up for in perseverence and loyalty, qualities that I hope readers find admirable. Also, no matter how cynical he may become once he begins to shed his naivete, he never stops seeking the best approximation of justice he can achieve in a murky and uncertain world.

The first novel, Bear is Broken (M) is described by Booklist as "a superior blend of amateur-detective mystery and belated-coming-of-age novel cunningly masked as a legal thriller."
"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." - Publisher Weekly

The sequel Lion Plays Rough (M) has just been released."At the start of Smith's tight second Leo Maxwell mystery, the young Oakland, Calif., attorney receives a collect call from Santa Rita Jail. The man on the other end introduces himself as Jamil Robinson and, because he feels it unsafe to talk over the phone, sends his sister, Lavinia Martin, to speak with Leo in person. Lavinia claims that the Oakland police have framed Jamil. Despite his suspicions about the story, Leo goes to the DA with evidence that points to police corruption, only to discover he's been set up-the real Jamil has not only never heard of Leo but does not have a living sister. As Leo continues to pursue the truth, he puts his life at risk and discovers a trail of crooked police activity that leads disturbingly close to home. This finely paced mystery is full of intelligent plot twists and should appeal to any fan of good writing" - Publisher Weekly

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