Bear Is Broken

Mysterious Book Report No. 111

by John Dwaine McKenna

Some of the most popular and ever present murder mysteries and crime fiction novels involve lawyers and courtroom dramas.  Probably the first to do so was Earle Stanley Gardner, with his case-cracking super-lawyer named Perry Mason, who always seemed able to force a confession on the witness stand.  These days, author John Grisham seems to have a hammer-lock on the genre, but, just like sports, where there’s always up and coming new talent nipping at the heels of the veterans, so it is with writers.

Bear Is Broken, (Mysterious Press, $24.00, 256 pages, ISBN 978-0-8021-2079-3) by Lochlan Smith is a debut novel from a new young author with what looks like a long and prolific writing career in front of him.  The place is San   Francisco, and the time is mid-day.  Leo Maxwell, a young attorney who’s just passed the California Bar Exam, is having lunch with his older brother Teddy, a highly successful criminal defense attorney who manages to win the majority of his cases, no matter how dire the charges against his clients.  Teddy is a hard driving uber-lawyer with a history, who’s loved by his clients and despised by cops, and prosecutors who’ve faced him in court, only to be soundly thumped in front of their peers.  They’re discussing Leo’s potential job options in an upscale restaurant at the height of rush hour.  And that’s when a person wearing a hat and raincoat walks up, leans over Leo’s shoulder, shoots Teddy Maxwell in the head with a large caliber handgun and calmly departs through the kitchen and escapes . . . all in the first four pages.  As Teddy hovers between life and death in the critical care unit, Leo realizes that the list of potential suspects is a mile long and the police don’t seem to be highly motivated to catch the assailant.  But the harder he digs, the more complex the case becomes, leading Leo ever-deeper into his brothers labyrinthine affairs.  Twists, turns, false conclusions and red herrings are sprinkled liberally throughout this interesting, well-plotted and complex mystery.  Do yourself a favor and get introduced to Leo Maxwell and author Lachlan Smith.  He’s going to have a long and distinguished writing career.

You’ll find Lachlan Smith and hundreds more world-class mystery writers at the library, but only if you go.  You’ll only get smarter if you read . . .

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where you’ll find booklists, reading suggestions, all the Mysterious Book Reports ever written, news info and blogs as well as contact information and a place to order Rhyolite Press books.  Their newest work, The Boy Who Slept With Bears, by George R. Douthit III is now out and selling like crazy.  “It’s the story of the efforts of a Ute Indian boy to survive in a prejudicial world controlled by a government bent on his removal, if not his civilizing.”  It’s read and loved by ages eight to eighty . . . and one for your kids, grandkids and yourself.  You’ll be glad you did, once you’ve read it.  It’s just that darn good! $15.00, ISBN 978-0-9839952-8-9 and available through any bookstore, anywhere, on the planet Earth.  Also Amazon, as an eBook on all popular eReaders, and a limited number of signed copies are available on a first-come, first-served basis at:

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Attn: Sally Lemmon

P.O.   Box 2406

Colorado   Springs, CO  80901

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And by the time you read this, Colorado Noir, by John Dwaine McKenna should, gasp! finally be available too . . . stay tuned, more in the next week or so, when we’ll have a great new mystery for you.

I’ll see you then.