cover image Lion Plays Rough: A Leo Maxwell Mystery

Lion Plays Rough: A Leo Maxwell Mystery

Lachlan Smith. Grove/Atlantic/Mysterious, $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2216-2

At the start of Smith’s tight second Leo Maxwell mystery (after 2013’s Bear Is Broken), 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. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Associates. (Feb.)