cover image Wolf’s Revenge: A Leo Maxwell Mystery

Wolf’s Revenge: A Leo Maxwell Mystery

Lachlan Smith. Mysterious, $25 (256p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2707-5

Smith again puts Leo Maxwell through the wringer in his superlative fifth mystery featuring the San Francisco attorney (after 2016’s Panther’s Prey). Newcomers are brought up to speed quickly with Leo’s complex backstory, which includes his discovery of his mother’s bloody corpse, his long-held belief that his father, Lawrence, was responsible for her murder, and the near-fatal shooting of his older brother, Teddy, a prominent defense lawyer. Despite his father’s exoneration, life hasn’t eased up for Leo. He’s beholden to a crafty biker drug lord, Bo Wilder, who manages to wield significant power from prison, arranging the killing of an ex-con who was about to testify that Lawrence murdered his wife. While Leo struggles to find a way out from under Wilder’s thumb, he must defend a client who doesn’t deny shooting the man whose murder she has been charged with. Operating at the top of his game, Smith is as good as anyone writing today at combining a mystery with the overlay of existential dread that noir fans relish. Agent: Gail Hochman, Brandt & Hochman Literary Agents. (Oct.)