This Shamus Award–winning mystery was named a Best Book of the Year by Kirkus Reviews and Deadly Pleasures.
Leo Maxwell grew up under the care of his older brother, Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defense attorney, after their father was jailed for their mother’s murder. Now a rookie lawyer, Leo must be there for Teddy after he’s shot in the head and falls into a coma.
Given that Teddy has enemies on both sides of the law in San Francisco, Leo realizes the search for his brother’s shooter falls on him. But as he begins to examine the life of a brother he barely knew, Leo uncovers a list of suspects longer than he imagined. With the gunman still on the loose, Leo needs to find him fast—in this suspenseful novel that won the 2014 Shamus Award for Best First P.I. Novel.
“The final showdown is hair-raising. . . . Sensitive, ingenious and suspenseful. A series is promised and very welcome indeed.” —Kirkus Reviews
“Promises to be the start of a riveting series.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch
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.