In this “practiced and talented” mystery, the Boston lawyer travels from Cape Cod to rural Montana to track down a hunter’s stolen trophies (Library Journal).
Six years after the leopard attack that ended his career as a professional hunter, Jeff Newton is broken, crippled, and ready to die. His only pleasure is the occasional visit from Brady Coyne, Jeff’s no-nonsense Boston lawyer who’s come to Cape Cod to pay his respects to the old man.
As always, Brady is entranced by the ex-hunter’s houseful of trophies, none more dazzling than the seven Mexican leopard figurines. Solid-gold statues with jewels for eyes, they are priceless, beautiful—and about to be stolen.
The thieves club Jeff, cut Brady, and escape with the golden cats, leaving the two men for dead. Jeff ends up in a coma, and Brady sets out to retrieve the trophies. If the old hunter ever wakes up, Brady wants the leopards to be there to greet him.
Tapply toys with but never fully explores the metaphor of the hunter and the hunted in lawyer/sleuth Brady Coyne's 10th outing. Professional hunter Jeff Newton has lived as an embittered and near-friendless invalid since being attacked by a wounded leopard in Africa. Brady, his lawyer, is visiting him on Cape Cod when Newton's seven solid-gold pre-Columbian jaguar statuettes given to Newton by a Mayan chief as reward for slaying the wild cat that mauled his son, are stolen. Brady is knocked out after the crooks superficially slit his throat and Jeff, bashed in the head, falls into a coma. Only Lily, Jeff's seductive, lonely, longtime housekeeper, remains unharmed. Enraged by the attack, Brady hunts for the thieves, his search eventually taking him to Montana, where the crime is resolved. While Tapply ( Dead Meat ) writes dialogue with Spartan economy, Brady's tendency to ruminate--about fishing or about his personal ambivalences--diminishes the impact of his character.