Bear is Broken by Lachlan Smnith

Bear is Broken by Lachlan Smnith

Leo Maxwell grew up in the shadow of his older brother, Teddy, a successful yet reviled criminal defense attorney who racked up enemies as quickly as he racked up acquittals. As children, their father was jailed for the murder of their mother, and Teddy was left to care for Leo who tried to emulate his older brother, even following him into the legal profession.

The two are at lunch one day when Teddy, supposed to give the closing argument of his current trial that afternoon, is shot: in public, in cold blood, the shooter escaping without Leo being able to identify him. As Teddy lies in a coma, Leo comes to the conclusion that the search for his brother’s shooter falls upon him and him alone, as his brother’s enemies were not merely the scum on the street but embedded within the police department as well. As he begins to examine the life of a brother he realizes he barely knew, Leo quickly realizes that the list of possible suspects is much larger than he could have imagined.

The deeper Leo digs into Teddy’s life, the more questions arise: questions about Teddy and his ex-wife, questions about the history of the Maxwell family, even questions about the murder that tore their family apart all those years ago. And somewhere, the person who shot his brother is still on the loose, and there are many who would happily kill Leo in order to keep it that way.

Bear is Broken is one of those books that completely surprised me. Although the first half of the book is slow, predominately due to the complexity of the storyline, certainly not the narrative, the second half flew by and I managed to read it in one lengthy but thoroughly entertaining sitting -another example of a book that sucked me in and allowed me to have a vested interest in the characters.

With that in mind the book is heavy on both characterisation and foundation building, the author works hard to bring them all to life and leaves very little to the imagination. Quite often you read a book and wish you could learn more about a character and are sometimes left wanting but there’s certainly no fear of that happening here. This can slow down the book in the early stages but the intricate plot building and storytelling keeps the book ticking along nicely. As with many books there comes a point when the story takes over, like a runaway train, and you simply want to reach the end and find out who’s guilty or indeed who’s innocent.

The book will keep you guessing right to the very end and a poignant final few pages just about summed up the entire book for me. It left me satisfied and kept the door open for Leo’s next case but it was the way in which the author wrapped things up that impressed me.

The other key enjoyment for me was the legal shenanigans throughout, mainly thanks to Leo’s character. Having just passed the bar exam you’d think he would come across as a bumbling fool in court but the author somehow gives Leo a terrific legal voice that is both believable and acutely intelligent. His closing arguments – made on behalf of his brother’s client – are amazing and it was this section that really drew me in to Leo. Even though he’s relatively new to the game the author doesn’t embellish Leo’s arguments keeping it real, yet excitingly gratifying at the same time.

As the book developed so did our protagonist’s personality and I have to be honest there were a few things I wasn’t keen on. That said, I can’t wait to see if I’m right about what happens to Leo when we next see him.

As I’ve already said this is a complex book, only in so much as the author has introduced so many possibilities, any number of characters could end up guilty, dead, stoned or drunk. You never quite now what he’ll come up with next and I liked that. It certainly keeps you guessing.

An intelligent book along with a well-crafted plot make this a must read. Hang in there at the beginning; you will be rewarded with a great narrative and entertaining story packed full of eclectic characters.

Bear is Broken in Paperback, Hardback and Kindle Formats.

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Headline (28 Feb 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1472201167
  • ISBN-13: 978-1472201164
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2 Responses to “Bear is Broken by Lachlan Smith – Book Review”

  1. Nikki-ann says:

    I’ve not heard of this one before. An excellent and thorough review, as always, and I’m quite sure this book will soon be in my TBR pile!

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