Rummanah Aasi
 I've got a special treat for fans of legal thrillers. Margaret McLean, the author of Under Fire and Under Oath, her latest. Fans of John Grisham and Dennis Lehane should definitely check her book out. Margaret is stopping on the blog to give us a sneak peak at how she came up with the concept of Under Oath

Charlestown is a working class Irish neighborhood of Boston, which is only one square mile, but it had the highest unsolved murder rate in the country for decades.  I lived there, experienced this street code, and followed the code of silence murder trials in federal court.  At the same time, I worked as a prosecuting attorney in a high-crime area nearby.  On my way home from work, I’d stop and say hello to a man, who’d be sitting on his stoop in Charlestown, smoking a cigarette.  One day, I didn’t see him anymore.  He was murdered and his murder still remains unsolved.  I witnessed the frustration of the homicide detectives as they dealt with this pervasive code of silence: don’t see anything, don’t hear anything, and never talk to cops. I became consumed with this street code of justice and why it permeated Charlestown.  I spent many hours working my plot in the community gardens with several older men who shared stories and secrets about Charlestown and how the code had been in place since the immigrants came over in the nineteenth century, settled there, and worked as longshoremen.  The Mothers against Murder group and their determination to end the code of silence also deeply influence my writing.  Under Oath evolved from the streets of Charlestown.  It’s the story of a community that unfolds in the courtroom.  Protagonist Annie Fitzgerald is the prosecutor in charge of the unsolved murder cases; thus, it is incumbent upon her to win her case against Charletown’s most notorious crime boss and break the age-old code of silence.  People who enjoy reading legal page-turners from Scott Turow, Michael Connolly, and John Grisham will like Under Oath.  The police investigations appeal to fans of Law & Order and CSI.  Readers say they learn something from the forensics parts, and they like the dramatic courtroom scenes, especially defense attorney Buddy Clancy’s grueling cross-examinations.

   The “code of silence” remains sacred in Charlestown, one of the most historic yet insular neighborhoods of Boston. Gangster Billy Malone stand accused of killing Trevor Shea, a suspected FBI informant, with a potent dose of heroin. Prosecutor Annie Fitzgerald must crack the infamous code of silence and battle seasoned criminal defense attorney Buddy Clancy, who unleashes reasonable doubt with his penetrating cross-examinations.  The trial explodes into a high-energy race to justice when Annie’s chief witness is killed, jurors defy their instructions, and FBI cover-ups obscure the truth. While the jurors are deliberating, Annie discovers incriminating evidence against the Malones.   Time is of the essence...but will justice prevail?

7 Responses
  1. I always find it strange that people would remain silent about things like murder and kidnapping if they've seen something. Sometimes nothing is stronger than fear, I guess. Wasn't there a Ben Affleck movie involving Charlestown?

  2. Jenny Says:

    Wow, 1 square mile had the highest unsolved murder rate in the country? That's crazy. I don't read too many legal thrillers, but this one sounds utterly fascinating and I love that it comes from something the author experienced. Thanks for the chance to win!

  3. When we lived in Sandwich on Cape Cod we had neighbors that grew up close to this area and talked about the notorious killers living near them as the grew up. This would be an awesome book. Great guest post!


  4. @Z: Yeah, there was. It was called "The Town" which came out in 2010.

  5. I don't read too many of this kind of thrillers, but it seems when I pick one up, I enjoy it. Oh do put me in to win! ;)
    books (dot) things (at) yahoo (dot) com

  6. I love good legal thrillers and has been awhile since I have read one. This sounds gritty and suspenseful. Thanks for the opportunity! Heidi

  7. Rachel Says:

    This book sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway!
    Rachel Robertson
    malibu311 at gmail dot com

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