In the extremely successful novel, Under Fire, readers met the ‘defensive’ side of law enforcement in the form of D.A. Buddy Clancy. In this new Boston courtroom drama, Ms. McLean offers a new twist on things. Although still a legal thriller, this is written from the prosecution’s side of the fence and features Annie Fitzgerald. But, take heart everyone, Buddy’s back, too.
Charlestown, which is a neighborhood of South Boston, has been the site of 33 unsolved murders between the years of 1975 to 1992. This area also has the dubious honor of never producing any witnesses to these crimes; there was never one arrest in any of the cases. There was a time in this area known only as The Code of Silence, meaning see no evil, hear no evil and speak no evil…especially to the police.
Buddy Clancy, aforementioned D.A., is hired to defend Billy Malone – a killer and drug dealer in that area. Prosecutor Annie Fitzgerald is joining up with the Boston Homicide Department Detective Mike Callahan who has been after Malone to put him out of the crime business for many years. Malone is on trial for the killing of a young artist, Trevor Shea, who painted extremely lifelike portraits of the locals, and Annie brings one of the portraits into the courtroom as she believes that the pictures will tell the Judge and Jury exactly ho was responsible for Trevor’s death.
As stated before, it’s difficult to find witnesses who will testify against Malone, and Attorney Clancy is very adept in creating doubt in the minds of the Jury. With Annie’s most important witness murdered and the FBI interfering at every turn, she and Callahan are finding it almost impossible to try the case.
This is a very intriguing read that will keep legal/thriller readers super-busy. The scenes in Charlestown are mind-boggling and the justice system is put on trial, covering all the questions that exist in today’s legal system. McLean writes some exceptional trial scenes but doesn’t make the whole book take place in a courtroom, which many legal thrillers tend to do. Sometimes courtroom scenes go on and on and the reader loses the story line. MacLean knows this, and makes sure to keep this action fully-loaded right up until the last word.
Until Next Time, Everybody