Monday, July 25, 2011

Review-Under Fire, by Margaret McLean

Margaret McLean
A Forge Hardcover
Summer 2011
$24.99, Hardcover
400 pages

 Review by Wisteria

Readers of my blog know I don’t review too many thrillers/trial fiction. I have read many of John Grisham’s and Scott Turow's legal dramas with enthusiasm. I was really interested in reading  and reviewing UNDER FIRE for two reasons, one, the author is female and two, Margaret McLean was a practicing criminal prosecutor and  currently teaches law.  I'm glad I followed my sixth sense on this one because I read it in one day recently when the heat index was over 110 degrees. Talk about being under fire.

Amina Diallo is a Muslim Senegalese immigrant accused of burning down her home and market business. During an attempt to save her and her fifteen year old son Malick, a Boston firefighter is shot and killed. The last person who saw the victim alive is his partner Andy who recalls seeing Amina pointing a gun.   Amina is charged with murder and arson. Her case causes high profile attention and rapidly instills anger and hostility toward the accused. The murder of a firefighter in the line of duty has already pronounced her guilty in the eyes of the world.

Amina has retained Buddy Clancy, her somewhat eccentrically quirky, laid-back and seasoned defense lawyer. He has an affinity for colorful often purposeful bow-ties and he and his dog Rehnquist always wear a matched pair.  Buddy’s niece Sarah Lynch was a prosecuting attorney fighting the gangs. When tragedy impedes her ability to continue, she focuses on playing hockey, giving up law.  When her uncle Buddy ropes Sarah into agreeing to meet with Amina, just to talk, Sarah is reluctant. During the meeting, she learns something interesting about Amina, and suddenly realizes she believes in her innocence.  Sarah agrees to work with her uncle on the defense side of the court.

The plot is plausible and the writing easy going. The character of Buddy Clancy definitely steals the show or the trial scene anyway. He is in command at all times with witty quips and humor that often has him on the hot seat with Judge Killian. Nothing seems to phase the patient Buddy, and he is the antithesis of his aggressive and impatient niece Sarah. They make for a near perfect legal team and in my opinion the drama of the court trial is the most exciting. At the end, the author leaves room for what you think will be a sequel or series.

If you like trial quick paced puzzling criminal fiction, UNDER FIRE will deliver sharp trial banter.  Margaret McLean’s background is a huge benefit as she expresses her story with authenticity. UNDER OATH, her second novel is due out in April 2012, fortunately with the same amusing character Buddy Clancy and his dog Rehnquist.

Disclosure: I was sent  a copy of this book by the publisher at no cost.  My review is an honest reflection of my opinion.

© [Wisteria Leigh] and [Bookworm's Dinner], [2008-2011].

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