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? Former prosecutor Margaret McLean combines the best of John Grisham's legal thrillers and Dennis Lehane's Boston crime novels in Under Oath.
|Publisher:||Tom Doherty Associates|
|Product dimensions:||5.10(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)|
About the Author
Margaret McLean was born and raised in Rome, New York. She graduated magna cum laude from Boston College and earned her law degree from Boston College Law School. McLean practiced law as a criminal prosecutor and currently teaches law at Boston College's Carroll School of Management. In 2010, she was hailed as one of the next faces of Boston crime fiction by The Boston Globe. She has cowritten a dramatic courtroom play based on her second novel, Under Oath, which is in development with the Playwrights/Directors Unit at the Actors Studio in New York City. She lives in Norwell, Massachusetts, with her three children.
Read an Excerpt
By Margaret McLean
Forge BooksCopyright © 2012 Margaret McLean
All right reserved.
Presentation of evidence before the Grand Jury of Suffolk County, Massachusetts, against William Joseph Malone. Murder indictment pending. November twenty-first.
“DO YOU SWEAR to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help you God?”
Please help me God.
“Miss?” the clerk said.
See nothing, hear nothing …
“Miss?” The clerk cleared his throat.
“I do.” Jennianne’s right hand trembled. Stop now, save yourself. She counted thirteen lint specks in the courtroom rug.
“Good morning.” Annie Fitzgerald’s voice carried across the room and seemed to hover in the air before it landed. Jennianne felt the intensity of the prosecutor’s Asian-shaped eyes without even looking at her. She was Fitzgerald’s star witness before the grand jury, which meant she had to break the code.
“Please introduce yourself to the ladies and gentlemen of the grand jury.” Fitzgerald sounded anxious.
Jennianne peeked through an opening in her yellow bangs, and examined row by row of wooden benches where the public usually sat. They were empty as Fitzgerald had promised. She glanced at the defense table. Empty, too. Thank God. She could never do this in front of him. Her gaze shifted to the right. Nothing but the dark paneled wall, the American flag, and the elevated judge’s bench. And to the left? She spotted the gold-fringed Massachusetts flag, and just beyond that … two rows of grand jurors, leaning forward, staring. She resumed counting specks in the rug.
“Please tell us your name.” Fitzgerald’s voice dropped an octave.
“Okay. And your last?”
“Smith.” She finally made eye contact with Fitzgerald. Why did she have to be the one to do this? Couldn’t Fitzgerald find someone else? Why did they pick this case? Billy Malone would win. He always did.
“How old are you?”
“Twenty-eight.” Too young to die.
“Where do you live?”
Where do I live? No one was supposed to know about the safe house except Detective Callahan. Billy would find her and kill her. There were three rules of survival: You see nothing, you hear nothing, and you never talk to cops. Jennianne had broken all three.
“Just tell us where you’re from.”
“Charlestown.” Jennianne tried to connect with Fitzgerald by looking through her eyes and into her soul. You know he’s going to kill me. Please don’t make me do this. Please, please, please, Annie. Don’t.
“Do you recall November tenth of last year?” Fitzgerald kept her voice steady.
Jennianne knew Fitzgerald would forge ahead at all costs. Can’t you just leave me alone? She inhaled deeply and nodded.
“Miss, please respond with a verbal answer,” the judge said.
“Mmm hmm.” Jennianne’s mouth went dry; her tongue shriveled. “Yes.”
“Do you recall what you were doing at approximately seven P.M.?”
See nothing, hear nothing, never talk to cops. Jennianne shivered. Detective Callahan had tossed her in jail and forced her into this. Fitzgerald, too. Her gaze flickered across the rows of grand jurors. According to Callahan, she needed their votes. She closed her eyes and recalled his words as they drove from the safe house that morning: “If twelve or more vote in favor of an indictment, the case will go to superior court.”
“What if you don’t get twelve votes?” Jennianne had asked.
“We’ll end up with a ‘no bill,’ and if that happens, the complaint against Billy Malone will be dismissed.”
“He’d walk free?”
“What’ll happen to me?”
Callahan had shrugged. “You’d go back to the projects.”
“But, he’ll kill me because he knows.”
“You’ll have to fend for yourself. So, if I were you, I’d do a real knock-up job today.”
“Jennianne?” Fitzgerald cleared her throat. “Shall I repeat the question?”
God help me. Jennianne opened her eyes, saw the grand jurors, and closed them again. She felt the sensation of cold air blowing across the nape of her neck, raising the tiny hairs. She pictured an emaciated Trevor Shea sitting behind that splintered easel of his, painting his life away. Ever since they were in first grade together with Sister Peg, Trevor had painted. What were you really doing all these years, Trev?
Without Jennianne’s voice, Trevor’s case would be tossed into that big box along with the rest of the unsolved murders. Fitzgerald had piled all those dead cases in a heap on the conference table in front of her. All twenty-six.
“What happened on November tenth?”
You killed yourself.
Copyright © 2012 by Margaret McLean
Excerpted from Under Oath by Margaret McLean Copyright © 2012 by Margaret McLean. Excerpted by permission.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Margaret McLean's UNDER OATH is an excellent first novel from a former prosecutor who knows the workings of the criminal courts inside and out. The courtroom segments of the book are by far the best, as the action takes place against the backdrop of the murder trial of two hoodlums from Charlestown, Massachusetts. The victim was from the same neighborhood as the accused Malone brothers, and the legendary 'code of silence' is always in the background as the trial unfolds. Malone thugs fiendishly locate and silence government witnesses before they can testify, and the victim's sister finds herself partnered with the chief detective as they attempt to undo the damage done to the prosecution's case. McLean's legal expertise and experience are evident throughout the book, ranging from an insolent bailiff to a biased juror, and by the book's suspense-filled end the reader will agree with one character's observation that 'The law is far from logical'. Part ALL SOULS and part BLACK MASS, McLean has written a worthy addition to Boston literature and I hope we see more of her work.
Full of suspense right up to the very last page. This is Ms McLean's first book and it is a stunning portrayal of the justice system in the Boston area. She really knows of what she writes.