Title: Under Oath Author: Margaret McLean ISBN: 9781429924573 Publisher: Forge
Testifying in court is difficult for most witnesses and at times frightening. Officers and witnesses face the same cross-examination by the Prosecution and the Defense attorneys and either side can fire questions at will. One young girl named Jennianne Smith fears for her life, as she is about to take the stand against gangster Billy Malone accused of killing Trevor Shea, a suspected informant. Murder weapon: A perfect dose of heroin. But, this is not a usual trial or a usual case as the town of Charlestown holds its secrets close to the vest and their murders often go unsolved. No witnesses and many unsolved murders in this town and a Code Of Silence like their own Blue Wall that controls the outcome of many events. Never talk to the police, say nothing and keep it to yourself is their mantra. But, one young officer rehearses his role and other helps prepare him. One young girl's life hangs in the balance as she now faces the Grand Jury and the court scene is about to unfold as I review Under Oath by author Margaret McLean. Buddy Clancy is defending drug dealer Buddy Malone who seems to be the drug kind in Charlestown creating fear in many. Trevor Shea was an aspiring young artist whose paintings were extremely introspective and encompassed the inner most feelings and thoughts of the subjects painted. As the author describes each painting you can feel the emotion of each subject within the envelope yourself within the setting.
As the trial begins both sides present their cases and the show begins as the Defense attorney uses theatrics to get at the first two witnesses on the stand. One officer unsure of himself and the other one made to sound unfeeling both sides are in for a long battle as the only one that seems in control is the killer. Witnesses are called and evidence comes to light that might change the veracity of one witness's testimony as Clancy tries to destroy the rest. The author even allows you to hear the inner most thoughts of the foreman of the jury and one juror named Elaine he discusses the events with many others. But, the wall of silence runs even deeper as the FBI refuses to assist in the case or present the information that might help Annie. Why won't Trevor's brother help? Why so hostile and defeated before the case gets into full swing? As the star witness testifies something happens and she snaps fearing for her life and blurting out what would happen if they do not get twelve votes? Frustration, anger and fear fill the minds of the witnesses and Annie too as one goes missing and Jennianne flips out.
Courtroom scenes that short and concise and present the evidence in a clear-cut manner not only for the jury but the reader too. Frustrations run high, the judge seems to be siding with the defendant and Annie strikes out Trevor's brother and one police detective she holds responsible for her star witness's death. The playing field seems to have narrowed and the judge has to decide about whether to allow specific evidence read. With one witness dead will he allow Annie to have the witness's prior testimony given to the grand jury read in court? Will Malone finally get convicted or will he walk one more time? Just how many people did he pay off and how far does his power go?
As the case draws to a close and the evidence is presented the paintings will give you the answers you need as Billy Malone takes the stand the reason for so many deaths comes front and center. Just what did Trevor Shea paint and what was the message in his paintings? A town that believed in silence and the people living there kept quiet. A town filled with fear and many who would pay for their silence. Author and attorney Margaret McLean takes the reader inside the minds of the jurors, their thoughts, their analysis of the witnesses and the lawyers too. Taking the reader along with the jurors through court procedures, witness tampering and corruption in the police force and FBI all the way up to the top.
The ending will definitely surprise the reader with definite twists and turns in the case you won't see coming. When the verdict is supposed to be read wait until you see what happens. One young man tells it all in his paintings but just how do they reveal the truth you will have to learn for yourself. You see I am UNDER OATH and promised to tell the truth that this is a great mystery thriller but will never divulge the ending or verdict. Fran Lewis: Reviewer
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