By: Margaret McLean
Publishing Date: June 2011
Reviewed by: Mary Lignor
Review Date: July 2011
One horrible night in Boston, there is a fire that demolishes a store run by a Muslim immigrant, Amina Dialo and her 15-year-old son Malick. She and her son are rescued from the burning building by the Boston Fire Department. Sadly, the fireman who got to her first was shot and killed and Amina is charged with arson and murder. Considering Boston's extremely uneasy feelings about Muslims, the feelings about this crime supposedly by a Muslim against a city hero will eventually come to the surface and this woman will certainly be convicted.
Sarah Lynch, a former prosecutor and her uncle Buddy Clancy, a criminal lawyer are hired to defend Amina. They are facing a barrage of troubles from the community of Boston, the Fire Department, the State Police and their own legal system to convict this woman who, the people think, deliberately set the fire in order to collect the insurance. This turns out to be an ugly fight as the two lawyers face a huge amount of racial and religious prejudices that are brought up again and again throughout the trial.
However, Sarah and Buddy succeed in turning things around on the prosecution and begin to get through to the jury that the proof against Amina is full of holes. When the defense begins to convince some of the jury members of certain facts, Amina is attacked in open court and documents that might possibly see her in a new light are stolen. As the defense lawyers work against all odds, they discover a mass of political corruption implicating the Governor and a wealth of information concerning a casino project that will erase many working-class neighborhoods in the area. Sarah and Buddy go after these people and the result may be that this will be Amina's only chance of an acquittal.
The author has written this very informative book based on actual cases that she prosecuted in Boston. There are parts of the novel that deal directly with the jury panel and their thoughts. Excellent research by Ms. McLean and the fact that she is a great story teller and certainly able to walk in the footsteps of Grisham and Turow. This is an exciting new legal thriller that will keep you on your toes for a great day of reading.
Quill Says: An extremely readable book written by a former prosecutor in the legal system. A busy book that will keep the pages turning until the very last page. Readers will be reluctant to put this one down.