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Presumed Guilty by Mark McGinn

This is the third novel from author Mark McGinn featuring lawyer Sasha Stace. I haven’t read the first two books, but that was no barrier to reading this excellent crime novel.

Sasha Stace is a dedicated, feisty lawyer, looking to make a difference when she takes on defence cases. But she is disillusioned after a difficult rape trial, so when she is approached to become a judge, she looks it with considered interest. But then one more criminal defense case comes her way that she can’t refuse. Her former partner is defending the charge of murdering his wife, Lottie, the woman he had an affair with and then left Sasha to marry. To make things more complicated, the lawyer seeking Sasha’s help is the daughter she gave up for adoption thirty years ago. The stakes are high when she discovers that the prosecutor is prepared to fight dirty to make his case.

Sasha is a memorable, well-rounded character who has an admirable moral core, despite many pressures thrust on her with her new case. The plot is pacy, and the courtroom scenes are particularly engaging. This was a page-turner with plenty of twists and turns that I devoured to the end. It was refreshing to have a novel of this calibre set in New Zealand – I thoroughly enjoyed the local settings. Presumed Guilty is definitely to be recommended.


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