Monday, June 19, 2017

A page-turning legal thriller of the highest calibre set in New Zealand

Presumed Guilty by Mark McGinn
Merlot Publishing, RRP $32.99

With a sour taste in her mouth after a client’s acquittal, feisty attorney Sasha Stace grabs the offer of a coveted judgeship. But the baby girl she adopted thirty years ago unexpectedly enters her life, pleading for help to defend Sasha’s ex-lover, accused of a brutal murder. The trial pits her against a deceitful and grudge-holding prosecutor while Sasha’s investigator, a man she yearns for, is convinced her ex is guilty.
In a trial of twists and setbacks in and out of the courtroom, achieving justice requires Sasha to be dogged in her determination to uncover others’ dark secrets, but this will leave her exposed to paying a terrible price.

Presumed Guilty has been longlisted for the 2017 Ngaio Marsh award for best New Zealand crime fiction.

‘A captivating and superbly plotted courtroom drama.’


About the author:
Christchurch human resources consultant, Mark McGinn, is the author of three previous novels, Deceit, Trust No One and Best Served Cold. His latest novel, Presumed Guilty, is a contemporary NZ story (set in a time where Treaty settlements were being debated) with the editor of a newspaper accused of the murder of his wife, who was an editor of an investigative magazine.

‘With this novel, I’d remembered being fascinated with how the principle of editorial independence worked in practice, how a media organisation dependent on private sector funding could, if it saw fit, publicly call to account one of its big advertisers. It was only a short step from that to have an editor accuse the police and local prosecutor of incompetence which set the foundation for the investigation of the editor and his subsequent trial.’

McGinn says he worked in the court system for many years before becoming a recruitment consultant and his intimate knowledge of criminal jury trials together with his knowledge of psychological assessments have informed his writing. ‘The trick is not to become too engrossed with technical detail in legal thrillers. You need to demonstrate to readers you know what you’re writing about, but keep the plot moving and build the characters, not bore them witless with details that don’t advance the plot.”

With crime writing burgeoning in New Zealand, McGinn wanted to have a point of difference. ‘Not many are writing legal thrillers in this part of the world. Another difference is that I wanted to have a strong female character (Sasha Stace QC) as a protagonist as this genre has largely been dominated by male characters in the past.’

Mark McGinn lives in Christchurch, NZ with his family. During a lengthy career in the New Zealand court system, Mark had the privilege of seeing some of the finest lawyers and judges in action in many notable criminal jury trials. That experience and his subsequent background in psychological assessment has enriched and driven his crime writing. More information at:


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