Until Proven Guilty Summary
by Christine McGuire

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Until Proven Guilty

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY is the first fictional work by the author of the best-selling true story, A PERFECT VICTIM (1988). In her novel, McGuire introduces the character of Kathryn Mackay, a hard-working and ambitious young prosecutor in a Northern California city, who is assigned to head the search for a man who is kidnapping, murdering, and mutilating young Hispanic women. Mackay’s job is made more difficult by the fact that someone is leaking inside information to Ricardo Sanchez, an unscrupulous television newsman with no compunctions about revealing the investigators’ findings to his viewers and thus to the killer himself.

Even though Mackay has the help of the best people available, including her former lover Dave Granz, an inspector with the district attorney’s office, and Steve Giordano, an expert on the psychology of serial killers, it seems that the murderer is always one step ahead of his pursuers. Indeed, he is so sure that he will not be caught that he sends boastful notes to those connected with the case. When good police work pays off and the team comes up with a list of suspects, the killer’s communications turn into threats. Immediately, Mackay makes sure that her six-year-old daughter is protected, but she does not foresee how close both Granz and she will come to death before the murderer is brought to justice.

UNTIL PROVEN GUILTY displays the best qualities of two genres. In the police procedural tradition, it follows a team of well-trained professionals as they work methodically toward the solution of a crime. At the same time, by placing her appealing heroine in danger, the author ensures the build of suspense which defines this book as a superb thriller.