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Presumption of Innocence (David Brunelle Legal Thriller Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Stephen Penner
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $11.99
Kindle Price: $0.99
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New Adult Fiction by Rainbow Rowell
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Book Description

Homicide prosecutor David Brunelle faces the most difficult case of his career. An innocent young girl is murdered in a heinous, unforgivable way. The only evidence against the killer is the full confession of his accomplice--another young girl he also victimized. But the accomplice is charged with the murder as well, which means she has the right to remain silent. And she's so scared of the killer, she refuses to take a deal to testify against him. Brunelle can't just let the murderer walk, but how can he get a conviction when he has no admissible evidence and the killer is protected by the PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE?

Editorial Reviews


Penner is at least on par with John Grisham regarding accuracy of the rules of evidence in a criminal trial and trial procedure. Penner comes out ahead, in my opinion, in that he doesn't misstate legal rules for dramatic effect the way Grisham sometimes does. -Amazon Reader Review

I just finished The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly and Connelly's courtroom scenes and legal procedure pale compared to Penner's book. Penner's writing is approaching the driving, got-to-keep-reading style of Connelly's. This is an excellent and fun book. -Amazon Reader Review

I really enjoyed this novel. It has everything I look for in a legal thriller: a character I can cheer for, some humor, some suspense, court room surprises, legal strategies, cross examinations, and an unexpected witness. The character of David Brunelle is very well written. I loved it! -Amazon Reader Review

Product Details

  • File Size: 899 KB
  • Print Length: 246 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 061566461X
  • Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
  • Publisher: Ring of Fire Publishing (January 2, 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008GUMJO6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #6,926 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great criminal trial novel July 23, 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Penner is at least on par with Grisham regarding accuracy) of the rules of evidence in a criminal trial and trial procedure. Penner comes out ahead, in my opinion, in that he doesn't misstate legal rules for dramatic effect the way Grisham sometimes does.

The writing is tight, the pace is consistent. I would like to have seen a little more character development. The female characters were defined chiefly by their body type and style of clothing.

The male lead character is a senior assistant district district attorney tasked with the prosecution of a guilty murder defendant with no physical evidence and his only witness is a juvenile co-defendant. The rules protecting a defendant from being forced to give testimony against one's interest would prevent that co-defendant/witness from giving evidence, whether they are tried together or seperately. This is further complicated by the juvenile issue. Penner does an excellent job of describing the legal issues that confront his hero.

In classic form, the day is saved by a surprise witness that the hero is able to put up because name was on the witness list given to the defense, but neither side expected this person to be called!

But that is not the heart-stopping conclusion that I won't reveal.

Overall, it is a great read. The legal issues are accurately presented. My minor caveates aside, I still recommend the book highly and look forward to other titles from Mr. Penner.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OMG!!! June 21, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
In all honesty, I had borrowed one of Stephen's books on Prime 3 days ago. Just 3 days ago. This review goes for all of his books, not just this one - as soon as I finished the borrowed book - I IMMEDIATELY purchased all his other books in this series starring David Brunnelle:
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt
Case Theory
Presumption of Innocence
Tribal Court
By Reason of Insanity
EVERY book a winner.
EVERY book fabulously written.
EVERY book will keep you reading.
EVERY Book is going to stay in my Kindle library because great books are meant to be kept and not discarded.
I just raved about him to my sister yesterday - she started and finished one book already and she could not believe how great a read it was either. She is ready for the next book - the sooner the better she said.
Each story is so good. I love the main characters already. I can speak of them as if they are my best friends or friends that I just met but feel like I have known them forever.
I am going to put this same review on every one of his books that I have read, so everyone who loves a well-written story with crime and police and court proceedings knows how truly great these books are!!
The crimes are original as is the storylines. All the characters are believable. You hate the ones you are supposed to and love the ones you should.
Open your kindle to Stephen Penner - YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!!
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Great Burnelle Mystery July 9, 2012
By Sprtsgy
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read two short stories with this character, I was really excited about the novel. And it did not disappoint. I love mysteries heavy on legal procedures. Penner's background as an attorney gives it great legitimacy. If you like "Law and Order," you'll love this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very enjoyable. June 29, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book. It was an excellent suspense novel with a great ending. As a retired King County Prosecutor I did note one error - prosecutors in King County - are not referred to as district attorneys. They are deputy prosecutors or senior deputy prosecutors.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good book September 9, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I think this is one of Penner's best. I don't care for reviews that read like eighth grade book reports, so I'm not going to sum up the whole plot. It's a courtroom drama. It's cleverly done and keeps you reading through the night...and the next night, too. I particularly like the way Penner describes court scenes. He doesn't insult the readers' intelligence with too much explanation, just enough to let you understand. This is a very good read.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting plot, but poorly written. May 31, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book is a good example of all that is bad about e-books. Anyone can write one and get it out there pretty easily. It is glaringly evident by all the grammar errors and typos that this book never saw an editor, much less a proofreader.

The constant distraction of numerous errata interrupts the flow of the plot and makes it hard to take Mr. Penner's writing seriously. That kind of attitude on the author's part shows an arrogant disrespect for his readers.

The author does show some promise, but the only way I would ever read anything else by him is if it were free. It would be interesting to see if Stephen Penner ever hones his skills and develops his talent.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not believable May 10, 2013
By DianeG
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The book leads you through a court case where absolutely nothing is planned. Who will show up as witnesses is just a big guess, and the prosecuter is trying to figure out things as he goes along. I found it to be a frustrating read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fell apart August 30, 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I really enjoy legal thrillers and was looking forward to reading a new author. I was enjoying the book and then I got to the end and I thought it just fell apart. A surprise ending and then everything goes back to normal without explaining legally how the rest of the story unfolds. I won't be reading another book by this author.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping
This is my first Steven Penner book. I'm a real mystery fan and this book grabbed me right from the very first page. Read more
Published 4 days ago by Judy S
4.0 out of 5 stars Solid legal procedural
Overall I thought this was a pretty solid book. Very quick read, which was perfect for a lazy summer day. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Marc Gibson
4.0 out of 5 stars JUST RIGHT
It's exactly what you think you're going to get...good story...reoccurring characters in each book...little moves along easily. Read more
Published 11 days ago by Skippi Cross
4.0 out of 5 stars Exciting
Fast moving with interesting episodes in the narrative, a bit unbelievable at times, but well worth the read. I will read other books by this author.
Published 26 days ago by Bob. Thomas
5.0 out of 5 stars Real Drama - Neat and Clean
There is no disappointment when Brunelle take a case. From the first page to the last, the reader is drawn ahead, even into the wee hours of the night. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Paul R. Feiger
4.0 out of 5 stars A Little Vampy
Fast read; interesting characters.
This is one attorney character that doesn't walk with God and have super powers...Refreshing change. Read more
Published 1 month ago by hank
4.0 out of 5 stars A great summer read,
Outstanding character development and legal suspense.Contemporary subjects from vampire gangs to courtroom drama, a smooth, quick, entertaining book, one you will appreciate.
Published 1 month ago by John R. Wineman
5.0 out of 5 stars New Author For Me
First book I have read by Penner. Having worked the other side of the table (criminal defense), I found it well written and as accurate (at least as much as I can remember!). Read more
Published 1 month ago by Eliabeth M. Doepken
5.0 out of 5 stars Great
Great debut of David Brunelle, criminal prosecutor. He's got a sharp mind and a good sense of humor. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Kindle Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars great read
I read every night before bed. This book kept me up way past my bedtime because I couldn't put it down!
Published 2 months ago by Mariby rushton
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More About the Author

Stephen Penner is an author, artist, and attorney from Seattle. He writes a variety of fiction, including thrillers, mysteries, and children's books.

His works include the David Brunelle legal thrillers (starting with PRESUMPTION OF INNOCENCE) and the Maggie Devereaux paranormal mysteries (the SCOTTISH RITE series).

For more information, please visit his website:

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