Monday, December 16, 2013

book review: Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark

The basics: In Guilt by Association, the first novel in Marcia Clark's Rachel Knight series, Los Angeles deputy district attorney Rachel Knight must take on a difficult case, the sexual assault of the teenage daughter of a close friend of the district attorney, when her fellow DDA and close friend, Jake, is found dead with a teenage boy in a sleazy motel. Rachel simultaneously investigates Jake's death--against the orders of her boss.

My thoughts: I was enamored with this novel from its first pages. Clark writes with fluidity and her characters jump off the page. This world, even one grounded so well in reality, is remarkably well constructed. Rachel Knight is dynamic character. I want to meet her for martinis after work...and I also want her to prosecute the guilty. I particularly enjoyed the two strongest female friendships in her life: with fellow DDA Toni and LAPD detective Bailey Keller. The friendships of these women are wonderfully realized, both professionally and personally.

As is often the case with the first mystery in a series, much of the action centers around a case that's personal for the main character. In this novel, it doesn't feel like a convention. Clark strikes the right balance between business and personal, and as Rachel keeps searching for clues in Jake's case, there's a refreshing authenticity to her insubordination. The payoff is a good one, even if Clark gives a way a few of its twists to a careful reader. I'll forgive her these overt teases for creating such a rich cast of characters and a complicated pair of mysteries in her debut novel

The verdict: Guilt by Association is a promising start to a series. The mystery itself was compelling, even as some of its twists and turns were less surprising than others. The true highlight of the book, however, are its characters. Rachel Knight is a dynamic heroine to root for.

Rating: 4 out of 5 
Length: 373 pages
Publication date: April 20, 2011
Source: purchased

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Guilt by Association from Amazon (Kindle edition--only $2.99!)

Want more? Visit Marcia Clark's website, like her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

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