Friday, January 31, 2014

book review: Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark

The backstory: Killer Ambition is the third mystery in Marcia Clark's Rachel Knight series. I've already enjoyed and reviewed Guilt by Association and Guilt by Degrees.

The basics: When a famous Hollywood director's daughter is murdered, in what seems to be a kidnapping gone wrong, D.A. Rachel Knight and her best friend, detective Bailey Keller, catch the case and the spotlight. Of course, things are never quite what they seem in a Marcia Clark novel, and the actual mystery is much more complicated than a simple whodunit.

My thoughts: After starting this series in December (the week I found out I was pregnant and only wanted to lose myself in mysteries), I read all three books back-to-back-to-back in a single week. I've spaced out my reviews so as not to delude you all at once, but I am so in love with this series and these characters. Overall, this mystery wasn't quite as compelling as the one in Guilt by Degrees, but I enjoyed reading it just as much. The trio of Rachel, Bailey, and fellow DA Toni is a beautifully realistic friendship, and I enjoyed their quiet moments of normalcy in this novel as much as I enjoyed the twisty mystery.

This novel, and the mystery at its core, are both quintessential Hollywood. Clark takes us behind the glamour and celebrity in a fascinating way. I most appreciated that although these Hollywood archetypes were easily recognizable, they didn't strike me as thin facades for actual people as much as familiar composites. As much as I love characters based on real famous people, it easily could have detracted from the mystery.

Favorite passage:  "I had no particular reason to think Mackenzie would lie to us. But my experience with teenagers has taught me that they invariably keep secrets from the adult world and they consider it an honor to guard those secrets closely. I don’t think it’s nefarious, I think it’s just tribal loyalty."

The verdict: The payoff in Killer Ambition wasn't as shocking as Guilt by Degrees, but the journey was just as twisty and fascinating. Clark manages to continue to develop the core characters and their relationship with one another while also telling a dynamic mystery. The Competition, the fourth Rachel Knight mystery, comes out July 8, which is too far away for my liking.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Length: 464 pages
Publication date: June 18, 2013
Source: purchased

Convinced? Treat yourself! Buy Killer Ambition from an independent bookstore, the Book Depository or Amazon (Kindle edition.)

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

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1 comment:

  1. Killer Ambition sounds intriguing, and I'll be checking out the author's whole series. This is right up my alley. Thank you for such an excellent review! You might also enjoy a great book I just finished by Eliot Hartford Bailey called, Chasing A Miracle. It has a little bit of everything – Action, adventure, conspiracy, religion, drama, love, government, travel, sci-fi. I can see this one being made into a movie one day! You can find the author's website here:


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