>> Friday, June 1, 2012
Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark
Genre: Mystery / Legal Thriller
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 2012
Source: provided by the publisher through NetGalley
The Short Version:
Special Trials Prosecutor Rachel Knight takes on a case of a homeless man who was stabbed and left dying on a public sidewalk.
Why I Read It:
Marcia Clark impressed the heck out of me with her first Rachel Knight mystery and I have been eagerly anticipating the follow up book ever since.
The book opens with a prologue of a brutal murder. Two years later a homeless man is stabbed on a busy public sidewalk and left dying as people pass by and ignore him. The preliminary hearing for the suspect in the murder of the homeless man is botched by an incompetent DA and. Rachel Knight happens to be in the courtroom and is determined to seek justice for the nameless victim.
While it’s not a case that would normally be assigned to her Special Trials Unit, Rachel gets the go ahead to look into the case further without jeopardizing her existing caseload. As she and her friend Detective Bailey Keller begin to follow leads to the identity of the homeless man and the faceless killer they discover a connection to the brutal killing of a cop. Suddenly the case is clearly something that falls in the responsibility of her department of the LA District Attorney’s office.
The clues lead to a complex web of lies and misdirection. The legal and investigative story is combined with Rachel’s personal story. Her current love interest discovers some things about her past that Rachel has chosen to keep hidden. Events from her childhood still haunt her and while this causes a rift in her love life it also causes Rachel to face things she’s been avoiding. Making things even harder are the political games being played within the DA’s office.
The links between the dead cop and the dead homeless man have Rachel and her team in danger of more deaths before the case is solved.
Everything I liked about Marcia Clark’s first novel continues in her second. I’m already looking forward to the next Rachel Knight book.
Rachel and her two best friends are fun and smart. The friendships read as real and Clark’s background (yes, she’s THAT Marcia Clark) means the legal and investigative parts also read as real. The primary mystery develops into a bit of a double pronged investigation that makes for a fast paced and complex story.
I liked that this time around Rachel’s background is explored more in depth. Yes it also causes tension in her love life but that part doesn’t become a distracting romance drama to the major storyline. It exists alongside and is an element that again makes Rachel seem more genuine with genuine personal life distractions that impact her work life. Rachel and her friends drive much of the story but the male characters are also well done.
All of the stories blend in a good mix of action and legal procedure that resolves the major issues in the book yet immediately puts the next book in the series on the waiting list.
Although it’s the second in a series this one can easily be read without having read the first. Pour yourself a vodka martini and enjoy.