Review - Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark
Series: Rachel Knight #1
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 20 April 2011
Genre: Mystery - Procedural
My Copy: for review - publisher

Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation--and her life--to find the truth.

With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene.

This book, as well as the second, came to me rather unexpectedly from the publisher. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from it. I like the occasional procedural mystery, but I haven't read many. This one coming from the perspective of a DA rather than a detective made me wonder as well. Because of this, I read the sample available for the Kindle before accepting the book for review. I found myself easily hooked by the story, although perhaps not without doubt about whether or not it was for me.

Turns out I didn't need to worry. The book kept at a solid pace and with just enough clues coming up at regular intervals to keep the story moving but without giving away the ending. The plot has several mysteries to keep the reader's mind working. Guilt by Association is full of great side characters from Rachel's friends (Bailey and Toni), to her maybe-future-love-interest (Graden), and even the suspects (Luis!).

Rachel is a stubborn DA who is reluctant to believe ill of her coworker, Jake, even when things begin to look dark. Throughout the book we see her walk a thin line of legality in order to bring justice. The plot gives the reader a view into the seedier side of LA and Hollywood. Some aspects of the book might be too dark for some readers. Bailey compliments Rachel well in the story as the no-nonsense detective. Toni provides a lighter side to Rachel's friends. Graden is a likable guy who doesn't doubt Rachel's abilities at every turn like the men in many cozy mysteries. Luis continually had me snickering. I kind of hope to see him in the second book although I kind of doubt I will.

The ending wraps up the story nicely and leaves no nagging questions at the end. There were a few times where the story seemed a bit repetitive (get a phone call, drive around, meet at a bar to discuss the case, repeat), but overall a great series starter. I look forward to finding out what trouble Rachel and Bailey get into in the next book.

Book Beginning:
"He snapped his cell phone shut and slit it into the pocket of his skin-tight jeans. The last piece was in place; it wouldn't be long now."

Rating Breakdown:
Plot: 4 hearts
Pacing: 4 hearts
Characters: 5 hearts
Ending: 5 hearts
Recommend: Yes!


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