Review - Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark
Series: Rachel Knight #2
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Publication Date: 8 May 2012
Genre: Mystery - Procedural - Legal Thriller
My Copy: for review - publisher

Someone has been watching D.A. Rachel Knight--someone who's Rachel's equal in brains, but with more malicious intentions. It began when a near-impossible case fell into Rachel's lap, the suspectless homicide of a homeless man. In the face of courthouse backbiting and a gauzy web of clues, Rachel is determined to deliver justice. She's got back-up: tough-as-nails Detective Bailey Keller. As Rachel and Bailey stir things up, they're shocked to uncover a connection with the vicious murder of an LAPD cop a year earlier. Something tells Rachel someone knows the truth, someone who'd kill to keep it secret.

Harrowing, smart, and riotously entertaining, GUILT BY DEGREES is a thrilling ride through the world of LA courts with the unforgettable Rachel Knight.

* SPOILER WARNING: This may contain spoilers for the first book, Guilt by Association. *

Clark kicks up the suspense in Guilt by Degrees. What starts out as a seemingly simple stabbing develops into a life-threatening mystery for Rachel. One murder mystery leads to a second connected murder. This book is quite a bit different from the first, which is a refreshing break from most mysteries I've read with cookie cutter plots and new character names. The mystery seemed to focus less upon who the murderer is and more upon why the murder occurred.

In the second installment of the Rachel Knight series, we also learn more about her past. The disappearance of her sister Romy is mentioned a few times in the first book. Now we get the story of how it happened, and why Rachel doesn't talk about it. The relationship between her and Graden hits the rocks as well. We still see a lot of Bailey, although not much of Toni. Bailey is the rock steady kind of friend I would want to have my back. We even get an appearance by Luis.

Just a heads up, the book is mostly told in first person from Rachel's perspective, but there are a few scenes scattered through told from third person. However, the third person point of view is focused on someone other than Rachel, so it adds another dimension to the story without creating a lot of confusion. Clark also did a much better job of moving the story along without repeating the tedious details of daily life. I mentioned in my review of the first book that the story was a little repetitive in how she progressed the mystery. This installment has more action and less filler.

The ending didn't completely wrap up this time. The murderer is discovered, but she left a few threads which I expect to lead to a third book. I was impressed with Guilt by Degrees and even found it surpassing the first. I will definitely be reading the next book. Also, be sure to check out the short story, If I'm Dead.

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


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