GUILT BY DEGREES by Marcia Clark


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From former L.A. Prosecuting Attorney Clark (the O.J. Simpson case), an engaging revisit to Rachel Knight, L.A. prosecuting attorney. 

Rachel Knight (Guilt by Association, 2011), star performer in L.A.’s elite Special Trials Unit, is famous for not suffering fools lightly. And for mouthiness. Those who love Rachel delight in the volatility implied here since her periodic explosions have in the past transmuted the dull and ordinary into the bright stuff of legends. Those who do not love Rachel—the always “carefully coiffed,” ever resentful Brandon Averill, for instance—mutter, sputter and often enough find icky little ways to complicate her life, even if inadvertently. So it is on the day Averill’s prosecutorial ineptitude adds a botched case to Rachel’s already jampacked list. It turns out, however, that the case has unexpected permutations, challenging to put it mildly. Seemingly routine at first, it involves the murder of an unidentified homeless man, another way of saying back burner. But when John Doe becomes Simon Bayer, younger brother of a police officer brutally slain a year earlier, Rachel has on her hands a homicide of a far different color. As always when difficulties loom—knotty professional issues, gnarly romantic entanglements—she calls on the small support cohort she thinks of as her “besties”: Det. Bailey Keller, tough, smart and gorgeous; and counselor Toni LaCollette, tough, smart, black and gorgeous. As the investigation deepens, the Bayer case assumes a mazelike pattern with frustrated Rachel always at least one twist behind—until suddenly, shockingly, she gets the insight that changes everything. The shrewd, coldblooded, elusive killer Rachel’s been pursuing up to now has developed an interesting new target: Rachel.

No sophomore jinx for Clark. Her second girlfriend novel, counterpart to the buddy novel, is serious fun.

Pub Date: May 8th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-316-12953-4
Page count: 368pp
Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 2012


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