Guilt by Association

While the nation’s interest became riveted on the Casey Anthony murder case, I was finishing a mystery written by a woman who figured prominently in an old nation-riveting murder case, that of O.J. Simpson. The woman in question was Marcia Clark, chief prosecutor of that case who has just published her first novel, Guilt by Association, Mulholland Books April 2011.

The protagonist of Guilt by Association resembles the driven, gutsy Marcia Clark of yore. Her alter ego, L.A. Deputy D.A. Rachel Knight, is a prosecutor in  the Special Trials Unit which tries the most notorious of cases.  When her friend and colleague, Jake, is found dead in a seedy motel under embarrassing circumstances, Rachel  desperately wants to prove his innocence. Instead she is specifically forbidden to investigate his death and instead inherits a case on his desk, the rape of a prominent doctor’s daughter.  Not to be put off, Rachel enlists the aid of friend Detective Bailey and a host of specialists to solve both cases. And this is where Clark’s novel rises above the normal legal thriller genre. She knows her stuff and has created a cast of sub characters which both enrich the novel and inform the reader. From forensic specialists, to coroners, police and even a judge, Rachel Knight uses her people wisely and with rare good humor and ties the loose threads together ingeniously.

The conversations between good buddies Bailey and Rachel  glow with an authenticity of real girl friends. Rachel lives in the Biltmore Hotel, and the staff offer even more support. They are, by and large, people I would like to meet.  I liked this book immensely and truly want to visit this world again. Are you listening, Marcia?

Lisa Scottoline, John Grisham, Linda Fairstein & Scott Turow, move over. There is a new kid on the block.

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