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Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark

Rachel Knight is a Deputy District Attorney in the Special Trials Unit in Los Angeles, an elite unit that specialises in complex, high profile cases. Rachel is smart and feisty, swears in the courtroom, carries an unlicensed gun, and has a reputation for being outspoken and insubordinate. Rachel’s life is shattered when her friend and colleague, a young attorney named Jake Pahlmeyer, is found dead in a seedy LA motel room, along with the body of a teenage male prostitute. The police are calling it a murder/suicide, but Rachel is convinced there’s more to the story. Despite an official warning not to get involved, she launches her own investigation into Jake’s death. At the same time, she is under pressure to solve a high-profile rape case involving the traumatised teenage daughter of a rich and influential doctor who wants justice for his girl – at any cost.

My Review

This was a delightful surprise of a story. For a debut novel Marcia Clark has done well in delivering a nicely paced out story and ends the story with a tight and excellent closing. From an author who has been there done it and got the t-shirt so to say in having the experience and expertise in Law, the crime world and the pursuit of justice. Her expertise is apparent in her clear cut writing and explanations of the ins and outs of the law that the main protagonist of this story also a District Attorney faces in the this story. The fluid storytelling alongside with her knowledge is indeed promising a good future with her novels to come as she brings us to the heart of darkness and serves up justice upon those guilty.
I am a fan of the TV series Law and Order, I felt like I was in the head of one of those D.A characters stripped from the screens.
I have not read in the past many law thrillers or stories featuring a D.A as a main protagonist due to feeling daunted a bit in thinking that it would read as too cerebral or have too much Legal terms. Indeed I am pleasantly surprised she’s made me into a fan of her legal thrillers at least. This story does not have any of the above just like James Ellroy’s’ praise on the cover mentions it does have plenty of thrill. When James Ellroy, a master crime storyteller, gives praise he has always been right in my experience, a man who has penned The Black Dahlia a momentous work covering true crime.

Pornographers, rape, arson and murder are the crimes included within these pages and our D.A is one smart and disciplined woman in the pursuit of justice of these crimes.
The story features investigations around a web of high profile characters involving a multimillionaire powerbroker, a D.A, and young gang bangers.

To sum it all up it was a an easy read, not full of legal boring stuff but darn good story, a thrill ride in the pursuit of justice, lock in and be hooked like I was. She has changed my whole perception on legal thrillers.

“An air of sadness and shock floated around her like the broken tendrils of a spider web. The sight pulled at my heart. I knew that emotionally broken feeling very well –the world-shattering discovery that the safety net of security she’d always taken for granted was just a fairy tale. Whatever had happened there, Susan would never be the same. It’d been a while since I’d handled a case with a live rape victim, but my past experience had taught me that rape victims often don’t know who they hate more-the cops and prosecutor who make them relive the nightmare over and over, or the animals who put them in the position of having to do it. It would take some winning over to let Susan know I understand that.”

“The lines were delivered with maximum heartrending angst. Teens can wring drama out of the way paint dries, but having been in love with a boy who’d been killed under strange and mysterious circumstance was the jackpot of teen tragedy. Unless he then turned into a vampire. That was the megajackpot.”

Purchase from Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.com

Reviewed by Lou Pendergrast on 28 February 2012

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