Tag Archives: Marcia Clark

Have you read this one? Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark

8 Jul

     Besides writing my own books, I read constantly, both because I have had a life-long love affair with books, and because I like to see what other writers are saying. I review books for Suspense Magazine, which gives me an opportunity to dip into titles that I might not have picked up otherwise. In this process I have discovered some new favorite novelists.

One of my recent favorites is Marcia Clark, best known for her role as a prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial. Ms. Clark has authored three legal suspense novels that show not only her legal experience, but also a talent for tense, intriguing suspense dramas.

The following is the review I wrote for her latest, Killer Ambition:

Marcia Clark scores once again with a taut, suspenseful and intelligent legal thriller. In the third Rachel Knight novel, the teenage daughter of wealthy Hollywood director Russell Antonovich is kidnapped. After he delivers the ransom money, one million dollars in cash, the girl is found dead in the trunk of a car at the Los Angeles airport. DA Rachel Knight and her friend Bailey Keller, a detective from the LAPD, believe the case to be a kidnapping gone wrong, until the suspected kidnapper is also found dead in a shallow grave on a remote mountain road.

As the investigation proceeds, the prosecution’s evidence points toward Ian Powers, a former child star, now high profile manager and close family friend of the dead girl, Hayley Antonovich. Although the police find strong forensic evidence, they are unable to identify a motive for the killing, until Rachel and her associates dig deeper into the backgrounds of Antonovich and Powers, as well as the would-be kidnapper and Hayley’s boy friend, Brian Maher.

The criminal trial begins, and Rachel is pitted against a defense attorney who does not hesitate to use any dirty trick available to discredit the prosecution’s evidence. And as well as proving her case, Rachel must deal with the members of the press who hone in on a great celebrity story, no matter who is guilty or innocent. Eventually the truth comes out, illustrating the lengths to which will go in order to achieve success in a cut-throat industry.

Ms. Clark’s strong female characters and insight into both the motivations of the criminals and those who surround them, as well as the lawyers and police who search for the truth, make this an exceptional novel. Her personal experience as a prosecutor make her uniquely qualified to write about the investigations and courtroom proceedings, but her strong writing makes the novel entertaining and satisfying.

 

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Friday Book Review – Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark

13 Jan

In Marcia Clark’s first attempt at fiction, she has produced a well-crafted legal mystery set in the Los Angeles district attorney’s office, a setting Ms. Clark knows well. Protagonist Rachel Knight must deal with her assigned cases as a member of the DA’s Special Trials Unit, which handles high profile cases, as well as the murder of her friend and co-worker, a case she has been specifically told to stay away from.

Although this novel contains all the tension and grittiness one would expect in a story that takes the reader from sleazy motel rooms, to the wealthy Palisades neighborhood, to the turf of rival gangs, I was impressed that Ms. Clark has chosen to make her three main characters female. The women work together, or not, depending on the roles of each, with a smoothness that seems to say, “This is just the way it is.”

The case to which Rachel is officially assigned involves the rape of the fifteen year old daughter of a prominent pediatrician, who just happens to have political connections to the chief DA. As she interviews the family, she discovers discrepancies in their stories as well as prejudices that could lead to the conviction of the wrong person. Rachel balances on the edge between the expectations of her boss and her own hunches as she uses all her skills to get to the bottom of both cases and still keep her job.

Clark has created a character who hurts, celebrates, loves, hates and upsets her superiors and her friends. She breaks rules and asks for favors. But ultimately she puts the pieces together, even as she risks her own life.

Rachel Knight’s appeal is not so much that she is a super crime solver, which she is, but she is so very human. I look forward to more of Rachel Knight in future novels by Marcia Clark.

(Published in Suspense Magazine)