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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark

Guilt by Degrees  

Recently, I read my first Marcia Clark novel (The Competition) as a NetGalley ebook, and to my surprise, I liked it a lot.  I'm not sure why I was surprised--having a previous career as a high profile lawyer doesn't preclude the ability to write.

The characters and the dialogue in The Competition drew me in.  I enjoyed the camaraderie of Rachel Knight, Bailey Keller, and Toni Lacollette and liked the mix of humor that the friendships interjected in the midst of an intense investigation.

When NetGalley offered more Marcia Clark novels, I immediately requested and downloaded them.  I intended to read them in order, but goofed, so I still have to go back and read the first one.

In Guilt by Degrees, Rachel Knight is appalled at the handling of a case involving the death of a homeless man and manages to take it over.   As she and Bailey Keller attempt to determine whether or not the homeless man's death was a murder, whether he was threatening or not, and who actually killed him, the two discover connections to an old case.  What appeared a random situation turns much more complicated and dangerous.

Once again, the highlight of the novel is the way Rachel Knight and Bailey Keller work together to solve the mysteries.  The mystery is intriguing and suspenseful, but the relationship between the two women provides an essential layer to the novel.  It is also interesting (when reading a series out of order) to piece together personal backgrounds and relationships.  

Quibbles:  The prologue has a violent murder that bothered me, but after that, no more gore.  There is an awful lot of time spent on naming restaurants in L.A.  This was true in the in The Competition as well.  The local detail is probably more appealing to L.A. residents, but almost every meal has a specific restaurant. Minor quibble.  

Positives:  Great female lead with strong female supporting characters.  Interesting and often amusing dialogue.  Suspenseful plot.  Compelling style.  Clark has a talent for engaging  readers in both narrative and character.

I'm quickly becoming a fan of Marcia Clark and the inimitable Rachel Knight!  

NetGalley/Mulholland Books

Police Procedural/Mystery.  2013.  Print length:  449 pages.


  1. It's funny you mention being surprised you liked The Competition a lot. She's so famous (at least she is out this way) that it makes me reluctant to start any of her books. I want to though. I've heard they are good and I have four of them. I just need to get over my doubts and dive in.

  2. Sounds like a good combination of characterisations and plot developments; a must-have for a good crime thriller. Ok, now I've another author to look out for. :)

  3. Wendy - That is exactly the way I felt about reading Marcia Clark, but her novels are really good! I think you will enjoy them.

    Melody - I know! Too many books to read. I have a que of books on my Kindle and a long list of titles and authors on my TBR list.