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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark

Killer Ambition     

This is the 4th novel by Clark I've read, and all I can say is that once again she had me from "go."

It feels repetitious to add anything about the characters in general since I've mentioned how much I enjoy them in all three previous reviews.  The characters are funny and smart, determined and loyal.  If you want to know more about them, read my previous reviews.

Clark once again creates a plot that grabs the reader when an acclaimed (and fabulously wealthy) Hollywood director's daughter is kidnapped.  Although initially it might seem as if Hayley is a spoiled Hollywood brat, the truth is that Hayley is the kind of young woman who makes her own decisions with empathy and ethics in mind.

Rachel Knight is involved from the beginning, and she has a special commitment to this case because of the disappearance of her own sister when they were kids.   It isn't long before the wealth and influence of Hollywood begin interfering, however, which is not only frustrating to Rachel and Bailey, but could mean that the guilty party may get off scot free.  
 (digression:  I've used that phrase all my life, and suddenly wondered where it originated.  Nothing to do with Scotland as I'd thought, nor does it refer to the Dred Scott case as some believe.  Scot was a term for tax, and the Church scot or Rome scot didn't have to be paid.  Scot free=tax free.
 "The first reference in print to 'scot free' is in the Writ of Edward the Confessor. We don't have a precise date for the writ but Edward died in 1066, which is a long time before Dred Scott."  via The Phrase Finder)
The courtroom plays a more significant part in Killer Ambition than in the other novels in the series, and Rachel must pull out all the stops to keep the guilty party from going free.  

Marcia Clark belongs with the best of the writers in the field; her entertaining characters and well-written and well-developed plots provide hours of reading pleasure.  If you like mystery, legal thriller, or police procedurals, don't miss the opportunity to read the Rachel Knight series by Clark.  It won't hurt to read them out of order (I did), as each one functions perfectly well as a stand-alone, but of course, it is even better if you can begin with the first one and follow through chronologically.

Guilt by Association #1
Guilt by Degrees #2
Killer Ambition #3 (this review)
The Competition #4

read in july; blog post scheduled for Aug. 9

NetGalley/Mulholland Books

Legal thriller/Mystery.  2013.  Print length: 657 pages.


  1. I've never thought to investigate 'scot free', despite also using it all the time -- now I know and that's fascinating, thank you!

  2. Yep, you definitely had me convinced! :) I'm also glad that these could read as standalone; I can be quite disorganized when it comes to series books, hehe.

  3. I've read all Ms. Clark's books in this series and have enjoyed all of them. I like the realistic settings and the nice, snappy dialogue between Rachel and her cohorts.
    (thanks for explanation of scot-free. I took out a book the library this month but unfortunately didn't get to, called Heavens to Betsey, which explained various phrases we use).

  4. Vicki - The origins of phrases and idioms provide fascinating reading, and it is funny how many we use without thinking about them. I'm not sure why it occurred to me this time to wonder, but it was an interesting explanation.

    Melody - :) While it is always satisfying to read books in order, it doesn't always happen!

    Rita_h - Clark's books are good, aren't they? I may check out Heavens to Betsy; I used to have a vocab. book I used when teaching that had a bunch of idioms and their etymologies, but there are so many!

  5. Love your little tangent. I had never thought where the phrase came from either--how interesting to know though! Thank you for sharing!

    Definitely must read these books soon.

  6. I love learning the origins of words and common expressions!

    I have the first book on this series on my Kindle. Do I have you to blame for that? :-D I am looking forward to it!

  7. Wendy - :) Sometimes I write a phrase and become curious about it, but also, I often read a phrase in a novel and suddenly realize that I have no idea how it originated.

    Irene - Word and phrase origins are interesting; we tend to take them for granted without any idea of how the phrase came into the language. Only occasionally do I think to wonder about the origin...

    I'm eager to hear is you like Clark's books as much as I do!