With her Rachel Knight series, Marcia Clark gives us a fresh take on the legal thriller. The books work more as buddy procedurals than courtroom dramas, as the L.A. special prosecutor and her police pal Bailey Keller find the evidence to put the bad guys away. With her latest, Killer Ambition, Clark breathes new life into her own series.
The story starts with a dark prologue, then Rachel and Bailey are called to a kidnapping case. The victim is the daughter of a powerful director. The case hits Rachel hard. Her sister went missing when she was young. Clark captures the Hollywood life with it’s assistants and indulgences. Counselor and cop manipulate both as they manuever through the story’s well crafted plot twists and turns, meeting the girl’s friends and her father’s associates. The kidnapping leads to a double murder trial.
This is the first time Clark has had Rachel Knight try a case in court and she gives us a great insider’s look at a prosecutor’s job. Much is focused on the jury, both the selection and the connection a lawyer has with certain members. As someone who has known her share of high profile trials, she shows the stress of working in that spotlight. She shows how the media, the pundits, and politics all come into play. You know how many classic private eyes like Marlowe and Lew Archer once worked in the DA’s office? Clark gives you an idea of why they may have left.
I can’t get into much detail about the book without giving away it’s strong reveals and surprises. I can say that the story delivers a narrative tension that had me fighting the need to read ahead for the jury’s verdict. In Killer Ambition, Maria Clark presents further evidence that in the current crop of L.A. crime writers, she is one of the best.
Marcia Clark will be read from Killer Ambition at our next Noir At The Bar this Saturday, July 20 at 7pm, at Opal Divine’s (3601 S. Congress). She’ll be joined by Timothy Hallinan, Josh Stallings and Jesse Sublett.