Marcia Clark's debut novel, Guilt by Association, has all the makings of a fantastic novel. Her characters, specifically plucky L.A. deputy DA Rachel Knight, are all well rounded, realistic characters. Even the bit players have memorable quirks. The dialogue reads true, as does the inner thoughts of Rachel. These words were not written to sound "cool," but instead to be as realistic as possible. It's obvious that Clark had an ear out as she walked the halls of her workplace.
And it's in the details that the authenticity of her experience comes through. Buildings are well described down to the tiniest, but important, minutiae. I've never visited any of these bars or courtroom, but after reading the novel, I feel as if I could recognize them should I walk on by.
The plot of the novel is also quite compelling. Rachel's friend and co-worker is found dead under rather unusual, and damning, circumstances. She's determined to work the case even after she's been warned off, needing to prove that her friend was not the man he is made out to be. Instead of her crusade, she's forced to work another case involving the sexual assault of a young woman whose father happens to be rather rich and powerful. Each case is interesting in it's own right, and Clark balances each story rather well.
So why didn't I really like this book?
Honestly, I'm not sure I know the answer. Like I just explained, there isn't really a weak spot in the novel. It's well written, well thought out, and well paced. It has all the makings of a terrific book, and it may well be, but it just wasn't for me.
You might damn me for saying this, but perhaps it was just a bit too girly? Much attention is paid to Rachel's clothes, her feelings, and her nights out with her gal pals. Others might eat this stuff up with a spoon, but for me it got a little to close to a Sex In the City/Law & Order mash up. I prefer my protagonists to be a little more hard boiled and a little less well adjusted. This probably says more about the reader that the novel itself.
But pick up the book and decide for yourselves. Perhaps you won't be as strange as me.
I'm only adding this because I've been asked a few times, but yeah, I always accept review/preview copies. Who turns down free stuff? Email me at email@example.com for my mailing address. And thanks.
Dan Fleming is the writer/co-creator of Warrior Twenty-Seven, the independant comics anthology. He's been known to bury his nose in books since the earliest of ages, and has been busy writing a crime novel for a few moons. His comic work can be viewed at www.warrior27.thecomicseries.com. He is also one half of the podcasting duo, The Potato League Podcast, which can be found on Podbean. He can be contacted at either firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com