Thursday, April 21, 2011

Guilt By Association

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.

1 comment:

  1. Maybe it's too much by the books. Sometimes that sinks a book for me. It just doesn't feel like a beating heart lies under it.