Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Review: Guilt by Association

Summary: Los Angeles D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking, and fiercely intelligent prosecutor in the city's most elite division. When her colleague, Jake, is found dead at a grisly crime scene, Rachel is shaken to the core. She must take over his toughest case: the assault of a young woman from a prominent family.

But she can't stop herself from digging deeper into Jake's death, a decision that exposes a world of power and violence and will have her risking her reputation--and her life--to find the truth.

With her tremendous expertise in the nuances of L.A. courts and crime, and with a vibrant ensemble cast of characters, Marcia Clark combines intimate detail, riotous humor, and visceral action in a debut thriller that marks the launch of a major new figure on the crime-writing scene. -- Mulholland

Many of you have probably heard of Mulholland Books, the new Little, Brown imprint which features crime novels, thrillers, police procedurals, spy stories, even supernatural suspense! I am so excited about this imprint because one of my unofficial goals this year is to read more of these types of books. Recently, I was checking out all of the upcoming releases, and many caught my eye; however, the first one I picked up was GUILT BY ASSOCIATION (which just happens to be the first Mulholland release) by Marcia Clark. Yes...that Marcia Clark, one of the prosecutors in the O.J. Simpson trial.

Quite a few years ago, I actually read Marcia Clark's memoir and I found the book to be very interesting. I was impressed with Ms. Clark's writing style as well as her honesty, but I wasn't sure how both of those things would translate to a novel. After reading GUILT BY ASSOCIATION, I have to say that she can definitely weave a story; and I honestly believe that Ms. Clark has a future as a crime novelist. I loved GUILT BY ASSOCIATION -- from the characters to the storyline to the unexpected twists.

There are many very good things about this novel, but one thing that really stood out for me was the character of Rachel. Rachel is a Los Angeles District Attorney and she's also smart, tough as nails, and even a little bit funny. I absolutely loved her. She is both compassionate to victims, and at the same time, very persistent; and I admired her devotion to her career. However, and this is a big one, she's got some issues because of that devotion to her job. Rachel's a workaholic and a commitment-phobe, and she's actually pretty complex. All in all -- a great female lead!
While reading GUILT BY ASSOCIATION, I often times felt as if I were getting an inside view into a Special Prosecutor's Office. There is no doubt that some of Rachel's experiences in this novel were based on Ms. Clark's real-life experiences as a L.A. District Attorney, and I especially enjoyed the glimpses into the life of a big city prosecutor. However, I'm still left wondering how much of Rachel's actual character, especially her personality and private life, was based on Ms. Clark.

I also liked some of the secondary characters in this story, namely Rachel's best friends Bailey, a cop, and Toni, a co-worker. I loved how all of these women were portrayed as extremely capable, but I also appreciated how they valued their friendships with each other. In addition, I really liked Rachel's potential love interest (or at least who I want to be her potential love interest), and I actually had hoped that he would play a bigger role in this book. One thing's for sure... GUILT BY ASSOCIATION is all about the Girl Power. These girls definitely kicked some butt!

In addition to the characters, I thought the mysteries in this novel were very good. I don't want to give away any spoilers, but suffice it to say, that I was impressed with how the crimes were resolved. I've read enough of this genre to think that the separate crimes had to be related; however, I was kept in the dark (for the most part) until the very end of the novel. As I read GUILT BY ASSOCIATION, I kept waiting to see how Ms. Clark would wrap up the crimes; and I have to say that I was very satisfied with the conclusion. I loved that I was kept guessing; and at the same time, I enjoyed the ups and downs as well as the surprise twists!

If you are a fan of crime novels, then I highly recommend GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. It's a terrific read that's guaranteed to keep you entertained from the first page to the last.

Thanks to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this novel.


Nicole (Linus's Blanket) said...

I loved this one too Julie, especially the relationships between the friends. Mulholland is off to a great start with this one.

Anonymous said...

I haven't as a rule, been in to crime fiction but recently I've found that the genre has been calling my name. This looks like something I'd chance. Thanks for sharing!

bermudaonion said...

I thought this book was great too! I can't wait to see what Clark comes up with next.

rhapsodyinbooks said...

I'm glad you were kept guessing! I almost always am, even when nobody else is! :--)

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to reading this one. It sure is getting glowing reviews!

Anonymous said...

Well, after reading all these good reviews I'm adding this to my wish list. I would have been a snob (you know, who does she think she it-writing a mystery?) Glad to have my mind changed.

Beth F said...

I can't wait to get to this one. I know I'm going to love it.

Anonymous said...

Looks like my kind of book. Good for Marcia :)

avisannschild said...

This sounds like a good one -- thanks for putting it on my radar!