Monday, July 21, 2014
A Columbine-style shooting at a high school in the San Fernando Valley has left a community shaken to its core. Two students are identified as the killers. Both are dead, believed to have committed a mutual suicide.
In the aftermath of the shooting, LA Special Trials prosecutor Rachel Knight teams up with her best girlfriend, LAPD detective Bailey Keller. As Rachel and Bailey interview students at the high school, they realize that the facts don't add up. Could it be that the students suspected of being the shooters are actually victims? And if so, does that mean that the real killers are still on the loose?
A dramatic leap forward in Marcia Clark's highly acclaimed Rachel Knight series, The Competition is an unforgettable story that will stay with readers long after the last page has been turned. -- Mulholland Books
THE COMPETITION is the third book in the Rachel Knight series by Marcia Clark, and I think it's safe to say it's the most disturbing one yet... or at least it was for me. THE COMPETITION deals with a very serious issue -- a mass shooting, and much of the story seemed to be ripped from recent years' headlines.
THE COMPETITION begins with a bang (literally) when a high school shooting occurs which leaves dozens dead and injured. It appears that the two students responsible for the massacre are dead after apparent suicides. However, when prosecutor Rachel Knight and her best friend LAPD detective Bailey Keller start delving into the shooting, they discover that nothing much is making sense.
While Rachel and Bailey begin a full-scale investigation into the shooting, they quickly learn that those responsible for the shooting might still be out there with the intent to take even more lives. Can Rachel get to the bottom of these shootings and find the individual who is determined to prove that he is smarter than not only the police but many of the prior mass murderers who came before him?
It's hard for me to say that I enjoyed THE COMPETITION because it was an uncomfortable read for me; however, I did appreciate it quite a bit. I actually found this story to be riveting -- maybe because so much of it was based on real-life events, and I couldn't put down this novel. I felt as if the book was set at the perfect pace and even the gathering of data and clues was interesting.
One thing I love about the Rachel Knight book is the character of Rachel. She's tough and smart and persistent, and I just love how much she cares about her cases. I think I always say this in my reviews of this series, but Rachel and her friends demonstrate "girl power" in the very best way! However, I also enjoyed the variety of twists and turns in the story. It seemed like every time Rachel was onto something or someone, she'd hit a dead end.
I actually did figure out the culprit about halfway through the novel, but that didn't affect my appreciation of the way he was eventually discovered. Ms. Clark still managed to put in a surprise or two after the "reveal" that definitely threw me (and Rachel) for a loop and the action and pacing of the novel actually picked up even more after the reader learns who is responsible for the crimes.
Another aspect of THE COMPETITION that I really appreciated was how it explored the minds of the mass murderers. I think each and everyone of us has asked what type of person could go into a school and just randomly kill innocent children. I'm not sure that this book gave me any real answers, but it did delve somewhat into the psyche of these people. Ms. Clark used two psychologist characters to work with Rachel, and they helped analyze various characters' actions and motivations. Though somewhat disturbing to look at these characters and past real-life murders, I did find it very interesting.
Unfortunately, THE COMPETITION deals with an all too timely issue of mass shootings and it's not always easy to read... especially for this mom! However, the book is suspenseful, intriguing, and a fast-paced thriller. Highly recommended for fans of the Rachel Knight series and those of you who enjoy an action-packed story with many twists and turns.
Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel.