Guilt by Association Review
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When I picked up Guilt by Association, I didn’t pick it because of the author. Though her name sounded vaguely familiar, I didn’t remember that Marcia Clark was the lead prosecutor in the O. J. Simpson case—I may have been the only person on the planet who didn’t religiously follow the trial. No, I picked this title because I like legal thrillers—and Guilt by Association is a pretty good start to a new series that I hope to read more of.

Los Angeles Deputy DA Rachel Knight sinks her teeth into all of her cases and doesn’t let go until she’s brought the perpetrator to justice. When she’s told to back off in investigating her friend and colleague Jake Pahlmeyer’s grisly murder (which the police are calling a murder/suicide), it makes her clamp down even tighter. She refuses to believe that Jake may have been a homicidal-suicidal pedophile.

At the same time, Knight also picks up one of Jake’s cases involving a young girl who had been raped. All evidence points to Luis Revelo, leader of the Sylmar Sevens street gang. Somehow, though, it just doesn’t fit—and, even though her father insists that he’s guilty, the girl is adamant that Luis wasn’t the one who raped her.

With the help of Lieutenant Graden Hales and investigating officer Bailey Keller, Rachel Knight risks her career, her reputation, and her life to get at the truth involving Jake—because what is real and what the world sees aren’t always the same thing.

With a subtle hand, Ms. Clark also weaves in a message about pre-judging people and situations, especially when you don’t really know the person or the whole story. Keep this in mind when you come across what seems like inconsistency in characterization.

At first, Rachel Knight comes across as an intimidating character, and I didn’t think that I would end up liking her—until her compassionate side made an appearance. Still, she’s not someone I can totally relate to—because she lives in a world that’s entirely different from mine—but I can appreciate her lifestyle.

However, the jury is still out on Bailey Keller—because I was unable to warm up to her character. She’s cold and harsh, which would be fine if she only acted that way toward criminals—but she’s also that way with potential witnesses who might be able to help her case, as well as with people like desk clerks and administrative assistants, who are only doing their jobs. But maybe she’s that way for a reason that didn’t come across in this book.

As the suspense mounts and the mystery unfolds in surprising ways, Guilt by Association will definitely capture your attention and keep it firmly planted in the book until you finish. Marcia Clark is a strong new voice among legal thriller authors, and I’m betting that she’ll only get better and better.

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