Guilt By Degrees

Guilt By Degrees

Rachel Knight has never been one to let justice slide from the grip of the law. So when a deputy district attorney mishandles a murder case and then shrugs it off – the victim was a homeless guy, so who cares? – she decides to take the case on herself.

With the help of Detective Bailey Keller, Rachel soon finds a missing piece of the puzzle. And a new mystery: the homeless man’s death is somehow connected to the vicious murder of a LAPD cop a year earlier.

The prime suspect in the murder was acquitted – but now Rachel and Bailey are hot on the trail of new leads. What Rachel doesn’t know is that she’s being watched. Someone is following her every move, and just waiting for a chance to strike…

I was incredibly excited when Guilt by Degrees arrived the other day; I’ve been looking forward to catching up with Rachel Knight and her posse ever since I turned the final page and closed Guilt by Association. [Review] I now find myself in the same position as I was last year having finished the second book – come on Marcia, hurry up and publish the third book, you’ve left me hanging!!

Marcia Clark has delivered another brilliant crime/legal based book with her protagonist once again rocking the boat at work following a last minute decision to pick up a case that no one else wants when a deputy district attorney’s incompetence causes a miscarriage of justice. Knight is in court to witness his inept performance and is so annoyed she announces to the court she will re-file the case and seek justice and therefore holding the main suspect in custody. This doesn’t sit well with some of her colleagues and they try to undermine her at every given opportunity.

Little does Rachel know that this decision will not only put her life at risk but also those she loves further down the line. The plot itself is multi-layered and incredibly canny moving from one location to another, from street to restaurant, bank to homeless shelter, with a fluid and expeditious narrative that simply oozes class. I couldn’t get enough of the book or the characters but to be completely honest I’m a fan of Marcia’s and I demand nothing short of brilliance!

The narrative is a heady mix of humour, intelligence and sensitivity and there was one passage in the book that really hit home with me, completely unexpected but one I could relate to, it left me breathless in its simplicity. Talking about the death of a son to his grieving parents Rachel’s unspoken narrative after she left the house was tender and right on the money. It was a sensitivity I certainly wasn’t expecting but spoke volumes for those unfortunate to have lost family members.

I groped for something to say to ease her pain, but I knew from my own hard experience that the wounds of loss would bleed for years to come. Then, one day, they’d find that a few seconds had gone by without some painful thought or memory; over time, the seconds would stretch into a minute, the minutes into an hour. Eventually they might be lucky enough to get a whole day. But that day would be long coming.

Characterisation is wonderful yet again and the book is a terrific commercial for girl power and if I had to compare the book to one song it would be Sisters are doin’ it for themselves written by Annie Lennox and Dave Stewart and sung by the legendary Aretha Franklin. Rachel, Bailey and Toni are back for more dietary concerns, men problems, gun carrying issues and a fair number of bullets to dodge both physically and metaphorically. Rachel is in a slightly darker place this time around and her past has come back to cause her a few sleepless nights and anxiety. Not only does she have to deal with the past but she has the more pressing problem of a suspect clearly out to get her. Toni and Bailey are there to offer her support as usual and the Biltmore hotel is prominent once more, who wouldn’t want to live at the Biltmore?! Marcia Clark mixes the seriousness with a heady mix of banter and infectious humour, the one liners and put downs are there yet again and a clear extension of the author’s personality. A wonderful balance.

The storyline itself is powerful and fluid, I had a fair idea what would happen but to be honest the ending surprised me, an ending that both satisfies and leaves the door slightly ajar for the next book in the series. There are numerous twists along the way that keep you guessing right up to the very end. Marcia Clark can not only command a courtroom she can weave her magic in the written word, Guilt by Degrees is another example of an author at the top of her game.

448 Pages | Publisher: Mulholland Books | ISBN-10: 1444707523 | ISBN-13: 978-1444707526

Available from The Book Depository (Hardback) & Amazon UK (HB & Kindle) Amazon US (HB)

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