Sunday, March 24, 2013

Guilt by Degrees –by Marcia Clark

Fiction (Mystery)
449 pages / 598 KB
Footnotes / Endnotes: No
Illustrations: No
Suitable for eReaders: Yes
5 Stars

When the OJ Simpson murder trial played prime time on Cable TV, I had an opportunity to watch part of it. In fact, I became hooked on Court TV (alas, no longer available) and enjoyed watching Marcia Clark. Guilt by Degrees is the first mystery by her I've read, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I am also pleased this is not a fictionalized rehash of the OJ Trial! Mysteries aren't normally my genre of choice, but this was great fun. And I just ordered another one for my Kindle. Perhaps mysteries are becoming my genre of choice?

I would have preferred a slightly different ending, but hey, I didn't write the book! And, I have a feeling (hope?) I'll get my ending in another book. There are other Rachel Knight books out there, but you do not need to read them in order to enjoy them. Each stands alone.

The start of the book was a bit like putting a picture puzzle together – working from the outside in, rather than a linear storyline. I enjoyed it. And she did get all the pieces in place by the end of the book for the complete picture.

Rachel Knight, Ms. Clark's protagonist, is a prosecuting attorney in the Special Trials unit. When one of her cohorts almost loses the case of a homeless man's murder through his ineptness, she grabs it, and with the help of a couple of good friends, finds out the case is not all that simple. Are they ever?

Turns out the homeless man had ties to a cop who was brutally murdered a couple years before. Everyone knows his wife – everyone, that is, but the jury of her peers who saw an innocent woman and acquitted her – killed him. Ms. Knight, of course, must dig into the old killing as she tries to solve the new murder.

Many have told me that trials are high drama with limited sets. Although little of this story takes place in a courtroom, there is great drama in the pages of this book. Marcia Clark knows her way around the legal system, and has the ability to write about it in a gripping way, with enough humor thrown in so it doesn't become either tedious or too dark. I hope her other books keep the same set of characters. They're great fun. Well, except for the bad guys who get there just rewards. Don't they?

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