Friday, October 19, 2012

Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark

In Guilt by Degrees, deputy D.A. Rachel Knight discovers that the murder of a homeless man is connected to the murder of a LAPD cop from a few years back. The suspect, a beautiful woman, in the first murder was acquitted. It's up to Knight and Detective Bailey Keller to decipher the connections and track down the killer while staying out of his or her way.

I liked this book and found it entertaining. It's Clark's second book featuring Rachel Knight, but the first one that I've read. It was reasonably well-written and contained a good fast-paced story. It kept be interested until the very end. The short chapters added to the suspense and allowed me to read just a few pages in between other activities. (I don't like breaking in the middle of a chapter.) I really liked the shifting points of view and the shifts from first person to third person. A perfect fit for this type of book.

I liked both Rachel and Bailey. Both were strong women who didn't cower at the thought of chasing down a psychopath. I also really liked the side story about her sister Romy. It's too bad there wasn't more of it in this book. Maybe I'll find out more about it when I read the first book or maybe I'll have to wait until subsequent books some out.

While I enjoyed this book, I didn't love it. The story just didn't stick with me. I remembered what was happening while I read the book, but as I write this review I'm having to depend on the notes I took. I could probably reread it at some point and be surprised some of the things that happened. Also, I had a little trouble with some of the slangy verbs Clark used: beefed, jacked up, popped off, nailed. The problem is that many of these have or could have multiple meanings. Sure, I can probably decipher their meanings from the sentence in which it was used, but after awhile it got a little annoying. I didn't like some of the abbreviations either for the same reason: eyewit, uni.

As a former Los Angeles deputy district attorney and lead prosecutor on the O.J. Simpson murder case, Clark no doubt saw her fair share of murder cases. I don't really know the roll of the DA (or deputy DA in this case), especially the ins and outs of what they do outside of the courtroom. The book left me wondering how much of this book represents the job of a real-life deputy DA.

Favourite quotes:
Seething done in private can keep anger burning, but like a pot of boiling water, once you take the lid off, the heat dissipates and the boil turns to a simmer. (page 306)
New word:
immolate (page 303): kill as a sacrifice

Recommended. Even though I didn't love this book, I picked up Clark's first book featuring Rachel Knight, Guilt by Association recently and hope to read it soon. If that goes well, I'll be looking for more books by this author.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit Hachette's website.

For more information about the author and her other books, please visit Marcia Clark's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at Hachette Book Group in Canada for this review copy.

Guilt by Degrees by Marcia Clark, Mulholland Books (Little, Brown and Company (Hachette Book Group)), ©2012. ISBN 9780316129534(Hardcover), 438p.

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