As a member of the elite Special Trials division, Los Angeles DA Rachel Knight was accustomed to investigating and prosecuting high profile cases. When a close associate and fellow prosecutor within their division is found dead, she simply cannot believe that the obvious explanation of a murder/suicide is accurate. Convinced that Jake was not a pedophile, did not commit suicide or murder, with the help of her friend Detective Bailey Keller, Rachel risks her job and her life to covertly find the answer to Jake's death.
Though Rachel would like to fully devote her time to finding Jake's killer, her job as DA continued. She is assigned one of his cases, the rape of Susan Densmore--the teenaged daughter of an extremely successful and wealthy doctor with strategic connections within the DA's office. As she investigates Susan's case, the threats against her life become very real as does the increasing danger of her secret probe into Jake's death. In an intelligent and highly enjoyable thriller, Guilt By Association features a sharp female lead character with a witty, sarcastic charm who makes this story leap off the pages.
Covers rarely catch my attention, but big kudos to the cover art designers at Mulholland Books. I'm not a huge fan of a character on the cover, but they really nailed it this time. I love the necklace with the gun charm. It helped set the tone of the book and enhanced Rachel's character. Great job!
Now on to the book. Since I read a lot of action, thriller, somewhat violent, type novels, the majority of the lead characters are men. As a result I usually struggle with strong female lead characters. Too many times they feel like men dressed up as women or powder puffs trying to act macho. However, on occasion I come across a female character that feels authentic and it always brings a smile to my face. While Rachel has a strong degree of femininity, her hard edge and gun toting ways feel natural. She's intelligent, witty, and fun to follow, but she's also a tough, tenacious, no-nonsense prosecutor. Both sides are beautifully balanced to create a fantastic character that will most likely be just as enjoyable for men to follow as women.
In addition to a great lead character is a brilliant insider view of LA. Clark's intimate knowledge of the city adds depth to the story with smooth transitions between settings and locations. Equally impressive is her crafting of the legal and criminal aspects and the integration of them into the setting. With the characters comfortable in their surroundings and highly competent in their jobs, Guilt By Association flows smoothly at a pace that keeps the reader engaged as the events unfold.
For a debut novel, I have few complaints. I really would have liked more backstory for Kit, the teenager killed with Jake. My heart ached for him and other kids who have lived the life he had. While a former foster mom helped to add the appropriate emotion to his difficult life, I wanted a better fate for him and more than small snippets of how he ended up dead in a cheap motel. It also would have been nice to deeper explore some of the themes that stemmed from his life.
I was expecting primarily a legal drama, but most of the time is spent investigating Jake's death and the rape case. While I would have been good with a story that mainly focused on prosecuting a criminal, I really liked what Clark did with this one. It is pure entertainment and out and out fun. It's got a fantastic sense of humor to offset the more serious investigation of brutal crimes along with a wonderful touch of compassion. Guilt By Association is a great book, fun to read and reflective of Clark's enthusiasm, passion, and love for the story she's created.
Note for sensitive readers: This is a general market book. The opening pages let the reader know to anticipate some language, especially from the main character. While there is a moderate amount of language, it's really not that bad. With the exception of the rape, there is little sexual content, though main topics include child pornography and teenage male prostitution. All are tactfully handled and well within reason.
Review title provided courtesy of Mulholland Books
"Guilt By Association" is a fast-paced mystery/detective suspense novel. Though Rachel is a D.A., she spent most of her time solving the mystery at the side of her police detective friend rather than in the court room. However, details about her job and the investigation were woven into the story along with vivid details about the setting. The characters were quirky, varied, and interesting...though the amount of drinking and illegal behavior made me start to have … more
A little bit about me. I read primarily Christian fiction. My favorites are suspense, with supernatural elements always being a plus. I most enjoy books that will keep me thinking well after I'm done … more
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D.A. Rachel Knight is a tenacious, wise-cracking prosecutor in Los Angeles' most elite division. Her close colleague, Jake, is found dead with a teenage male prostitute at a seedy hotel. The evidence points to Jake having secretly been a gay pedophile who committed a murder-suicide. Rachel doesn't believe the accusation and wants to clear his name, but the Feds aren't trying hard enough. She's determined to solve his murder even if it means risking her career by doing things illegally. She also must take over Jake's toughest case: the rape of a young woman from a rich, influential family. Dead end follows dead end, but she and her friends aren't going to give up...even after someone starts taking shots at them.