Guilt by Degrees is every bit the perfect second novel. Clark tells a refreshingly new story, complete with new murder victims and a truly evil antagonist. In the novel, D.A. Rachel Knight jumps headlong into a case involving a homeless man's death on a busy street, making several enemies in the process. Not only are those higher up on the food chain than Knight angry, but also after her are those responsible for the man's death.
As a result, the case requires Knight to walk on eggshells -- and do some detecting under the radar. Helping her out are her police detective pal Bailey and fellow D.A.'s office coworker Toni. While Toni resides more in the friend department in this novel, Rachel and Bailey are assigned to work the case together. During the course of the investigation, they visit a prison (more than once), make a house call on a neo-Nazi gang leader, investigate a murdered police officer, and generally stir up trouble for themselves.
Knight's personal life is a matter for concern, as well. Her relationship with police officer and video game designer Graden, off to a glowing start in the first novel, is thrown off-course when Graden over-steps his boundaries. Rachel has gone to great lengths to separate her childhood from her current life, and when Graden does a bit of investigative work of his own, the betrayal doesn't sit well with Rachel.
Clark does an excellent job of continuing Rachel Knight's story in Guilt by Degrees. Readers simultaneously follow an exciting new case as the investigation unfolds and learn more about Rachel's past. Clark also carefully draws readers deeper into Rachel's world as relationships are fleshed out and given new depths. The city of Los Angeles itself figures prominently into the storyline, as it did in Guilt by Association. On her website, Clark offers a photo tour of Rachel Knight's Los Angeles, which is a nice glimpse into the D.A.'s world.