Friday, September 13, 2013

Book Review: Killer Ambition (Rachel Knight #3) by Marcia Clark

Although I logically know that authors can create main characters who are nothing like themselves (John Green and Chelsea Cain come to mind), when I'm in the middle of reading a book, I automatically liken the character I learn about on the page to the writer. For instance, Patricia Cornwell is Kay Scarpetta in my mind, Sara Paretsky is V.I. Warshawski, and Janet Evanovich is Stephanie Plum. I know they aren't actually the same person (and may have little in common with their on-page counterparts), but in my reading mind, they are.

Therefore, as I was reading Killer Ambition, I continuously paired author Marcia Clark and main character Rachel Knight together in my mind. I mean, let's look at the facts: both live/lived in California, both are/were Los Angeles County prosecutors, both are female. And after Killer Ambition, the third novel in the Rachel Knight series, both have prosecuted high-profile cases. Clark, of course, famously prosecuted O.J. Simpson for the murder of his ex-wife.

In the previous two novels, Clark introduced Rachel Knight and her comrades, all working for justice and the greater good in Los Angeles, California. Her pal Bailey works as a police detective and friend Toni also works in the D.A.'s office. Those first two books revealed some background on Rachel, which is continued in this latest novel. Her sister Romy went missing during their childhood, prompting Rachel to enter her current career. The case has never been solved, but in each of the novels thus far, Clark has touched briefly on this aspect of Rachel's life. A cliffhanger of sorts at the end of Killer Ambition leads readers to believe (hope) that perhaps more will be revealed in the fourth novel.

The majority of Killer Ambition, however, is dedicated to Rachel and Bailey's current case: a missing teen, the daughter of a famous Hollywood director. At first the victim of an apparent kidnapping, she is soon found murdered. And that is when the real fireworks begin. When the investigating team begins looking into major Hollywood players as perpetrators, the industry launches its own campaign against Rachel and her investigation. Similar, I suppose, to the pressure Clark and her team felt when prosecuting a beloved NFL star.

Clark has once again penned a great procedural novel starring Rachel Knight. This novel reads a bit more true-to-life than the other novels in the series, perhaps simply because more of it takes place in the courtroom and Clark's experience in that arena is well-known. Clark introduces two new characters who round out the novel nicely: a Russian computer hacker with a criminal past and young D.A. Declan, assigned as Rachel's second-in-command. Both add their own special charms to the novel, and Clark sets up the storyline for future novels as though they will both return.

Related Links:
Marcia Clark's website
Review of Guilt by Association (Rachel Knight #1)
Review of Guilt by Degrees (Rachel Knight #2)


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