Rachel Knight is a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles. She’s in the elite Special Trials Unit where they handle sensitive cases. Her two best friends are Toni, another Deputy DA in Special Trials and Bailey, a LAPD Detective. All three seem to be in their mid to late thirties and are pretty hip (Does that word still have meaning?) They dress well, on a budget; know the best places to eat or meet for drinks; and they hook up with some very attractive men.
What they are really savvy about is how the legal and illegal system in LA works. Although Rachel has a huge case load, the story revolves around two cases, handled primarily by Rachel and Bailey. The first case is the rape of the daughter of a rich and influential doctor in a very wealthy part of town. The father thinks he knows who did it and wants the guy sent away now. It’s much more complicated than that.
The second case is much more personal for Rachel. A Deputy DA she has worked with for two years, Jake, is discovered dead in a sleazy motel room with a dead teenage boy. Immediately, it’s consider a murder/suicide with Jake as the murderer. Rachel is positive that’s not possible. Although she doesn’t know about Jake’s life outside work, she doesn’t see him as a shooter or a pedophile.
The case is taken over by the FBI with a handsome police lieutenant as the coordinator. Rachel is determined to get to the bottom of this mystery in spite of the fact that her boss has told her, in no uncertain terms, to leave it alone.
Of course, Rachel can’t do that so she sets out to prove the FBI wrong and to find the killer herself. Rachel and Bailey uncover quite a bit of information on both of the cases they’re working on and manage to put themselves in danger. They can’t figure out which case is causing such a violent reaction. Or is it both cases?
I really liked Rachel Knight. She’s the narrator of the story and her style is to take us along and tell us about each aspect of her day. That includes the big detail of what was happening with the investigations as well as the little details. I loved all the little details because that’s what made the characters so real. I know what Rachel was wearing, what she was eating (not much because she’s always dieting) and what she was drinking (sometimes too much, but often perfect martinis).
Rachel mentioned various restaurants they went to. I checked out a couple online and they are real places. I liked that. (The author’s website has pictures of some of Rachel’s places here: Marcia Clark)
Another thing I liked about this story was how the author set up the end of each chapter. It was like a little teaser that left me dangling. I just had to keep on going through the next chapter and then the next one. Although I read it on my Kindle, I’ll call it a page turner. Or maybe that’s a “next-clicker.”
This novel gives us a look at the cases from inside the prosecutor’s office. Most of the stories I read or watch come from the defense side, such as most recently, Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. Of course the author, Marcia Clark, spent many years in the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office which gave this story such a realistic angle. I know some people have problems with Marcia Clark leftover from the OJ Simpson days. But, this is such a solid, well-written story that I recommend readers erase their memories of those days. Just read this book and don’t think about the name of the author.
Rachel is so smart, canny, tenacious, tough (without being rough or crude) and loyal. She’s such a good character that I’m very hopeful the author has a couple more Rachel Knight books in her laptop. I’d love to read more.
My copy came from the publisher but I noticed it’s available at the library. Guilt By Association is also available at Amazon. (I am an Amazon Associate.)
Published April, 2011 by Mulholland Books, a mystery imprint of Little Brown.