Author: Marcia Clark
Publisher: Mulholland July 2014
Genre: Crime Novel
The Competition is Marcia Clark’s fourth novel in the Rachel Knight series. Fourth? Back in 2011 I read her first foray into the world of fiction, Guilt By Association. I liked it and told myself to watch for her next one. Well, while I wasn’t paying attention, she wrote three more books.
This fourth book is extremely good, but tough to read. Not because of the writing. That was good. It’s the subject matter. Believe it or not, but the main motivation for a massacre of high school students was to have a larger body count than the Columbine shooting.
I couldn’t help but be terrified as two masked killers entered the back of the high school gym during a pep rally and started shooting at the cheerleaders, students in the stands, and teachers trying to protect students. The two killers went through the gym, roamed the halls, and finally quit in the library with an apparent double suicide.
Special Trials prosecutor, Rachel Knight, and her best friend, Detective Bailey Keller. get the call within minutes of the shooting. If you’ve seen the TV reports of any of the school shootings, you know what they found when they arrived at the high school. The scene inside the school matches your worst nightmare.
There are many people working on this multiple crime. Rachel and Bailey are in charge of understanding who and why. However, within hours it’s clear that the two bodies they assumed were the killers who committed suicide, were actually two students who were also victims. The masks the killers wore were found outside in the dumpster. The two killers escaped.
Rachel and Bailey used their best detective skills to figure out who could have been responsible. Then they need to find them before it’s too late. They learn the killers are planning to go to a theater and beat the body count of the Colorado massacre. How Rachel and Bailey finess information out of students, teachers and parents is simply amazing. They don’t want to lead students down the wrong path and spread rumors about the wrong people. They also need to search bedrooms of two possible killers whose parents are positive their child could not possibly do something like this. Only a skilled prosecutor/investigator like Marcia Clark could share that with readers.
The one question every character in the story kept asking was “What kind of kid could do something like this?” I think that’s what motivated the author to write the story. No one understands these kinds of massacres. I won’t say this was a fun story to read, but it certainly was interesting and it did help me see the situation from the point of view of law enforcement. No way could I do their jobs, but I certainly am grateful for those that do.