cover image Guilt by Degrees

Guilt by Degrees

Marcia Clark. Little, Brown/Mulholland, $25.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-316-12953-4

Near the start of Clark’s exemplary second legal thriller featuring Los Angeles deputy DA Rachel Knight (after 2011’s Guilt by Association), a judge dismisses charges against a man suspected of stabbing a homeless person to death because an arrogant colleague of Knight’s failed to adequately prepare for the preliminary hearing. The key eyewitness to the murder recants on the stand. Determined to seek justice for the victim, Knight hits the streets, along with her best buddy, LAPD Det. Bailey Keller, to seek leads on the identities of both the killer and the dead man. As the convoluted story unfolds, the significance of the gory prologue, in which someone takes an axe to a guy named Zack in his basement workshop, gradually becomes clear. Clark humanizes her tough lead, and gets the mixture of action and investigative legwork just right, more than making the case for a long life for this West Coast analogue to Linda Fairstein’s Alex Cooper. (May)