cover image Moral Defense

Moral Defense

Marcia Clark. Thomas & Mercer, $24.95 (474p) ISBN 978-1-503939-77-6

In Clark’s outstanding sequel to Blood Defense, Samantha Brinkman, an L.A. defense attorney, agrees to represent 15-year-old Cassie Sonnenberg, whose father and brother were fatally stabbed in their home by an assailant who also left Cassie’s mother at death’s door. When Samantha interviews Cassie, the girl says that she initially hid under her bed and thus escaped the killer’s notice. She got only a brief glimpse of the fleeing culprit, who appeared to be a skinhead. Since Cassie’s mother, Paula, a city councilwoman, recently received death threats for successfully advocating passage of a strict new law targeting gangs, it seems plausible that a gang member was behind the bloody mayhem. But even as Samantha tries to protect Cassie’s interests, she must deal with the life-threatening consequences of prior decisions she made on other cases in furtherance of her private code of justice. Clark deepens her already fascinating lead, while adeptly juggling several subplots. Agent: Dan Conaway, Writers House. (Nov.)