Marcia Clark
Killer Ambition
Mulholland Books 2013

Killer Ambition – A Rachel Knight novel is just what the shamus ordered for an easy, quick summer read. Fans of Marcia Clark will not be disappointed by this new effort

It ruins nothing to reveal that a young woman is dead. It was a kidnapping gone all wrong. The kidnapping and murder of the daughter of a billionaire Hollywood mogul attracts the expected media circus.

Marcia Clark writes a tight narrative which is very much in the procedural mode as one might expect from the former L.A. prosecutor. Killer Ambition reads much like one might expect a novelized version of Law and Order (the original series) might read if it were made into a novel and the protagonist was an L.A. deputy assistant prosecutor and her female detective sidekick in lieu of Paul Sorvino and Chris Noth.

Rachel Knight is not only a crack investigator with a supporting cast of, well, supportive people who can take care of little extras she needs done but being the prosecutor she gets to go after the bad guys in a different way from that which the police procedural usually follows. The story doesn’t end with the arrest that is only the midpoint of the story. The balance of the story is the prosecution which is where Clark really accels. The intricacies of bringing a defendant to trial and the process of the actual prosecution and deal making are very well described and Clark has a knack for making even the mundane interesting.

This complicated case which takes into consideration Hollywood politics, L.A. politics and egos. As finely crafted as all of the story is there is one small flaw: the “who did it?” part of the novel isn’t so much of a “who did it” as it is a “we know who did it but how is she going to catch them?” Despite being able to figure out who the culprit is very early in the story the nature of this novel is such that it allows for this knowledge to coexist with enjoying the novel. Killer Ambition by Marcia Clark is a decent story well told which is all anyone can really ask of a summer read.

Also by Marcia Clark and reviewed here: Guilt by Association