Book Review: Killer Ambition – Marcia Clark

Killer Ambition cover

Title: Killer Ambition
Author: Marcia Clark
ISBN: 9780316220941
Pages: 464
Release Date: June 18, 2013
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Genre: Legal Thriller
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4 out of 5


When Hayley Antonovich, daughter of a big-time Hollywood director, is kidnapped, Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Rachel Knight is called in. Along with her close friend Detective Bailey Keller, Rachel must uncover what happened to Hayley, and find out if there’s more going on than meets the eye,


Killer Ambition is the third novel in the Rachel Knight series, authored by Marcia Clark. Yes, that Marcia Clark, the prosector of the O.J. Simpson trial. I bring this up in every review I write for these books because I don’t want readers to discount this series by assuming that Clark is simply cashing in on her celebrity. These are well-written and engaging books; Clark is a talented writer and deserves to be recognized as such.

The first two Rachel Knight novels were a bit more straightforward than this novel. In fact, it feels as though Killer Ambition is actually two different books. The first half is the investigation into Hayley’s disappearance and narrowing down the list of suspects—a straightforward mix of a crime novel and legal thriller. It’s certainly engaging, especially when it comes to the tangled questions of motive. Clark writes this type of novel very well, as she’s demonstrated before.

But the second half of Killer Ambition was a complete departure from the previous Rachel Knight novels—a tense courtroom drama. Clark takes the reader through the trial, day by day, blow by blow. There are a lot of fascinating tidbits to soak up here, from the nuances of jury selection to the mechanics of a criminal trial. There’s so much detail here, and readers who love that sort of thing will revel in the picture Clark has presented. The author really brought her own experience in on this book, and that shows on every page of the second half of the novel.

That being said, some readers may find that the courtroom scenes of Killer Ambition drag a bit. After all, there isn’t a lot of new information revealed, as the reader also has a bird’s eye view of Rachel’s investigations. It’s interesting to see the prosecution try and establish motive and weigh the pros and cons of putting a witness on the stand, but these details also hamper the forward momentum of the story. It’s incredibly well-written, but the story moves slowly, and whether you’ll enjoy this aspect of it really depends on what kind of reader you are. Either way, though, Marcia Clark’s Rachel Knight novels are absolutely and completely worth reading. She does a great job with her characters and stories; fans of legal thrillers should not hesitate to pick them up.

Other books by Marcia Clark:

Guilt by Association
Guilt by Degrees

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