2016 has been quite a year for Marcia Clark. The FX network aired their series, American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson and finally the public was able witness the behind-the-scenes tribulation that plagued the participants of this legendary court case. Once again, the media reached out to Marcia Clark and she was showing up as a guest and pundit on many television shows. This was followed by the release of Blood Defense, the first book in her new crime fiction series, which shot to the top of the sales chart, where it remains, showing no sign of slowing.
Readers who are fans of Marcia Clark’s previous series (The Rachel Knight Series) will immediately notice a difference in Blood Defense. Unlike the heroine of the previous series, Samantha Brinkman is a defense attorney. This allows Clark to explore the law from the other side of the courtroom this time out. Beyond that deviation, this is the same quality writing, clever plotting, and complex characterization readers have come to expect from Marcia Clark’s work.
Samantha Brinkman is the star of the book. Her Los Angeles law practice is struggling to stay afloat, but Sam is determined to make a success of it. She is confident, committed, professional, and willing to do just about anything it takes to win. At times, this means she walks a thin line on the side morality. Behind her is a loyal, albeit unconventional team. Her best friend, Michelle, runs the office, while Alex, an unsavory associate works in the shadows cast by their clients. Samantha’s contentious – bordering on hateful – relationship with her mother presents a realistic, yet often overlooked area of human dynamics.
As Blood Defense begins, a high-profile case has unexpectedly landed in Samantha’s lap. The murder of a famous television personality would be enough to draw the attention of the public, but when the accused is a former decorated detective for the LAPD, the white-hot lens of media scrutiny is aimed right at Sam and her team. When a revelation concerning the reason Samantha was selected for the case comes to light, she is forced to make a career-defining decision, while at the same time questioning everything she previously believed to be true.
Marcia Clark knows her way around the legal system. The investigative techniques she and her team use to build their defense rings true and accurate to the reader, without ever straying into the boring moments which must no doubt dominate this process in actual real-life cases. Adding in details of smaller court cases makes for fascinating (and educational) reading. Clark also has a killer ear for dialogue. Many of the interactions throughout the novel seem like conversations one might stumble upon on their way to the water cooler – you know, if the water cooler were located in some shady sections of LA or in one of our nation’s halls of justice.
The plot of Blood Defense moves along fairly straightforwardly. There is some nice variation in the speed things happen – one chapter might be action-packed with a major secret uncovered, while the next slows things down for some important character development. A last minute moment ensures that readers will be back for book two in the series, Moral Defense, which thankfully will be released later this year. Marcia Clark is not done with 2016 just yet.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.