It probably goes without saying, but readers looking to experience crime fiction centered on the legal system should look no further than the books written by Marcia Clark. Earlier this year, Blood Defense introduced readers to defense attorney Samantha Brinkman and now Marcia Clark has brought Sam back for another compelling case in Moral Defense.

Readers of Blood Defense will remember how well Marcia Clark was able to weave the threads of Samantha’s past within her current investigation and the subsequent court case. This same model of blending the professional with the personal presents itself again in Moral Defense.

While Cassie Sonnenberg slept in her bed, her parents and brother were viciously stabbed in a room down the hall. With her mother now in a coma, suspicion falls on Cassie herself. How is it possible she didn’t hear anything while this horrible crime was taking place? At the request of Cassie’s school counselor – a friend of Samantha’s – Sam agrees to take on Cassie as a client. It isn’t too long before evidence of abuse suffered by Cassie calls up nightmares from Samantha’s own troubled past.

Marcia Clark knows how to document the behind the scenes investigations that occur during preparation for a court case. Every step that Samantha and her team make feels authentic and the resulting revelation alters their defense in appropriate ways. Each interview subject has another piece of the puzzle and their reactions to the intrusion are varied enough to keep things interesting. Having Samantha need to ask for help from her formerly-estranged father adds another dynamic to the proceedings.

Readers of Blood Defense will also remember that some sub-plots were left a bit unresolved at the end of that book. Those loose strands come back to haunt Samantha as she is working to defend Cassie. In addition to this high-profile case, Sam is dealing with other hot button topics such as gangs, Illegal immigrants, and human trafficking. It would be rare for an attorney to work only on one case at a time, so Marcia Clark brings these complications into Samantha’s sphere with gusto.

Moral Defense is a successful sequel to Blood Defense. Readers learn more about Samantha – especially about her history – and some groundwork is laid for the next book. If there is one complaint it would be that Moral Defense feels just a bit too long, but Clark’s prose is so smooth that most readers will hardly notice. These are characters that readers will want to visit with again and Marcia Clark fans can always count on timely plots to enlighten and entertain.


Disclaimer: An print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the publisher. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.