Mulholland Books, $26
The seamy side of Hollywood never fails to fascinate, and it delivers enough intrigue and general nastiness to make for a gripping plot. And few know what that underbelly of tinsel town can entail as does Marcia Clark, who forever will be associated with being the prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson trial.
But Clark also should be known as an author of compelling legal thrillers.
In her third novel, Clark wraps a tight, unpredictable plot around a look at unbridled ambition, greed, fame and family vagaries. Clark keeps the brisk plot of Killer Ambition twisting from the mansions built on the movie industry to a tense trial.
Los Angeles deputy district attorney Rachel Knight's latest case involves the kidnapping of celebrity producer Russell Antonovich's teen daughter, Hayley. Neglected by her parents, the 16-year-old did pretty much what she wanted to, staying by herself at one of her father's houses, sneaking into nightclubs and drinking. But she also had a generous side and was well-liked at her private school. Although Russell paid the ransom, the outcome takes a fatal turn.
But the prosecution will not have an easy time. Rachel appears to have a solid case, but the trial erupts into a media storm as industry insiders and the public clearly support the popular suspect. Rachel and her team are threatened. Rachel also personally connects to the case as it brings back painful memories of her own family.
Clark's storytelling skills take another leap with the impressive "Killer Ambition," keeping several plot threads in motion as she draws them to a realistic conclusion. Rachel's friendship with a colleague and a female detective illustrates the support that women can offer each other.
Clark again proves she knows her way around the courtroom with Killer Ambition.
Reviewed by Oline H. Cogdill
By Marcia Clark