I quite enjoyed reading Marcia Clark’s first two criminal justice novels, Guilt By Association and Guilt by Degrees. At that time, Clark’s writing style was biting but concise; somewhat in the vein of Michael Connelly. David Baldacci wrote, “Clark’s pace, plot, and dialogue are as sharp as they come.” Well, those days seem to be over.
Moral Defense is not a terrible work, but it’s far too long at four-hundred sixteen pages, and Clark should have relied on the main story – about a young woman whose family members were brutally attacked – instead of loading up the novel with multiple stories. Defense attorney Sam Brinkman ties up so many loose ends in this tale that she might as well have been a seamstress. Unlike prosecutor Rachel Knight, who seems to represent Clark’s alter ego, Brinkman is Super Woman in a decidedly unlikable package. She’s as mean as the criminals she represents.
The key problem is that Clark’s writing has devolved into a style that’s choppy and no longer crisp. This was especially true of the first two-hundred pages. By the time the second half speeds up, the reader has long passed the point of caring about the denouements. Not good. Not good at all.
This page was created by an City Book Review staff member.
|Page Count||460 pages|
|Publisher||Thomas & Mercer|
|Amazon||Buy this Book|
|Category||Mystery, Crime & Thriller|