Trish's Reviews > The Competition

The Competition by Marcia Clark
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

really liked it
bookshelves: america, crime, fiction, mysteries, series

Author Marcia Clark, TV correspondent and former prosecutor, manages to distinguish her crime series by the strength of her writing and by the presentation of the material: she gives her readers an undeniably authentic inside look at the search for criminals, sharing along the way terminology and methods, points of law and methods of prosecution. She leavens the work by including the taunt-slinging humor that a hard-working, hard-living law enforcement team shares while investigating major crimes.

Clark’s Rachel Knight series features a prosecutor from the office of L.A. Special Trials. In her earlier (and shorter) novels, Knight was investigating interesting crimes that plague cities. This book takes on the important subject of the psychopathy behind mass shootings, whether at schools, stores, or the cinema. Clark relies heavily on the David Cullen’s nonfiction treatment of the Columbine shooting, Columbine, so that we can see clearly the resemblances in the copycat incident she relates, but she also looks closely at the other examples we’ve endured in the recent past and shares psychologists’ view of the phenomenon.

Clark’s story has many false leads and misdirection, but what I liked best was the palpable sense of not knowing enough: though the investigators worked hard at finding clues, there was so much they simply did not know. Clark manages to make us understand the real difficulties in pursuing an investigation in cases like these, and why it takes so long to make headway (it is not simply because of the fabled traffic jams in L.A.). The smog fog of confusion felt very real to me. When, towards the end of the book, Knight and her partner on this case, Detective Bailey Keller, finally get a lead that connects tiny shreds of information learned from disparate sources early in the investigations, Bailey sits back in her chair and says "Well, what do you know. An actual bona fide lead. So that’s what it feels like." And we feel that sense of discovery, awe, and relief, too.

Clark exhibits her control in a story of this size and scope. She covers a lot of ground by looking at so many major examples of mass shootings and still keeping the story alive with interactions between her characters. If I had any criticism, it would be that there were too many words, but I am not going to quibble. This is an excellent example of its genre which also serves to highlight important questions about our society and justice system.

In my review of an earlier book in the series, Guilt by Degrees, I commented that Rachel Knight seemed to have expensive tastes when it comes to eating and drinking. She still does, but I can see more clearly in this novel that Knight has time to eat only rarely and when she finally does, often late at night, she deserves every bite of those exotic meals. Hers is the kind of job that doesn’t slow or stop for normal people’s needs.

The first book in the Rachel Knight series, Guilt by Association, was a wonderful debut. Take a look if you are beginning the series for the first time.
14 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Competition.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

February 28, 2015 – Started Reading
February 28, 2015 – Shelved
Finished Reading
March 1, 2015 – Shelved as: america
March 1, 2015 – Shelved as: crime
March 1, 2015 – Shelved as: fiction
March 1, 2015 – Shelved as: mysteries
March 1, 2015 – Shelved as: series

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Carol (new)

Carol Based on your comments I should seek Clark out.

Trish Carol wrote: "Based on your comments I should seek Clark out."

She writes really smart, informative genre novels and as she goes along she is getting more detailed and reluctant to leave out important information (for us readers) that will help us to get a grip on events like mass shootings. I like the way she thinks, and I admire what she is able to do. And I love the "girlfriend" character of her female leads. They are so close and so nice to each other.

message 3: by Elyse (new) - added it

Elyse Walters Very cool! I heard Marcia Clark speak a couple of years ago.
I was given this book. Yikes I forgot about it too. I still have it.
I thought she was wonderful listening to her speak. Around 40 people were in the room - asked her questions about the trial of course. She was so honest- terrific.
Great review.
I'm inspired again!
Just sooo many books!

Trish Elyse wrote: "Very cool! I heard Marcia Clark speak a couple of years ago.
I was given this book. Yikes I forgot about it too. I still have it.
I thought she was wonderful listening to her speak. Around 40 peo..."

Yes, I think she deserves to make a living as an author. She has a nose for critically important issues and is not afraid to wade in.

back to top