Book Banter: The Competition

competitionTitle: The Competition (Rachel Knight #4)

Author: Marcia Clark

Length: ~400 pages

Genre: mystery/thriller

Where Bethany’s Copy Came From: ARC from NetGalley

Plot Basics: LA Special Prosecutor Rachel Knight and her best friend, Detective Bailey Keller are among the first at the scene of a terrible school shooting. A pair of shooters cut a deadly swath through a pep rally. But as Rachel and Bailey investigate, it becomes chillingly clear that the shooters did not turn their guns against themselves in this attack. Rachel and Bailey race against time to figure out who the perpetrators are and to stop them before they can attack again.

Banter Points: I am seriously glad that in my reporter days I never had to cover a school shooting. Clark writes a horrific scene but doesn’t do it just to be sensational. It really captures the shock and fear and violence of that scenario. Rachel and Bailey’s frustration in not being able to solve the case as quickly as they want is also nearly palpable in the pages.

While Clark is writing a series, she’s doing one of the best jobs I’ve seen in making any book an entry point to the stories. There’s a small plot thread that’s carried over from the last book, but she explains it (and a lot of the past) in tight little review snippets. Other people writing books with bigger links could learn from this on how to remind a reader what happened in the book that came out last year.

This is another top-notch novel from Clark.

Bummer Points: While true to life, Rachel and Bailey seem to ask the same questions a lot. It’s no wonder, as they have to interview lots of people about the same series of events. The repetition sometimes made me feel like I’d read a scene already and had to remind myself they were talking to someone else. In the middle, it made the book feel a bit longish.

Word Nerd Recommendation: The Rachel Knight novels are definitely worth a read if you like police/legal thrillers.



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