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Chapter 3 of Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark

Keep reading GUILT BY ASSOCIATION by Marcia Clark, which is on sale now. If you missed the Prologue, Chapter 1 or Chapter 2, catch up here.

3

Lieutenant Hales pulled up to the Biltmore, guided me out of the car, and walked me to the front entrance. Through the fog of denial and disbelief, the shocked features of Angel, the doorman, floated before me.

“Rachel, what’s wrong?” he asked as he opened the door and took the elbow Hales wasn’t holding.

“She’s had a tough night,” Hales said tersely.

“I’ll take it from here,” Angel said proprietarily, with an accusatory glance at the lieutenant.

I didn’t have the energy or the sentience to explain that it was nothing the lieutenant had done. I remained mute as Angel led me inside and steered me toward the elevator.

He managed to get me to my room, and I meant to thank him, though I’m not sure the words made it out of my mouth. All I know is that the moment the door closed behind him, I pulled out the bottle of Russian Standard Platinum vodka someone had given me a while ago and poured myself a triple shot.

I looked at the television. Was the story being aired yet? I decided I didn’t want to know. And I couldn’t bring myself to call Toni. Talking about it would make it real. Right now, all I wanted was oblivion. I tossed down my drink, then poured myself another and didn’t stop pouring until I passed out cold.

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A Dream Come True

So far this week, Marcia Clark has appeared on Good Morning America, NPR’s Morning Edition, WPIX and Good Day New York. The Los Angeles Times published a feature on the origins of her novel.  The Richmond Times-Dispatch praises how “Clark develops her plot with ingenious twists and laces it with plenty of humor and a bit of romance….the writer’s pen is a perfect fit in Clark’s deft hands.” The Boston Herald runs a Q&A with Clark as well and the Hartford Books Examiner calls GUILT BY ASSOCIATION “a dazzling debut that marks the emergence of a new literary luminary…Our verdict: It would be criminal to miss this book.” And, don’t miss rave reviews from Jen’s Book Thoughts, Linus’s Blanket, Bermuda Onion, Booking Mama, and Pop Culture Nerd. Here, Marcia tells us a bit about the origins of the novel.

I’d dreamed of writing fiction since I was a kid, and every so often, ideas for books would occur to me, but I never actually made the commitment and put pen to paper. Then I became a criminal lawyer. And a few years later, I joined the Los Angeles District Attorney’s Office. And so came the stories, the people, the adrenaline rush of trial; suddenly I was awash in the best material any writer could hope for. But I was in the thick of it, too busy living the ride to step back and write about it.

It wasn’t until years later, after I’d written scripts for television, that I found myself thinking seriously about finally writing a novel. And then, inspiration came from an unexpected source. A friend recommended the series of novels, “Tales of the City” by Armistead Maupin. From the very first page, I was entranced with the beautiful, exciting, warm and witty world he’d created, a world filled with fun, quirky and interesting characters. That’s when I realized that it was time to write that novel, and that what I really wanted to do was revisit my happiest years as a prosecutor, and create a world that would be an ongoing series with recurring characters who’d – hopefully – also be fun, loveable and interesting.

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Five Favorite Female Crime Fighters

This week, the world will meet Rachel Knight, the heroine of Marcia Clark’s new novel GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. Marcia has provided us with 5 of her favorite female crime fighters.Tell us your favorites in the comments. We’ll choose 3 to receive signed first editions of GUILT BY ASSOCIATION. Don’t miss Marcia on Good Morning America this morning.

Emma Peel (aka Diana Rigg) of “The Avengers”: Before it was cool to let women fight and carry guns, this woman did it all, and in a black cat suit no less.

Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison in “Prime Supect”: Jane is brilliant, tough, straight-talking; a woman who walked the walk without ever resorting to the cartoonish extremes of either trying to be a man or the outrageous coquette. And Helen Mirren is literally the only person who could play her.

Rita Fiore: The hottest female lawyer on two spectacular legs (thanks, Robert B. Parker!). She was Spencer’s “go-to” gal for all kinds of help and information. Every bit as predatory, tough and smart as any man, she and Spencer shared a perpetual, yet unrequited lust.

Scully of the “X Files”: Cool as a cucumber, the rational, scientifically-minded counter-part to Mulder. Scully was a woman who could run without pin wheeling arms and wield a gun with believable authority. And, for a change, a woman was the logical, more emotionally balanced end of the team.

Nancy Drew: one of the earliest intrepid females and the heroine of my early childhood. In fact, she’s one of the reasons I wanted to be a thriller writer. At eighty years old (yep, eighty) she’s still out there crushing crime.

Marcia Clark is a former LA, California deputy district attorney, who was the lead prosecutor in the O.J. Simpson murder case. She wrote a bestselling nonfiction book about the trial, Without a Doubt, and is a frequent media commentator and columnist on legal issues. She lives in Los Angeles.

Chapter 2 of Guilt By Association by Marcia Clark

Keep reading GUILT BY ASSOCIATION by Marcia Clark as we prepare for the book’s publication on April 20th. If you missed the Prologue or Chapter 1, there’s time to catch up here. Stay tuned to the site next week for a Marcia Clark Extravaganza.

2

Scott turned and wove through the throng of police and firemen and made his way into the motel. I slid into the driver’s seat and tried not to think about the “passengers” that’d ridden around in the cargo space behind me.

A few more clouds of smoke drifted out as firefighters began to emerge from the building. One of them was rolling up the hose as he walked. They’d been here only a few minutes; if they were already wrapping up, this couldn’t have been much of a fire.

I watched the hunky firefighters at work and was pondering the truth of the old saying—that God made all paramedics and firemen good-looking so you’d see something pretty before you died—when a deep, authoritative voice broke my concentration.

“Miss, are you with the coroner’s office?”

I’d been sitting sidesaddle in the van, facing the motel. I turned to my left and saw that the owner of the voice was somewhere around six feet tall, on the lean side but tastefully muscled under his blue uniform, his dark-blond hair just long enough to comb. His eyes were a gold-flecked hazel, and he had wide, pronounced cheekbones, a strong nose, and a generous mouth. The bars on his uniform told me he was brass, not rank and file. His nameplate confirmed it:

LIEUTENANT GRADEN HALES.

His skeptical look annoyed me, but his presence made an already weird scene even more so. What the hell was a lieutenant doing here? I mustered up my best “I belong here” voice and replied, “I’m a DA, but I’m waiting for Scott.”

I expected that my status as a prosecutor would end the discussion. Wrong.

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Chapter 1 of Guilt By Association by Marcia Clark

Keep reading GUILT BY ASSOCIATION by Marcia Clark as we prepare for the book’s publication on April 20th. If you missed the Prologue, catch up here.

1

“Guilty? Already? What’d they do, just walk around the table and hit the buzzer?” Jake said, shaking his head incredulously.

I laughed, nodding. “I know, it’s crazy. Forty-five-minute verdict after a three-month trial,” I said as I shook my head. “I thought the clerk was kidding when she called and told me to come back to court.” I paused. “Now that I think about it, this might be my fastest win ever on a first-degree.”

“Hell, sistah, that’s the fastest win I done heard on
anythang,
” Toni said as she plopped down into the chair facing my desk. She talked ghetto only as a joke.

“Y’all gotta admit,” I said, “homegirl brought game this time.”

Toni gave me a disdainful look. “Uh-uh, snowflake. You can’t pull it off, so don’t try.” She reached for the mug I kept cleaned and at the ready for her on the windowsill.

I raised an eyebrow. “You’ve got a choice: take that back and have a drink, or enjoy your little put-down and stay dry.”

Toni eyed the bottle of Glenlivet on my desk, her lips firmly pressed together, as she weighed her options. It didn’t take long. “It’s amazing. For a minute there, I thought Sister Souljah was in the room,” she said with no conviction whatsoever. She slammed her mug down on my desk. “Happy?”
I shrugged. “Not your best effort, but they can’t all be gold.” I broke the small ice tray out of my mini-fridge, dumped the cubes into her cup, and poured the equivalent of two generous shots of Glenlivet.

Toni shot me a “don’t push your luck” look and signaled a toast.

I turned to Jake and gestured to the bottle. “Maybe a token?” I asked. He was a nondrinker by nature, but he’d occasionally join in to be sociable.

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