“Moral Defense” by Marcia Clark
(Thomas & Mercer, pp 460, $24.95)
Let me start with this month’s most unlikely candidate. Someone who has been in the news twenty or so years ago during the infamous O. J. trial. I am referring to Marcia Clark. Her new book, “Moral Defense,” is a novel. Yes, you have read loud and clear. A crime novel to be precise, which is by the way not her first one. “Moral Defense,” is a sequel to “Blood Defense” (soon to be a TV series). Of course, probably like most people, you did not know that Clark also wrote crime fiction. After all, she gained fame for being the prosecutor of one of the most controversial murders in our history, something which cannot be easy to shake off, especially if you intend to reinvent yourself.
But in defense of Clark, she reads like a seasoned pro. “Moral Defense” follows the criminal defense attorney, Samantha Brinkman, who represents a teenager, whose family has been brutally murdered. The more Samantha puts her case together, the more she discovers that her narrative thread does not align. If everyone has been murdered, how come her client has survived? . . . Beyond the plot, ultimately, what makes a thriller stand above the fray is not the clever complexity of twists and turns, but the moral questions the main character confronts. And there Clark’s experience and honesty triumph.