Friday, October 24, 2014

The Competition (Rachel Knight #4) by Marcia Clark

Release Date:  July 8, 2014
Publisher: Mulholland Books
Series: Rachel Knight series, Book #4

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

After a devastating school shooting in the style of Columbine, Rachel Knight is put on the case alongside Detective Bailey Keller to find the answers to some of the hardest questions they've had to face to date. Digging deeper into the reasons behind the shooting reveal that the concrete evidence they'd collected wasn't so concrete after all. Now, both Knight and Keller are on the hunt to find the person or persons responsible before it's too late.

As they weave their way around the trails that the evidence takes them, they find more questions than answers until the second shooting takes place. Everything they knew about the perpetrators was turned upside down. Now, Rachel must continue to find a way to stop the next shooting any way she can. Will she able to shift out the puzzle pieces that don't fit in time to save the next group of people?

After reading the first three books in the Rachel Knight series offered by NetGalley, I looked forward to reading this one as well and offering an honest review. Truth be told, each of the books covered a difficult case, but I felt this offering by the author was by far the most "ripped from the headlines" in the series. As with the other three books, this one incorporated information from the previous cases where needed without disrupting the current plot. Having a few familiar faces resurface in a few key areas not only helped to move the story along in a believable fashion, but made me smile a time or two at the hijinks they planned or enacted.

The novel is written from Rachel's point-of-view as it was with the previous three offerings by the author. Many of the key players from the previous cases return, bringing their expertise with them. Graden, Bailey and Dorian made themselves known from the start because of the severity of the case. Being a part of the Special Trials Unit and dating one of the brass in law enforcement did have a few perks for Rachel to enjoy, but it also meant that she endured some of the most devastating of cases - a school shooting. Not all of Rachel's core group had a major part in this book, but they were able to contribute their ideas here and there whenever there was a meeting of the minds, so to speak. Toni, another lawyer within Rachel's unit and best friend, didn't have as much of an impact within this story other than to offer an outsider's opinion. Because of the nature of the shooting, a pair of psychologists were thrown into the mix of experts and offered their insights into the dark mind of the shooter.

The book started off slow and focused on a few of the kids that would be attending Fairmont High School. Once they were in place at the school, the mood quickly darkened. Once the police were on scene, the pace ramped up and stayed at a high level as the characters raced against time to stop the next shooting from happening. Unfortunately, the persons responsible were quite a few steps ahead of Rachel and the investigative teams. When they thought they had a handle on the situation or a good clue that might bring an end to the terror, something or someone would reveal how far off-base they were. For a good portion of the book, I thought I had things figured out. I could see how they came to their conclusions and were just as confused when other revelations came to light.

Overall, I had mixed feelings about this book. While I enjoyed the story for its thrilling and mysterious atmosphere, the subject matter made it difficult to ignore the voice inside saying it hit a little close to home. It was interesting to see the focus placed more on the 'how to detect' angle instead of glorifying the shooter or the shootings itself. Many theories were thrown around, each credible in their own way, but there wasn't a simple explanation to sweep the devastation under a rug. When it came to the end, I hoped for a moment of clarity for the responsible party. I'm not sure if it ever truly came to pass. The thrill of the hunt combined with the overwhelming emotions the case brought on made for a wild ride all over L.A. and into Colorado. If you're looking for a story that will grab at your heartstrings and tug at them until the last possible moment, then this book is one you need to read.

The Competition (Rachel Knight #4) by Marcia Clark is currently available for purchase at many retailers, both online and local bookstores. It can be found in hardcover, paperback or digital editions including Kindle. The link provided below will take you to the book's Amazon page.
The Competition (Rachel Knight #4) by Marcia Clark

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