Former prosecutor and critically acclaimed author Marcia Clark has another hit on her hands with Blood Defense. Its use of realistic criminal justice terminology and procedure, wide range of character types, and not one but TWO major twists make the novel a must-read for any crime/suspense fan. The book was published on May 1, 2016 and serves as the introductory story in Clark’s new Samantha Brinkman series. Her character brings the story to life and will leave you in love with her wit, attitude, confidence and fearlessness while simultaneously pulling you into a complex murder mystery.
Blood Defense follows the story of Samantha Brinkman, a highly qualified, no-nonsense LA defense attorney who is even more than meets the eye. On her quest to make it big time and make more money, she finds herself defending an LAPD vet, Dale, who is the prime suspect in a double-murder case. Samantha and her two partners, Michelle and Alex, lead an investigation with hopes to prove Dale’s innocence, but things take a major turn when she begins to doubt his story, she becomes unexpectedly personally invested, and lives are now at stake.
The story is told from Samantha Brinkman’s perspective and her character is an absolute winner. She is highly intelligent, a loyal friend (sometimes to a fault), and superb at her job. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the story in relation to her character is that there is no love interest. The primary focus from beginning to end, with subplots of family and friend interactions, is her career and her investigation. I find that extremely refreshing, empowering, and I honestly don’t think the story lacked anything by not including a love interest.
Blood Defense is also very detailed and fast-paced. From the very first page, you are thrown right into the mix of her hectic life. There is no easing into the storyline or lightly introducing characters. This could be a positive or a negative depending on reader preference. At first, it may seem hard to keep up with all of the names, character relevance, etc. However, I think it evens out quite quickly.
It does take a bit of time to get to the meat of the story and the beginning of the suspense, but it’s worth the wait. The main storyline and investigation seem quite realistic, which is not always the case. I didn’t find myself asking, “Really? Why would she do that?” or saying, “Wow, that would never happen in real life,” and that directly results from Marcia Clark’s utilization of personal experiences and expertise. I often felt like I was following a real-life case rather than reading a fictional story.
It was pretty difficult for me to choose actors for Blood Defense because I thought of so many amazingly talented people that could rock these roles. Here’s the list I settled on for the main characters:
Samantha Brinkman – Evangeline Lilly
Michelle – Paula Patton
Alex – Wilmer Valderrama
Dale Pearson – Kevin Costner
Blood Defense – Alternate Ending [Slight Spoiler Alert]
First off, I must say that the actual ending to this book is absolutely unpredictable. The person who turns out to be the killer is a character I never would have suspected. There is also another huge revelation that I doubt anyone would see coming, but I’ll leave that for you to find out.
If I had to pick an alternate ending and a different character for Chloe and Paige’s murderer, I would have to go with Lisa, Dale’s daughter. Everyone else would be too obvious, and I think Lisa would be a nice twist. She spent years not knowing her father, and that resentment built into violent anger. When she and her mother moved back to California and she finally had a chance to spend time with Dale, he began spending more time with his girlfriend, Chloe, instead of her. This was his chance to make up for lost time and he was prioritizing his drug addict/actress girlfriend, which didn’t sit well with young Lisa. One day, she followed her father to Chloe and Paige’s apartment, waited outside until she saw Dale leave, and walked inside to confront Chloe when things got out of hand and the murders occurred. How crazy would that have been?! Dale’s own flesh and blood responsible for the murders that could potentially send him to prison for life.
All in all, Blood Defense was an enjoyable read. It takes some time to get to the thick of the plot, but once you’re in, you won’t be able to put it down. A powerful female lead and detailed crime mystery with a number of possible suspects will keep you on your toes. I’m definitely looking forward to more stories in this new Samantha Brinkman series.