The legal thriller is one of my favorite genres of crime fiction. Legal thrillers let me into the world of courtrooms, suits, lawyers, paralegals, and their innocent, not so innocent, and some down-right shady clients. It’s in the legal thriller that we get a chance to see the justice system at work. The newspaper can tell us what happened. A legal thriller can tell us the stories and characters behind the possible headline. Allegedly.

The authors set many of their legal thrillers in a courtroom. They take a case after the police or investigators have completed their work and then we watch them take it through court. Often, it’s when the case is being tried that new evidence comes up. Think of the lawyer in the light-gray suit, Matlock.

But showing the courtroom isn’t necessary. In Marcia Clark’s Guilt by Association, Los Angeles D. A. Rachel Knight is a prosecutor who becomes involved in her colleague’s murder. We don’t see her take the case to trial, but we do watch as she investigates and interacts with the people involved. Continue reading