So, Rachel Knight and her pal Det. Bailey Keller are called to the scene of a deadly shooting at a high school. Very deadly -- it soon becomes clear that there will be a higher death count here than any other school shooting, which is exactly what the gunmen were going for. Students of mass shootings throughout our nation's recent past, these criminals have set out to out-perform those they see as their inferiors.
The Rachel Knight novels are typically legal tension, wrangling, and some suspense -- but mostly it's about how do we catch this guy up in a lie?, how do we prove what we know?, and so on. But from page 8 when the bullets start flying, <b>The Competition</b> is pure, old-fashioned thriller-style tension. How long will it take to find the guys?, what will happen before they do? Riots, panic, more shooting? Yes, there's also plenty of twists and turns, and the requisite Rachel Knight et al. cuteness. But mostly, this one's a race against time and danger.
Marcia Clark steps out into some risky territory here -- one only has to look back to the season premier of <b>Sons of Anarchy</b> last year to see the very divided critical and fan reaction to the school shooting. She manages it very well, not pushing any of the several political or social debates that she could here. The focus is kept on the criminals, trying to figure out why they did what they did, how to stop their evil. I can't help but think of the old Nero Wolfe line, "Nothing corrupts a man so deeply as writing a book; the myriad temptations are overwhelming." It'd have been so easy for Clark to succumb to temptation and pontificate here, to push her particular viewpoint on gun-issues, but she doesn't. Well done.
I did guess almost every plot twist she used (and one I was convinced she was going to pull, but didn't -- even after the moment passed, I was looking for it). But it didn't matter, she played every note just the way she should've, and even if I saw a trick coming, it worked. Was an edge-of-your-seat page-turner through and through. Hope to see a little more of Rachel the lawyer rather than Rachel the investigator next time, but chalk this up as another win for Knight and Clark.