Hear the name Marcia Clark, and some of us think back to her work for the LA DA’s office prosecuting such trials as that of Robert Bardo and OJ Simpson.

But there’s so much more to this talented author, with two series in print that feature strong female lawyers, one a prosecutor (the Rachel Knight series) and one on the defense side (the Samantha Brinkman series).

So when a chance came to read her new stand alone, FALL GIRL, I was excited to crack this one open but not prepared for the wild ride she would take me on.

Charlie Blair leaves Chicago and assumes a new identity for very good reasons, moving to the Santa Cruz DA’s office to start over and protect her family. Assigned to work a murder case with high profile prosecutor Erika Lorman, Charlie tries to keep away from the limelight, even as she feels she’s being sidelined and soon start poking her investigative nose into their most recent case with surprising results. She starts to question who she can trust.

At the same time, the man who she lives in fear of, after devastating her family, is making his presence known…

This is a fast-paced legal thriller, but even more so, a nuanced look at the question: What is justice and how do ethics figure in? How does morality reside alongside one’s conscience?

With deep characterizations and troubled pasts for both lawyers, the cat-and-mouse game these strong, intelligent women play with each other is as fascinating as their drive. At one point you can’t see any way there can be a a satisfying outcome, and yet, Clark managed to do just that.

A strong, quickly-paced read, with excellent legal scenes balanced by the action that takes place out of the courtroom.