Jo Ann Beard & Marcia Clark publish novels

Kirkus Reviews recently posted a list of 2011 Outstanding Debuts between January and June. Most are starred, which for Kirkus means “books of remarkable merit.” But for those without the star, how does one interpret them being outstanding but not remarkable? Hmmmm. You can see the full list of 12 books online. It’s an even six fiction, six non-fiction. Below are two novels from that list, coming up in April, that caught my attention.

In Zanesville by Jo Ann Beard
In 1998, Beard published a successful autobiographical essay collection, The Boys of My Youth. It experienced a unique release, selling out its first printing before the book’s publication date. I’m assuming that’s because of pre-orders via online sellers. One of the essays was published in 1996 in The New Yorker, The Fourth State of Matter, and is considered to have launched her upward rise. Now Beard’s much anticipated novel is here, In Zanesville. It’s a coming-of-age story in the 1970s narrated by a 14-year-old heading into her freshman year in high school. Publisher’s Weekly writes, “Beard is a faultless chronicler of the young and hopeful; readers couldn’t ask for a better guide for a trip through the wilds of adolescence.” The location is suppose to represent small-town USA, but I can’t help but think it’s Zanesville, Ohio. I just can’t find confirmation of that.

Guilt by Association by Marcia Clark
I’m having a hard time thinking of Marcia Clark as a novelist because I was glued to the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995. She’s a fixed visual in my memory with that cold determination on her face under a mop of curly hair. I realize I’m unfairly engaging in incident identification of a person. (I would struggle similarly if Monica Lewinsky became a romance novelist.) Nevertheless, Kirkus is raving about this debut novel by Clark in such a way it’s hard to think of not reading it. They praise the authenticity of Guilt by Association as well as the quality of writing. Two women are at the forefront of the criminal investigation in the roles of prosecutor and LAPD detective.

3 thoughts on “Jo Ann Beard & Marcia Clark publish novels

  1. I read Clark’s account of the OJ trial “Without a Doubt” — I’m not a good judge of quality, but the book was gripping and fascinating. I can imagine she has novels in her.


  2. There’s probably been enough time in between the two books for readers to be removed from Clark’s OJ days. I’m sure her new book will also become a #1 NYT best-seller, as was “Without a Doubt.”


  3. “Guilt by Association” a new book by Marcia Clark

    An appropriate title and possibly another pay off maybe for her role in the Simpson cover up. This is how the puppet masters pay their debts by creating book deals paid with financial advancements. Someone should ask was it worth it, especially since the independent investigators of OMIG finally were able to acquire those traffic records from CALtrans for the I-405 for the night of the murders, June 12, 1994. Those traffic records support Nicole Brown Simpson’s mom & dad’s first statements that they arrived home at 11 PM & called Nicole when Simpson was entering the backseat of a limo, and not that final phony time of 9:37 PM as the time of the last call that Clark, Shapiro & Cochran agreed to stipulate at trial to circumvent jury examination after arguing & changing for 8 mos. Strangely Clark’s book arrives, along with another satirical offering “Juice”, right around the same time that a non-fictional account by one of the independent OMIG investigators, and full of documents “PURSUIT OF EXHIBIT 35 in the OJ Simpson Murder Trial and its Hidden Secrets” through’s book division.


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