Blood Defense

Marcia Clark

Blood Defense

The first book in the Samantha Brinkman series, 2016



BREAKING NEWS: Actress Chloe Monahan and Roommate Found Stabbed to Death

Actress Chloe Monahan, a regular in the hit drama series Dark Corners, and her roommate, Paige Avner, were found stabbed to death in their Laurel Canyon apartment. Officials say they have no suspects at this time. We’ll post updates as more information is available.


Cops Say Comeback Kid Actress Chloe Monahan and Roommate Killed by Burglar

Reporters for The Biz have learned that Chloe Monahan’s apartment was burglarized just two months before she and her roommate were murdered. Police Chief Wes Sanders says they are looking into the possibility that the burglar came back for another run and killed the girls when they unexpectedly came home. In the meantime, the outpouring of sorrow and rage from friends and fans has crashed Monahan’s Facebook page and her one-million-plus Twitter followers have flooded the social network with messages of grief and demands for justice.

GET THE ASSHOLE WHO DID THIS! #justiceforchloe

OMG I LOVED HER!! #tragedy



I raced into the studio and hopped into the empty chair in front of Bonnie, the makeup wizard. I had just five minutes till airtime. She gave me an exasperated look as she whipped the red nylon cape around me.

The television in the makeup room-always tuned to the studio’s news programs-showed a reporter standing in front of Chloe Monahan’s apartment. I turned to look. Bonnie grabbed my chin and turned my head back. But I couldn’t help myself. My head swiveled around again when the reporter snagged the lead detective for a sound bite. Bonnie gave an exasperated huff. I turned back to face the mirror again. “Sorry.”

I kept thinking they’d come up with some new leads. Or actually, any leads-period. So far, there was nothing but speculation, and most of it centered on the burglar theory. The only other possible suspect I’d heard mentioned was a drug dealer. But no one was giving that idea much play-in large part because the source was Amanda Trace, the snarling muckraker who hosted Justice on Fire! Even Tony Banks, a frequent guest on her show and one of my fellow criminal defense attorneys, disagreed and pointed out that Chloe had been clean for nearly a year. Tony could kiss that guest spot good-bye. No one was allowed to argue with Queen Trace. Which was one of the many reasons I refused to do her show. Her producers started calling after my first appearance on Sheri’s show, Crime Time, and though I’ve turned them down consistently, they still haven’t given up. I don’t know whether they’re admirably tenacious or mush-brained robots who have me on speed dial.

I heard Chloe Monahan’s voice on the television and the shock of it made me jerk my head toward the screen again-but it was just a clip from her interview on Ellen. Bonnie put her hands on her hips and fixed me with a death ray. “Once more, Brinkman, and I’ll let you go out there looking like a raccoon in drag.”

My sparring partner for the evening, lawyer Barry Stefanovich, sauntered in and flopped down into the seat next to mine. “Actually, that sounds kind of cute.” Bonnie shot him a dagger. Barry blew her a kiss and turned his chair to face me. “Hey, Sam.” I didn’t think I could rock the “raccoon in drag” look, so I kept still and just wiggled my fingers at him. He nodded at the television. “When they get the guy, are you going to try for it? It’s gonna be huge.”

Which is always good for business. And as Michelle, childhood BFF, paralegal, and the lone “associate” in my firm, the Law Offices of Brinkman and Associates, would say: “Take the damn case; we need the money.” Ordinarily, it would be a no-brainer. I’ve handled uglier cases that had no publicity benefits, but this was different. I’d been a fan of Dark Corners-and of Chloe in particular. I’d seen her on the late-night talk-show circuit. She was cool, very real, not actress-y. And she was funny. In that weird, sort of ridiculous way we have of bonding with people we see only on television, I felt like I knew her. So my human side said, No frigging way. But the lawyer in me said, Isn’t that why you got into this business to begin with? To stick up for the underdog? I shook my head. “I don’t know.”

The production assistant ran in, her long single braid swinging behind her. “We’ve got to get you guys seated. Barry, you’re in Studio B. Samantha, you’re in Studio A.”

Bonnie yanked off the cape and I vaulted out of the chair. Barry and I fell in behind the assistant as she led us down the hall. “Are we going to talk about Chloe Monahan?”

The assistant shook her head. “We are, but you guys aren’t. There’s no real news yet, so Sheri’s just doing personal stuff with some of Chloe’s friends.”

I raised an eyebrow. Since when did they need real news to justify the slugfest? Barry gave me a knowing smile behind the assistant’s back as he ducked into his studio.

I trotted into Studio A next door and sat down. Dane, the audio guy, was waiting for me. He clipped the mike to the lapel of my blazer, handed me my earpiece, and left. The door closed with a solid, air-compressing thunk. When you see me on television, it looks like I’m sitting in some cool twenty-sixth-floor office with a panoramic view of the Los Angeles skyline at sunset. Really, it’s just a dark coffin-size room with a printed backdrop. Claustrophobics would bounce off the walls.

And thanks to the magicians in the makeup room and a shot that catches me from only the chest up, I look like I just stepped off the red carpet. You can’t see the safety pin that’s holding my skirt together, the scuffed pumps that’ve been resoled four times, or the old coffee stain on my blouse-which is still missing the last two buttons because I can’t face up to the chore of searching through the overstuffed bag of spare buttons crammed under my bathroom sink.

I pulled out my cell phone to do one last Twitter blast.

I’m on LIVE with Sheri! Talking the Samron case: 14 Yr Old who shot her brother-tune in! #HLN

I’ve been doing the cable news circuit for about six months now. Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not a paying gig, so only the young and desperate do it-or the already successful types who have the time to do it for fun because they’re paying the young and hungry to do the real work. It’s a real time suck, and if it’d been up to me, I’d have said no gracias when one of Sheri’s producers first approached me. But Michelle elbowed her way in between us and said, “She’d love to!”

I’d been pissed. “I don’t have time for that crap, Michy.”

She’d hissed under her breath. “Are you nuts? This ‘crap’ is how you snag the kinds of cases that’ll finally put us in the black. You can’t afford not to.”

So far it’s netted me only a couple of DUI cases and a lot of requests to take on pro bono work. But it is kind of fun. A limo picks me up, hair-and-makeup wizards make me look fabulous, and I get to hammer other lawyers without having to worry about getting locked up by the judge. Where does any of that go wrong?

But since it still hasn’t proven to be a cash cow, I limit myself to one or two shows a week. A lot of the lawyers who do this cable circuit are hoping to get their own show. I have to admit, I think about it, too, every now and then. It’d be nice not to have to worry about whether I’ve got enough money to feed Beulah, my ancient Mercedes, who-in addition to having a rear passenger window that no longer rolls all the way up and an ugly dent in the right rear fender (which, coincidentally, showed up the day a client got convicted of murder and his girlfriend threatened to kill me)-is a gas hog.

And it’d be a real personal coup if I could wind up living as well as my mother-without having to slide underneath a rich old guy every night. But I love what I do; I believe in what I do. Sticking up for the little guy is why I went to law school.

So I keep doing it, hoping to score my big break. A shrink who was on one of the shows with me a few months ago said the real reason I did the cable circuit was because I needed to prove that I was “somebody.” Probably to my parents. I told the shrink I’d never met my father, and the only thing that would make my mother think I was “somebody” was if I married a rich “somebody.” And then I told him I thought he did these shows because he was a self-important ass waffle who probably got his degree from an online “university” in Belize. I hadn’t meant to pop off like that-not that it didn’t feel good to take down that self-important, patronizing jackass. But I figured that was the end of my brief stint as a talking head. Which just shows how green I was. The producers booked me for three more shows on the spot.

As I was finishing a tweet, Dane, the audio guy, spoke in my earpiece. “Could you give me a ten-co ...

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