When asked to think a writer from Cleveland, most people will say Les Roberts, the author of the Cleveland-based Milan Jacovich series. But Roberts is not the only writer in town, and Lisa Black is another Cleveland-centric mystery author who should be added to your ‘to-read’ list. You may have read her previous series about a forensic investigator solving mysteries in Cleveland, but her new series, this time about a fingerprint and trace evidence specialist, weaves a different twist into the standard mystery plot.
Maggie Gardiner works for the Cleveland Police Department as a forensic investigator. When multiple victims turn up dead with the same method of execution, she starts to suspect a serial killer. Jack Renner is that serial killer, but he is also a detective with the CPD – and he only kills guilty people who have escaped the justice system. Maggie begins to connect the dots, but there is no telling what Jack will do when she finds him.
Of course, part of the appeal of a book set in Cleveland is the ability to follow the characters on their travels through the city: Maggie walks around Public Square and Jack drives by the Browns stadium and through the Flats. The book is particularly slow-paced and detail-oriented, at least until the show-stopping conclusion. Black also poses fascinating moral dilemmas about the existence of vigilantes in a justice system that allows criminals to go free, but disappointingly does not give a definitive answer to those questions. Overall, I recommend this book to mystery lovers, born-and-raised Clevelanders, and those who love an interesting moral puzzle.
Review by Shannon Wood
Adult Services Librarian
Nordonia Hills Branch Library