Review: Defensive Wounds by Lisa Black

It’s always helpful to be an expert in the area you are writing about and that’s the case with Lisa Black, author of Defensive Wounds. A former forensic scientist with the Cleveland coroner’s office, her forth novel in a series featuring forensic investigator Theresa MacLean, deals with brutal and curious murders of a serial killer prowling the city.

In Defensive Wounds, Marie Corrigan, a Cleveland defense attorney with a history of falsifying evidence and no shortage of enemies, is found dead in the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton. Forensic investigator Theresa MacLean is summoned to the crime scene but even before Theresa enters the room, she knows that she’s walking into a forensic nightmare—for crime scenes at hotels, even the most luxurious, are teeming with trace evidence that has been left behind by innumerable guests and may or may not be related to the murder.

Given the positioning of Marie’s body, everyone assumes the same thing—that it’s a lovers’ tryst turned lethal. But there are still large questions remaining on the table: How did the killer gain access to the room without anyone’s knowledge? And has the scene been staged for their benefit? The little evidence Theresa has is conflicting at best. What’s more, a legal convention at the hotel provides an endless list of suspects—and potential victims. The story takes a new turn when two more bodies show up in a very similar state and Theresa knows she must find the answers and better soon!

Forensic-Driven thrillers are very popular these days, thanks in part to CSI and shows alike but Lisa Black’s work is not a typical one: Defensive Wounds offers many different settings and plot lines. Theresa is constantly presented with new information and this both alters her ideas of who the killer is and builds anxiety in the story. The abrupt ending discount the value of all the effort Lisa has put in building threads and complexities — nevertheless the book is very entertaining  and definitely a good read.

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