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    As a forensic investigator for the Cleveland Police Department, Maggie Gardiner has seen her share of Jane Does. The latest is an unidentified female in her early teens, discovered in a local cemetery. More shocking than the girl’s injuries—for Maggie at least—is the fact that no one has reported her missing. She and the detectives assigned to the case (including her cop ex-husband) are determined to follow every lead, run down every scrap of evidence. But the monster they seek is watching each move, closer to them than they could ever imagine.


    Jack Renner is a killer. He doesn’t murder because he savors it, or because he believes himself omnipotent, or for any reason other than to make the world a safer place. When he follows the trail of this Jane Doe to a locked room in a small apartment where eighteen teenaged girls are anything but safe, he knows something must be done. But his pursuit of their captor takes an unexpected turn.


     Maggie Gardiner finds another body waiting for her in the autopsy room—and a host of questions that will challenge everything she believes about justice, morality, and the true nature of evil …

Publisher's Weekly says: "The intriguing forensic details help drive the plot to its satisfying conclusion."

“Black is one of the best writers of the world of forensics, and her latest introduces Maggie Gardiner, who works for the Cleveland Police Department....Although Cornwell is better known, Black deserves more attention for her skillful writing – and hopefully this will be her breakout book .”– RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars (Top Pick)

Jeff Lindsay, author of the Dexter series, says: "Lisa Black always delivers authentic characters in riveting stories. That Darkness takes things to a spellbinding new level with a taut and haunting story that will stay with you long after you finish reading it."

"This is the first book in a new series featuring Cleveland forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner and homicide detective Jack Renner, but don’t expect your typical detective story...The surprising ending is sure to keep readers coming back for more."  - Booklist

 A great choice for readers of psychological suspense, forensic investigations, and mystery. —Library Journal

Suspense Magazine: "Without giving away plotlines, let me say That Darkness left me thinking for days. I was left thinking about the intricacies of the plot, the beauty of Lisa Black’s writing, and the profound relationship between law and justice."


PUBLISHER'S WEEKLY: In bestseller Black’s solid sequel to 2016’s That Darkness, forensic technician Maggie Gardiner and her associate, homicide detective Jack Renner, investigate the suspicious death of Robert Davis, a copy editor at the Cleveland Herald. Davis’s body was found late one night hanging by the neck above the printing machinery in the Herald’s three-story-high offset room. What first appears to be a suicide turns out to be murder. Talk of the impending death of the daily print newspaper lends color to the case, the details of which police procedural wonks are sure to relish. Black does a good job contrasting the complex characters of her two leads. Given the devil-in-the-details character of her profession, Maggie is naturally drawn to minutiae. Jack’s idea of serving justice leans more toward ignoring the nuance and inconvenience of due process—to say the least—and it’s that divergence that both divides and, ironically, binds the two.

BOOKLIST:  A murder at the struggling Cleveland Herald reunites forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner and detective Jack Renner (introduced in That Darkness, 2016), who share each other’s dreadful secrets. When the body of copy editor Bob Davis is found hanging above the newspaper assembly line, it seems a suicide until Gardiner recognizes that it’s actually murder by strangulation. And Davis is only the first on the newspaper’s staff to die, with the next incident so blatant there’s no suspicion of suicide. As the investigation continues, Gardiner worries about the off-duty activities of Renner, whom she discovered was a vigilante serial killer, à la Dexter. More than one character bemoans the death of the daily newspaper and the resulting effect on our democracy, as the Herald’s future is revealed to be the underlying cause of the mayhem. Solid mystery fare, though the real appeal here is to those who share concern over the fate of newspapers.

RT Book Reviews: The protagonists in this series are both hiding tremendous secrets while trying to solve murders at a dying Cleveland newspaper. The antagonism between the lead characters was previously revealed, but the tension has them treading lightly, because the stakes are extremely high.

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    It begins with the kind of bizarre death that makes headlines—literally. A copy editor at the Cleveland Herald is found hanging above the grinding wheels of the newspaper assembly line, a wide strap wrapped around his throat. Forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner has her suspicions about this apparent suicide inside the tsunami of tensions that is the news industry today—and when the evidence suggests murder, Maggie has no choice but to place her trust in the one person she doesn’t trust at all . . .


    Jack Renner is a killer with a conscience, a vigilante with his own code of honor. In the past, Jack has used his skills and connections as a homicide detective to take the law into his own hands, all in the name of justice. He has only one problem: Maggie knows his secret. She insists he enforce the law, not subvert it. But when more newspaper employees are slain, Jack may be the only person who can help Maggie unmask the killer-- even if Jack is still checking names off his own private murder list.



Perish comp

January 2018

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    The scene of the crime is lavish but gruesome. In a luxurious mansion on the outskirts of Cleveland, a woman’s body lies gutted in a pool of blood on the marble floor. The victim is Joanna Moorehouse, founder of Sterling Financial. The killer could be any one of her associates.

    Maggie knows that to crack the case, she and Jack will have to infiltrate the cutthroat world of high-stakes finance. But the offices of Sterling Financial seethe with potential suspects, every employee hellbent on making a killing. When another officer uncovers disturbing evidence in a series of unrelated murders, the investigation takes a surprising detour.

     Only Maggie recognizes the blood-soaked handiwork of a killer who has committed the most heinous of crimes—and will continue killing until he is stopped. Burdened with unbearable secrets, Maggie must make an agonizing choice, while her conscience keeps telling her: she’s next.

“A solid position in suspense, a solid backbone of detection.” --Kirkus Reviews

“As always with Black, this psychological suspense is incredible. And her way of describing the financial world makes you want to run out, take any money you have invested, cash it in and place it under your pillow instead.” --Suspense Magazine

"...the plot hurtles to an adrenaline-fueled conclusion that is sure to hook Black’s devoted readership." -- Booklist

“The plot twists are woven into multiple threads, and mystery fans will be rewarded for their patience with this roller coaster of a story.”– RT Book Reviews, 4 Stars

 With its solid grounding of information about child development, this fourth entry in the Gardiner and Renner series (after Perish, 2018) is instructional as well as being a well-plotted and -paced thriller with a pair of intriguing protagonists. - Booklist

The death of 15-year-old Rachel Donahue, a recalcitrant resident at a Cleveland juvenile detention facility, kick starts bestseller Black’s well-crafted fourth thriller featuring forensic expert Maggie Gardiner...Black keeps the suspense high throughout. -- Publisher's Weekly


    The body of fifteen-year-old Rachael Donahue—abandoned by society, raised in foster homes, and violently unapproachable—has been discovered at the bottom of a stairwell at Firebird, the secure facility for juvenile offenders in Cleveland. For Maggie and Jack, Rachael’s death comes with a disturbing twist—the girl may have been involved with a much older man.


    But Rachael’s not the only resident at the center to come to a dead end. Firebird’s ten-year-old “wild child” has overdosed in the infirmary—back-to-back tragedies that appear to be terrible accidents. As a forensic investigator, Maggie knows appearances can be deceiving. And Jack knows all about deceit. That’s why they both suspect a cold-blooded murderer is carrying out a deadly agenda.


    As Maggie’s ex-husband gets nearer to uncovering the secrets that Maggie and Jack must hide, it becomes increasingly harder for them to protect a new and vulnerable victim from a killer with unfathomable demons.

August 2018

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   Three days before a key election, U.S. Senator Diane Cragin is electrocuted on her own doorstep—a shocking twist in an already brutal political race. Cragin’s chief of staff is quick to blame rival Joey Green, a city development director who’s had his hand in every till in town for over twenty years.


     As Jack says, “Anyone can be dangerous, when they have what they think is a good reason.” He should know. Now a Herald reporter is perilously close to discovering the truth about Jack’s penchant for acting as both detective and executioner. With each passing hour, the stresses of the impending election expose new fractures and corruption at the city’s highest levels. And as one murder leads to another, and another, Maggie and Jack’s only hope of stopping a killer is an alliance that’s growing ever more fragile.

   Let Justice Descend is the definition of psychological suspense! Superbly drawn characters, nonstop plotting and a style that’s downright lyrical keep us racing through this tale of crime, politics, power and journalism from first page to the last. This is a one-sitting read!

  Jeffery Deaver

  author of The Bone Collector.