home page banner

Theresa MacLean Books

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:In this sequel to Takeover, Black paints a believable portrait of a professional woman struggling to move on with her life. Cleveland forensic scientist Theresa MacLean has been in a fog since the bank robbery eight months earlier, but her latest case needs all the concentration she can muster. When 24-year-old Jillian Perry, a former escort, turns up dead in the woods, Theresa doubts the police theory that Jillian committed suicide. Jillian was the devoted mother of a five-month-old, and her husband of three weeks, who wasn't the child's father, was on the verge of making big bucks with the innovative video game he and a partner had developed. As Theresa re-examines the evidence, a man claiming to be Jillian's boyfriend wants to claim her body and petitions for custody of her baby. Was he a boyfriend or a stalker? This fast-paced thriller features a lot of detailed forensics with a rip-roaring ending.

EoM cover Takeover cover

KIRKUS: Black (Takeover, 2008), a former forensic scientist, knows her stuff and briskly leads readers along the trail of clues right behind her likeable, no-nonsense heroine. Smart science propels this intelligent, well-thought-out crime thriller.

LIBRARY JOURNAL: In this second novel in a new series (after Takeover), Black weaves a highly entertaining if somewhat improbable tale of drama and suspense. Fans of forensic thrillers will look forward to seeing more of her witty and likable heroine.

Booklist: Black has a compelling protagonist in Theresa MacLean...

"...a tautly plotted, relentlessly suspenseful debut. Let’s hope she writes another scorcher-and soon." -- Booklist (starred review)

Ridley Pearson, author of bestselling crime novels and the Lou Boldt series: "Prepare to be taken hostage. Lisa Black tells a compelling story of intrigue, tested relationships, and false leads that gain momentum like a bag of marbles spilled at the top of the stairs. There's no way all those marbles can come back together at the end, and yet, in Black's skillful hands you're in for a surprise. TAKEOVER is captivating. Part procedural, part psychological suspense, and every inch a thriller, TAKEOVER succeeds from the opening chapter. Lisa Black is a gifted storyteller--she excels at bait-and-switch, leaving the reader frantically turning pages. TAKEOVER takes place in the Federal Reserve, but there's nothing reserved in Lisa Black's charged narrative. Pick up this book, and prepare to invest an entire evening. It's that good."

Peter Abrahams, author of The Fan and The Tutor: "TAKEOVER is a riveting hostage drama packed with surprises. Once Lisa Black gets you inside the bank, you - like the bad guys - won't be able to stop."

Dr. Bill Bass, forensic anthropologist at the University of Tennessee and co-author of bestselling thrillers under the name Jefferson Bass. "... it is obvious that Lisa Black is a professional and knows what she is writing about. An exciting story that is hard to put down. TAKEOVER goes into detail on how a hostage negotiation is conducted and on the many problems that can occur when the established rules are not followed. Interesting and educational."


Takeover is a thriller of the first order, a pulse-racing adventure that grabs you in the first chapter and has you sweating until the very end. Each time you catch your breath, Black adds a plot twist that that takes you down another devilishly clever path. - Mystery Scene

"Lisa Black heightens the suspense and breathes new life into the classic hostage thriller...." - South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Evidence of Murder appeared on the New York Times Mass Market bestseller list!!

trailofblood_16 Torso Killer Video!

During the Great Depression, the city of Cleveland  was terrorized by more than the world's turmoil: a madman, who murdered by night and left his handiwork to be discovered in the first glare of day.  He was America's version of Jack the Ripper, but more prolific. He was bloody. He was unknown. He was never caught.


These are facts.


Trail of Blood begins where history leaves off...

When her daughter Rachael, working a summer job at the Ritz-Calton, calls Cleveland forensic scientist Thereas MacLean to say a murder has just occurred at the hotel, Theresa knows she's stepping into a forensic mess. A local criminal defense attorney has been bound and beaten to death, and the room is full of trace evidence that may, or may not, be related to the murder. The victim was attending a convention for criminal defense attorneys, which means the list of suspects could stretch a mile long.

        Two more bodies are found in quick succession, each killed in a similar manner, and the authorities know they have a serial killer on their hands. As Theresa searches for the threads, that tie the cases together, she begins to fear that both she and her daughter are closer to danger than either of them realizes.

Praise for Trail of Blood:

"Lisa Black wows us with another tense and unputdownable thriller. She is, quite simply, one of the best storytellers around."    -- Tess Gerritsen

"Lisa Black writes with immediacy and unmatched authenticity, and Trail of Blood is a terrific story, too -- her best yet!"– Jeff Lindsay, NYT Bestselling author of Dexter is Delicious

KIRKUS likes Trail of Blood:   Black ... has a strong heroine in MacLean.   There’s a dash of romance thrown in, but the real action is in the field, as MacLean and her cousin look into crimes decades apart. A smart step-by-step thriller.

PUBLISHERS WEEKLY:   “...the fast-paced action hurtles to a breathless conclusion.”

BOOKLIST :  “…[Black] generates suspense with alternating accounts of investigations present and past. A cast of complex, captivating characters is led by likable Theresa…."

Library Journal says: Black’s carefully drawn descriptions of 1930s Cleveland and its rail yards create an intense feeling of suspense. True-crime buffs will appreciate her attention to accuracy.

   In Blunt Impact Theresa is caught in the knot of unlikely and conflicting human beings surrounding a tough but endangered little girl named Anna, better known as Ghost.

Ghost has a unique lifestyle, loved by her construction worker mother and disabled grandmother but constantly slipping out of her home to roam the back alleys of the large city. Nothing all that bad ever happens—until she witnesses her mother’s murder, as the beautiful young woman is thrown from the unfinished 23rd floor. Ghost will not rest until she learns the truth, which means that Theresa cannot rest until Ghost is safe.

The building itself is in turmoil, torn by controversy over its purpose as a new county jail. Add in OSHA whistleblowers and missing money, criminal elements using the site for their own purposes and a homely but smart district attorney who becomes more interested in Theresa than the intrigue, and Theresa has no choice but to hang on tight as she dangles over the abyss.

blunt cover image Book Trailer!

Kirkus (starred review) says: "Black handles multiple plots like a pro, building a story with almost as many layers as the new Cleveland jail."

Booklist says of Blunt Impact:  " An intense plot, knuckle-biting suspense, a likable heroine, and a shock ending make for a thoroughly satisfying read."

Publisher's Weekly reports: "The bond that MacLean forms with Ghost lends human interest and few will guess the killer’s identity before the final desperate confrontation..."

price of 1

The Price of Innocence begins with Theresa and Frank caught in an explosion possibly aimed at a local inventor/entrepreneur, the northeast version of Bill Gates. Ignoring her bruises and forced to relinquish the investigation to the feds, Theresa tries to dive back into normalcy at work only to have a cop assassinated nearly at her feet. These two apparently unrelated cases begin to move closer and closer together as Theresa encounters the unpredictable world of methamphetamine production, an attractive and mysterious man, a circle of new  money and power and a conspiracy of silence going back twenty years—the reach of which she could never have imagined.

Kirkus says: "Once again, Black constructs a puzzle that weaves olds crimes with new, always leaving room for one more twist."

Booklist says of The Price of Innocence:  "Quick pacing, a keep-’em-guessing plot, plenty of dark humor, and a spunky, outspoken, whip-smart heroine make this a must-read for fans of Cornwall and Grafton."

Publisher's Weekly reports: "With only her gut to go on, she—and the reader—scud through a series of devilishly clever blind alleys and red herrings..."

Close to the Bone hits forensic scientist Theresa MacLean where it hurts, bringing death and destruction to the one place where she should feel the most safe—the medical examiner’s office in Cleveland, Ohio, where she has worked for the past fifteen years of her life. Theresa returns in the wee hours after working a routine crime scene, only to find the body of one of her deskmen slowly cooling with the word “Confess” written in his blood. His partner is missing and presumed guilty, but Theresa isn’t so sure. The body count begins to rise but for once these victims aren’t strangers—they are Theresa’s friends and colleagues, and everyone in the building, herself included, has a place on the hit list.


Publisher's Weekly describes Close to the Bone as "intricately plotted" and says "Black, who is a forensic scientist, certainly knows her field."


Kirkus writes: "By releasing surprises little by little, Black manages to fit both a whodunit and a police-chase thriller into a single bagged-and-tagged package."   

close to the bone 1







DefensiveWounds HC Cover for web


"This is a truly 'edge of your seat' mystery with scenes that are full of action and suspense...readers will find this to be a one-day read that they cannot put down." -- Suspense Magazine