Thursday, March 28, 2013

"Blunt Impact"

Lisa Black spent the five happiest years of her life in a morgue. As a forensic scientist in the Cleveland coroner’s office she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes. Now she’s a certified latent print examiner and CSI for the Cape Coral Police Department. Her books have been translated into six languages. Evidence of Murder reached the New York Times mass market bestseller’s list.

Blunt Impact, Black's latest novel featuring forensic scientist Theresa MacLean, debuts on April 1st. The author applied the Page 69 Test to the new novel and reported the following:
Blunt Impact is the story of a series of murders at a skyscraper under construction, beginning as young, sexy concrete worker Samantha is thrown from the 23rd floor. The only witness is her 11-year old daughter Anna, nicknamed Ghost. Ghost is determined to find her mother’s killer, and forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is determined to keep Ghost safe.

However, page 69 doesn’t tell you about any of that. On page 69 none of my main characters appear, not Theresa, nor her first cousin, homicide detective Frank Patrick, nor the homely prosecutor Ian Bauer who develops more interest in Theresa than he does in the murder. No, page 69 belongs to low-level criminal Damon, who has, we believe, nothing to do with the murders of the construction workers. Damon has been assigned to the job site, along with his partner Boonie, for a much more practical reason: they are systematically stealing the expensive copper piping designed for use in the new building. On page 69 he is transporting another load to an abandoned motel pressed into service as a free you-store-it facility.

Damon and Boonie work, not for the construction foreman, but for the boss of their quadrant of the city of Cleveland, a portly, deceptively slow-talking man referred to simply as ‘the boss.’ In his very, very careful way Damon likes the man and hopes to learn from him. Also, though he knows better than to admit it to any of his friends or colleagues, he kind of likes the honest labor of construction work. After all his usual occupation, that of drug dealer, can be quite stressful.

But on page 69 they also touch on the controversy surrounding the new building—it is a jail with a radical new design. Believing that the biggest danger to prison inmates is other inmates, the designers have made each cell solitary, with a small outside area and built-in television and academic-themed computer system. The idea is that each inmate will have enough room for study and exercise without having to leave their cell and therefore encounter other, possibly hostile, inmates. Is this putting humans in a kennel? Or is it making them safe so that they can stop spending every minute guarding themselves and get on with the business of rehabilitation? The boss knows what he thinks. Damon isn’t so sure.

None of this, however, tell us who killed Sam—or who’s after Ghost.
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa Black's website.

Writers Read: Lisa Black.

My Book, The Movie: Blunt Impact.

--Marshal Zeringue