Thursday, November 7, 2013

"The Price of Innocence"

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.

The Price of Innocence is Black's latest novel featuring forensic scientist Theresa MacLean. The author applied the Page 69 Test to the new novel and reported the following:
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, named Bruce Lambert. 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.

On Page 69 of the book, a second explosion has just occurred at the factory/proving ground of the billionaire genius, and once again Theresa has just barely escaped serious injury--but she had been present only for a completely un-job-related reason: she and the billionaire are both alums of Cleveland State University and he had been hosting a small alumni reception and tour. This minor detail forms the loose connection between Theresa, Lambert, and the mysterious David Madison.

Page 69 is illustrative of the book as a whole because it shows Theresa in typical action--doing all that needs to be done, efficiently, professionally, while putting her own feelings and worries aside until she has the time and freedom to deal with them.
‘You almost got blown up for the second time this week?’ Frank demanded.

‘It sounds bad when you say it like that.’ She had been all right until now, calling the lab, retrieving her camera to take photos of the charred storage closet outside the fishbowl workroom, helping the EMT move a badly burned technician and forbidding him to move the engineer he pronounced dead, trapped beneath one of the overturned robots – they were much larger up close – all the while trying not to ponder why the area she had been in only ten minutes beforehand had turned into a smoking hole.

But now the tremor in her cousin’s voice made her realize that neither one of them had even begun to deal with the close call they’d had at the Bingham building. She had grown accustomed to the physical threats of the job, and mostly of Frank’s job, by not thinking about it – after all, there was little she could do to control it. But clearly that would not be sufficient, not for this round.
Not to mention that a few lines before, she discovers an important clue--that the explosive used is the same as the compound used in the first explosion. Its roots go back even further, to her alma mater and David Madison’s tenure there--which will become more significant to her life, and safety, than she would ever have dreamed possible.
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa Black's website.

--Marshal Zeringue