It’s a Mystery: Defensive Wounds, by Lisa Black

Defensive WoundsA plethora of suspects

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A defense attorneys’ conference has invaded the Ritz Carlton, where the young daughter of forensic scientist Theresa MacLean works at check in. In the midst of the conference, a serial killer suddenly decides to act upon the recommendation “First, kill the lawyers.”  Three of them are targeted in quick succession, left naked and trussed up with their heads bashed in, each in a different part of the Ritz. The cops hate all three of the victims, for their skill in springing the very same criminals the police work so hard to put away. While collecting evidence, Theresa is horrified to learn that her daughter’s new love interest, also a hotel employee, was accused three years ago of bludgeoning to death a beautiful female classmate. Because he was acquitted, she can’t convince her to avoid him.

As the plot unfolds, Theresa is constantly worrying about her daughter, and just as constantly learning new information that points to several likely perpetrators, all with ample motive and opportunity. But finding hard evidence to connect any one of them, in a crime scene in which hundreds of people come and go every day, is like searching for the proverbial haystack needle; in this case, however, think fibers and hairs rather than needles. Theresa is an engaging protagonist, one who is smart and diligent, but nevertheless makes mistakes and sometimes finds her personal life intruding into her professional one. This is less a who-dunnit than a forensic procedural, and while it’s possible to foresee who the killer is, there are enough zigs and zags in the end to allow for a few surprises.

NB: This book was sent to me via Goodreads’ First Reads Program. I am happy to be able to provide a favorable review, which is not always the case with books provided to me.

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