At the start of Black’s middling fifth mystery featuring forensic specialist Theresa MacLean (after 2011’s Defensive Wounds), MacLean joins her homicide detective cousin, Frank Patrick, at a downtown Cleveland, Ohio, construction site where a cement worker has fallen from the top of what will be a high-rise prison. Between two dumpsters near the body, MacLean finds a scared little girl covered in blood. The girl, called Ghost, turns out to be the 11-year-old daughter of the unmarried victim, identified as 29-year-old Samantha Zebrowski. The girl says that “a shadow” pushed her mother off the unfinished building. The tension rises as MacLean and Patrick follow false trails while the killer stalks Ghost, the sole witness to the crime. The bond that MacLean forms with Ghost lends human interest and few will guess the killer’s identity before the final desperate confrontation, but stock characters and too many coincidences make this a lesser entry in the series. Agent: Vicky Bijur, Vicky Bijur Literary Agency. (May)
From the Publisher
"An intense plot, knuckle-biting suspense, a likeable heroine, and a shock ending make for a thoroughly satisfying read."
Booklist on Blunt Impact
“The bond that MacLean forms with Ghost lends human interest and few will guess the killer’s identity before the final desperate confrontation”
Publishers Weekly on Blunt Impact
“Black handles multiple plots like a pro, building a story with almost as many layers as the new Cleveland jail.”
***Kirkus Reviews on Blunt Impact
Forensic detective Theresa MacLean (Trail of Blood, 2010, etc.) takes the risk of getting too close to a murder victim's daughter. A construction site is a dangerous place for anyone, much less a woman who's had a little much to drink. So at first blush, it looks as if Samantha Zebrowski just fell from the 23rd floor of what's slated to become Cuyahoga County's new jail. But Samantha has been finishing concrete since she was 14. How could such an experienced worker ignore OSHA regulations and stray past the 10-foot safety zone? Theresa's leading theory is suicide, not an unlikely scenario for a single mom living with a wheelchair-bound mother and an 11-year-old. But Samantha's daughter Anna, known as Ghost, claims to have followed her mother on her barhopping tour that night and saw someone push her over the edge. True to her name, Ghost slips out of her Nana's house the next day and shows up at the medical examiner's office wanting to help Theresa find the "Shadow Man" who was with Samantha the night of her death. Theresa dries Ghost's tears and promises her that she and her cousin, homicide detective Frank Patrick, will find Samantha's killer. The next day, while lunching with prosecutor Ian Bauer, she sees the little girl showing her mother's picture to the bartender at Tavern on the Green. Fearful that the Shadow Man will try to eliminate Ghost before she can identify him, Theresa redoubles her efforts to bring Samantha's killer to swift justice. Black handles multiple plots like a pro, building a story with almost as many layers as the new Cleveland jail.