Trail of Blood: A Novel of Suspense

Trail of Blood: A Novel of Suspense

3.9 88
by Lisa Black

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“Quite simply, one of the best storytellers around.”
—Tess Gerritsen


Murders past and present collide in Trail of Blood, the third riveting crime fiction masterwork by Lisa Black to feature forensic scientist Theresa MacLean. Based on the real-life and still unsolved “Torso Killer” murders that terrified


“Quite simply, one of the best storytellers around.”
—Tess Gerritsen


Murders past and present collide in Trail of Blood, the third riveting crime fiction masterwork by Lisa Black to feature forensic scientist Theresa MacLean. Based on the real-life and still unsolved “Torso Killer” murders that terrified residents of Cleveland, Ohio more than seventy five years ago, Trail of Blood is a masterful forensic thriller from the acclaimed author of Takeover and Evidence of Murder that fans of Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, Jefferson Bass, and Michael Connelly, and, of course, C.S.I., will absolutely adore.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Two parallel serial murder cases 75 years apart drive former forensic scientist Black's compelling if formulaic third crime thriller starring Cleveland forensic scientist Theresa MacLean (after Evidence of Murder). When a mummified corpse turns up in an abandoned warehouse, the police believe the body to be a victim of the 1930s Torso Killer, the real-life perpetrator of Cleveland's first and still unsolved string of gruesome dismemberments. Then a copycat killer strikes. Black shifts between Theresa's Nancy Drewesque reason-defying chase of the present-day killer and the Depression-era pursuit of the original Torso Killer by James Miller, the honest Cleveland cop whose tragic death comes to obsess Theresa. On the personal front, the divorced, recently empty-nested Theresa, edgily nearing 40 a year after her fiancé's death, feels shaky about Chris Cavanaugh, a handsome hostage negotiator. Amid facile stereotypes and unconvincing plot twists, the fast-paced action hurtles to a breathless conclusion. (Sept.)
Associated Press Staff
“Fans of the forensic mysteries “CSI” TV series and Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta novels will enjoy the emphasis on evidence. An amazing read that rivals…the best of the genre.”
Library Journal
When forensic pathologist Theresa MacLean (Evidence of Murder) is called in to examine a slightly mummified corpse, she realizes it's a likely victim of the infamous Torso Killer, a serial murderer never caught despite the bold statements he left all over the train yards of Cleveland. It turns out the victim was a young detective trying to solve the cases. Locally born and bred, with police department lineage, Theresa and her cousin Frank Patrick grew up on tales about the Torso Killer. When a copycat killer starts in, both know they are chasing madness. Black constructs a compelling parallel story of the 1930s investigation with the modern-day pursuit. Readers may figure out the murderers—past and present—before Theresa does, but it's nonetheless a wild ride to the end of the line. VERDICT 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. This third outing for Theresa will appeal to readers of Tess Gerritsen's Rizzoli and Isles series as well as fans of Michael Harvey's The Third Rail.—Teresa L. Jacobsen, Solano Cty. Lib., Fairfield, CA
Kirkus Reviews

Decapitated bodies, one new and one 75 years old, bring an infamous mass murder case to forensic scientist Theresa MacLean.

When a mummified body is found bricked into an abandoned warehouse, police assume he is one of the victims of the Torso killer, a Depression-era mass murderer who terrorized Cleveland—and was never found. But for forensic scientist MacLean, the case has personal implications. Evidence suggests the victim was a cop, as was MacLean's grandfather during that era, when corruption was rampant and Eliot Ness was only beginning to clean house. But just as MacLean starts to follow up on the missing-cop investigation, a new body shows up, also decapitated, with parts of her neck removed. As the bodies pile up, MacLean and her cop cousin Frank have to wonder if the Torso killer has somehow miraculously survived—or passed along his gruesome mission. To MacLean, it's clear the past holds the key, but the present-day terror—as well as political pressure to release the antique murder site—frustrates her investigation. Black (Evidence of Murder, 2009, etc.) 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. The present-day narration is cut by the 1935–'36 saga of detective James Miller. At times, his simpler story, colored by rich history and period police work, threatens to take over. But the two work well together as police procedures past and present match up to reveal the truth behind the horrors haunting Cleveland.

A smart step-by-step thriller.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Theresa MacLean Novels , #3
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640 KB

Meet the Author

Lisa Black is the author of three previous thrillers featuring Theresa MacLean: Trail of Blood, Evidence of Murder, and Takeover. A latent fingerprint examiner and CSI in Florida and a former forensic scientist for the Cleveland coroner's office, she is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and has testified in more than fifty homicide trials. A native of Cleveland, she lives in Cape Coral, Florida.

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Trail of Blood 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 88 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought this book once a long time ago and did not make the connection from the description, but as soon as I read the first page I remembered. This would not have been so bad,but I did it with two of this author' s books. Both were worth a reread. I guess purchasing them twice, I could say they were doubly good. These books are graphic and pretty violent. They remind me of Patricia Cornwell's early books. This series is based on a woman forensic specialist as well and is very believable. No sex or cursing, but lots of gore. Well edited. I only noticed three mistakes in 330 pages. Recommended for readers 18 and up. AD
DAinNY1 More than 1 year ago
The discovery of a mutilated body is connected to a serial killer who caused havoc nearly a century ago. When the same type of mutilation is found on several bodies, it looks like the work of a copy-cat serial killer. The author takes us on a past and present journey that culminates in the identity of the two killers. This book was a thrilling ride that I did not want to get off. The non-stop action kept me turning the pages from the first paragraph to the last sentence. The suspense was so riveting, I didn't know which way I was being led. The back and forth between past and present was well written and I loved how they both meshed together.
reaganFF More than 1 year ago
Being a Clevelander, I really enjoy how specific Lisa Black's Theresa MacLean novels are with regard to Cleveland landmarks. This book references Cleveland's "Torso" serial killer that plagued Cleveland in the 1930s. Those murders are being recreated, and Theresa MacLean must solve the mystery of who is the culprit. I've researched the Torso Murders in the past, and I was very pleased to see how meticulous Ms. Black was with her research; although this is a fictionalized account of the Torso Murders, she takes great pains to bring the past to life and help the reader understand just what was going on during that time in Cleveland. This is by far the best part of the story. The modern-day storyline has good pacing, and while it's a bit incredible at points, is a relatively solid 'whodunit.' While I don't think this is in any way a deep book that would be a good book club choice, it's definitely a good suspense novel. I've already purchased two of her other books for my nook and look forward to future novels from this author.
romancemistress More than 1 year ago
Just as 19th century London had its unsolved Jack the Ripper killings, so, too, did Cleveland, Ohio have a string of horrific and unsolved murders in the 1930s. Labeled the "Torso Killer" because of the remains he left of mutilated corpses, the killer was never found...not even by investigator Eliot Ness! When forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is called in to examine a headless corpse found on a building site, she discovers that the remains are over 70 years old which means it falls into the killing period covered by the infamous serial killer. What follows is a scary investigation which often leads the reader to flinch at Theresa's often reckless attempts to solve the crime. She is an Everywoman trying to raise a teen, considering a new relationship...oh, yeah, and trying to find a murderer who had eluded all attempts in the past to bring him to justice. Flasbacks give us the identity of the dead man, making him a flesh and blood character which lends his murder poignancy. Black's use of an actual historical crime as her jumping off point for this modern crime story gives it extra depth and, as always, Cleveland as a city lends its own character to the book.
Mobad More than 1 year ago
Write is fair at best. The killer is easily exposed within the first few chapters and dances painfully along until the conclusion.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will have you wanting more. I promise you that when you pick up this book you will not want ro set it down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book
Anonymous 7 months ago
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The worst
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If you are into guts and gore read it. I. Liked the concept of duel timelines but I thought I would never finish the book.
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vicats More than 1 year ago
Will continue to read books from this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love to read patterson, cornwell, sandford, coulter, and any other good author. Give me a good book and I will finish it in a couple days, as I did with books 1 & 2 of this series, but give me a book that seems to ramble on with too much detail and I get bored. I skipped half this book and still felt like I didn't miss anything just by reading the last three chapters. I am going to purchase book 4 now in hopes that it measures up to the first and second in this series.
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ScottieBump9795 More than 1 year ago
Great book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Nice jump between now and the 1930s when the original Torso murders in Cleveland occurred.
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