Ex-Ohio forensic scientist
pens ‘Blunt Impact’ thriller
The pace doesn’t slow in Blunt Impact, fifth in Lisa Black’s Cleveland-set series about Theresa MacLean, a forensic scientist in the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office. The previous book, Defensive Wounds, saw Theresa’s daughter employed at a hotel where conventioneers are being murdered. Now Rachael is away at college, leaving Theresa to concentrate on the case of an attractive female cement worker who has fallen to her death at her job site, the construction of a downtown high-rise prison.
Theresa doesn’t think the death is an accident, especially when she finds the victim’s 11-year-old daughter near the scene, huddled in shock and covered with blood.
The girl, called “Ghost” for her habit of wandering the streets of Cleveland at all hours, says she saw the man who pushed her mother off the 23rd floor, but only as a shadow — and he saw Ghost, too. Theresa must protect the girl, who is, thankfully, neither annoyingly precocious nor saccharine sweet.
Because the jail is a public project, there’s plenty of good old-fashioned kickbacks and corruption, with agitators advocating prison reform and thieves to offer a crop of suspects.
Blunt Impact (215 pages, hardcover) is priced at $28.95, but that’s the amount the UK publisher has put on it; online retailers offer discounts.
Lisa Black, who wrote two previous mysteries under her real name, Elizabeth Becka, used to work in the Cleveland coroner’s office and now lives in Florida, where she is a latent print examiner for the Cape Coral Police Department. Under another pen name, Beth Cheylan, she’s re-released two earlier works as e-books for Kindle, and now a third, The Prague Project, is available; it’s the breakneck-paced adventure of an FBI analyst whose search for a mysterious package leads her to a Nazi conspiracy.
Ellie Gardner, whose job is to analyze death patterns, comes across the account of a West Virginia jeweler who’d succumbed to radiation poisoning. On investigating, she learns that the jeweler had received a package from a New York address; the NYPD confirms that the man who sent the package is near death, also from radiation poisoning. Were they terrorists? The trail leads Ellie and a New York counterterrorism officer in a dangerous chase across Europe, in an intense story rich in intrigue and action.
The Prague Project (529KB) costs $3.99 for Kindle.
“White” has great significance in White Out: The Secret Life of Heroin, Michael W. Clune’s memoir of addiction. The drug is white in its purest form, and Clune begins his story in Baltimore, when he was a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University: “That summer the best heroin was sold in little glass vials with white stoppers. White tops.”
Clune analyzes the power of addiction, calling it a “deep memory disease,” the “white out” of his future when he was using and of his past, much of which he cannot remember. He tells of sordid incidents like arriving to teach a class with a vial in his pocket, his eye blackened and blood on his notes, having been punched by a dealer for nonpayment; he told his students he’d overcome a purse snatcher. Clune made some half-hearted attempts at treatment before an arrest for possession and the support of his family helped him get clean about “over a decade ago,” he says.
White Out (272 pages, softcover) costs $14.95 from Hazelden, the Minnesota-based addiction treatment organization. Michael W. Clune earned a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins and is an assistant professor of American Literature at Case Western Reserve University.
Kent State University alumnus Matthew Thayer, now a photojournalist with the Maui News in Hawaii, sends word that he has released Tuscany, the second e-book in his 30,000 B.C. Chronicles action-adventure series. Tuscany follows the first book, Bordeaux.
Thayer describes the action as “Time travelers from the dried-out, over-populated year 2233 are shipwrecked on a wild and flourishing European continent” where they hook up with Cro-Magnons; “Troubles begin when one of the Italian crewmembers introduces advanced warfare and his warped brand of religion to his Cro-Magnon clan.” The e-books, each about 2MB, cost $4.99 for Kindle and Nook.
Writers in Medina
Thursday is the deadline to register for this year’s Writers Live Authors Luncheon sponsored by the Medina County District Library. Jane Turzillo, author of Wicked Women of Northeast Ohio, will be the guest. The luncheon will be held from 11:45 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. April 4 at Weymouth Country Club, 3946 Weymouth Road, Medina; tickets start at $25.
On June 18, Steve Berry, author of historical thrillers like The King’s Deception, will speak at the country club to benefit the Medina County Historical Society; tickets start at $40. Call 330-722-6235 ext. 2933 or see www.mcdl.info.
Dover Public Library (525 N. Walnut St.) — Dominique Moceanu discusses her memoir Off Balance, 7 p.m. Tuesday. Registration requested; call 330-343-6123.
Medina County District Library (210 S. Broadway St.) — Kelley Grealis, author of The Descendant, talks to the Teen Writers Guild and answers questions, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Wednesday. Registration required; call 330-725-0588.
James M. Salon (3009 Smith Road, Fairlawn) — Barb Frye, author of Stop Wishing for the Life You Don’t Have; Start Living the Life You Do, her memoir of life after a car accident when she was 18, talks about and signs her book from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday.
Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library (3512 Darrow Road, Stow) — Author Bill Rapp, who was stationed in Berlin with the U.S. Foreign Service when the Berlin Wall came down, talks about his experiences and signs his books, including Berlin Breakdown and A Pale Rain, 7 p.m. Tuesday. Registration requested; call 330-688-3295 ext. 4.
Cuyahoga County Public Library (Independence branch, 6361 Selig Dr.) — James Badal, author of Twilight of Innocence: The Disappearance of Beverly Potts, talks about the mysterious 1951 case of the 10-year-old Cleveland girl who never returned from a neighborhood park, 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday. Registration required; call 216-447-0160.
John S. Knight Center (77 E. Mill St., Akron) — The 31st Akron Antiquarian Book Fair offers more than 35 dealers and an exhibit of altered book art, 3 to 8:30 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Admission $5; free to hear talks by expert speakers. See the schedule at http://nobs.nobsweb.org.
— Barbara McIntyre
Special to the Beacon Journal
Send information about books of local interest to Lynne Sherwin, Features Department, Akron Beacon Journal, P.O. Box 640, Akron, OH 44309 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.