Forensic investigator hunts?for killer in ‘That Darkness’

The twists in a mystery or thriller usually happen at the end, with the exposure of the murderer. Lisa Black’s new Cleveland-set novel That Darkness reveals the twist near the beginning, but that makes the suspense no less gripping.

After seven novels about Theresa MacLain, a forensic scientist in the Cuyahoga County Medical Examiner’s Office, Black is launching a new series with two main characters. Maggie Gardiner is a forensic investigator for the Cleveland Police Department. Theresa’s and Maggie’s jobs are similar (fingerprint analysis, trace evidence examination), but we know far less about Maggie. She’s divorced, lives downtown and has taken to walking at night, from the Terminal Tower around and around Public Square.

Jack Renner, the other character, is an unusual killer. He isn’t a killer of opportunity. He calls his victims “clients,” and they are carefully chosen. He brings them into his ersatz office for a chat, gives them drinks and a nice dinner, and shoots them execution-style. He is mindful of the time that police will spend investigating his crimes.

While Maggie tends to a set of fingertips soaking in jars with the hopes of retrieving prints, Jack knows that she is closing in on identifying him. But he has one more client to see before he can retire.

That Darkness (308 pages, hardcover) costs $25 from Kensington. Lisa Black, who also 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.

Learn history of College of Wooster

An Adventure in Education: The College of Wooster from Howard Lowry to the Twenty-First Century by alumnus Jerrold K. Footlick tells of the formerly obscure college from 1944, when Lowry took over the presidency and “put Wooster on the intellectual map,” through the influx of post-World War II international students. Race relations and social changes affected this small-town campus as much as any other.

The 290-page hardcover costs $34.95 from Kent State University Press.

Events

Hudson Library & Historical Society (96 Library St.) — Paula McLain talks about Circling the Sun, her historical novel about pioneering aviator Beryl Markham, 7 p.m. Tuesday. Register at 330-653-6658.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma Heights branch, 6206 Pearl Road) — James J. Badal, author of Twilight of Innocence: The Disappearance of Beverly Potts, and Mark Wade Stone, producer of the documentary Dusk and Shadow: The Mystery of Beverly Potts, follow up on the strange 1951 case of the missing Cleveland girl, 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Warrensville Heights branch, 4415 Northfield Road) — Nigeria-born Emmanuel Olawale signs his memoir The Flavor of Favor: Quest for the American Dream, 7 to 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Barberton Public Library (602 W. Park Ave.) — Barberton native Kathryn Long talks about her mystery A Deadly Deed Grows, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

Akron-Summit County Public Library (Tallmadge branch, 90 Community Road) — Marty Gitlin talks about his new book A Celebration of Animation: The 100 Greatest Cartoon Characters in Television History, 6:30 p.m. Thursday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma-Snow branch, 2121 Snow Road) — National Book Award winner Nathaniel Philbrick (In the Heart of the Sea) discusses Valiant Ambition: George Washington, Benedict Arnold, and the Fate of the American Revolution, 7 p.m. Thursday. Registration required; call 216-661-4140.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (South Euclid-Lyndhurst branch, 1876 South Green Road) — Self-Publishing Roundtable features Emmanuel Olawale, Nathan Phillips (Giving Up is No Option: Your Purpose is Calling) and Irene and Alex Shaland (The Dao of Being Jewish and Other Stories: Seeking Jewish Narrative All Over the World), 7 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday.

Barnes & Noble (4015 Medina Road, Bath Township) — Zack Meisel signs The Ohio State Fans Bucket List and 100 Things Indians Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson) — Former Beacon Journal columnist Steve Love signs The Indomitable Don Plusquellic: How a Controversial Mayor Quarterbacked Akron’s Comeback, 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday.

Barnes & Noble (28801 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere) — Terry Brooks, author of the Sword of Shannara series, signs the latest installment, The Sorcerer’s Daughter: The Defenders of Shannara, 3 p.m. Saturday.

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Garfield Heights branch, 5400 Transportation Boulevard) — James J. Badal and Mark Wade Stone talk about Twilight of Innocence and Dusk and Shadow, 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Urban Eats Café (51 E. Market St., Akron) — D.X. Ferris, author of books about the band Slayer, including Slayer 66?: The Jeff and Dave Years: A Metal Band Biography, launches his comic collection Suburban Metal Dad, with Joanna Wilson, author of The Story of Archie the Talking Snowman and Akron’s History of Christmas Attractions, 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday.

— 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 lsherwin@thebeaconjournal.com. Event notices should be sent at least two weeks in advance.