Lisa Black books in order
Lisa Black is an American forensic scientist and New York Times bestselling author of mystery, thriller and crime fiction novels.
She is best known for writing the acclaimed Theresa MacLean Series, as well as the Gardiner and Renner and Locard Institute Series.
Lisa also writes crime fiction novels under the pseudonym Elizabeth Becka.
After working for a decade as a secretary, Lisa returned to school and acquired a Bachelor's degree in Biology from Cleveland State University before working as a forensic scientist at the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office.
Now a resident of Florida, having moved there with her husband, Lisa works as a latent print examiner for Florida's Cape Coral Police Department.
A member of Sisters In Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and International Thriller Writers, Lisa has lectured at writer's conventions and appeared on panels.
Given her profession as a forensic specialist, she is also a member of the American Academy of Forensic Scientists, the International Association for Identification, and the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts.
Lisa has over 1050 hours of instruction in forensic topics and has testified in court over 65 times.
Passionate about what she does, she is quick to admit that the most memorable five years of her life were actually spent in a morgue.
Genres: Crime Suspense, Mystery, Thriller
Pseudonym: Also known as Elizabeth Becka
Gardiner and Renner
- That Darkness (2016)
- Unpunished (2017)
- Perish (2018)
- Suffer the Children (2018)
- Let Justice Descend (2019)
- Every Kind of Wicked (2020)
- Red Flags (2022)
- What Harms You (2023)
- Takeover (2008)
- Evidence of Murder (2009)
- Trail of Blood (2010)
- Defensive Wounds (2011)
- Blunt Impact (2013)
- The Price of Innocence (2013)
- Close to the Bone (2014)
Detailed book overview
Gardiner and Renner
For Cleveland forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner, dead bodies are part of the job. It’s the mind of a killer that keeps her awake at night...
As a forensic investigator for the Cleveland Police Department, Maggie Gardiner has seen her share of Jane Does. The latest is an unidentified female in her early teens, discovered in a local cemetery. More shocking than the girl’s injuries—for Maggie at least—is the fact that no one has reported her missing. She and the detectives assigned to the case (including her cop ex-husband) are determined to follow every lead, run down every scrap of evidence. But the monster they seek is watching every move, closer to them than they could possibly imagine.
Jack Renner is a killer. He doesn’t murder because he enjoys it, or because he believes himself omnipotent, or for any reason other than to make the world a safer place. When he follows the trail of this Jane Doe to a locked room in a small apartment where eighteen teenaged girls are anything but safe, he knows something must be done. But his pursuit of their captor takes an unexpected turn.
Maggie Gardiner finds another body waiting for her in the autopsy room—and a host of questions that will challenge everything she believes about justice, morality, and the true nature of evil . . .
When it comes to the dead, forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner has seen it all. But detective Jack Renner knows there are always more ways to die...
The Cleveland Herald is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. A dead body found hanging above the newspaper’s assembly line is a surefire way to stop the presses. Forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner rules out suicide. The evidence tells her a murderer is implementing a staff cut—and the killing is far from over.
Homicide detective Jack Renner believes in justice—by any means necessary. If killing is what it takes, he won’t let the law get in his way. It’s just too bad Maggie knows his secrets. As the body count rises, Maggie has no choice but to put her trust in the one person she can never trust.
Forensic investigator Maggie Gardiner always follows the rules. Detective Jack Renner doesn’t believe in them...
In a mansion on the outskirts of Cleveland, a woman’s body lies in a pool of blood. The victim is Joanna Moorehouse, founder of Sterling Financial. To crack the case, Maggie and Jack will have to infiltrate the cutthroat world of high-stakes finance. But every employee at Sterling Financial is hellbent on making a killing.
When a series of unrelated murders reveals disturbing evidence, only Maggie recognizes the handiwork of a killer who will continue killing until he is stopped. Burdened with unbearable secrets, Maggie must make an agonizing choice, while her instincts keep telling her: she’s next.
Maggie Gardiner, forensics expert for the Cleveland police department, and Jack Renner, a homicide detective with a killer secret, confront the darkest threat yet to their careers—and their lives.
The body of fifteen-year-old Rachael Donahue—raised in foster homes and violently unapproachable—has been discovered at the bottom of a stairwell at Firebird, the secure facility for juvenile offenders. The girl’s death comes with a disturbing twist—she may have been involved with a much older man. But Rachael’s not the only resident to come to a dead end.
Firebird’s ten-year-old “wild child” has overdosed in the infirmary—back-to-back tragedies that appear to be terrible accidents. But Maggie and Jack suspect a cold-blooded murderer with an agenda. And as Maggie’s ex-husband gets nearer to uncovering secrets that Maggie and Jack must hide, it becomes increasingly hard for them to protect a new and vulnerable victim...
Forensics expert Maggie Gardiner and Cleveland detective Jack Renner believe in delivering justice. One follows the rules. The other follows a darker path...
Three days before a key election, U.S. Senator Diane Cragin is electrocuted on her own doorstep—a shocking twist in an already brutal political race. The obvious culprit is Cragin’s rival Joey Green, a city official who’s had his hand in every till in town for the past twenty years. But after discovering a fortune in cash in Cragin’s safe, Maggie and Jack suspect they’ve stepped into a much bigger conspiracy—and they’d better watch their backs.
Dogged by a reporter on the verge of discovering the truth about Jack’s deadly brand of justice, Maggie and Jack plow through a city seething with corruption. As one murder leads to another, and another, their only chance to stop a killer requires trusting each other. Easier said than done...
The discovery of a young man’s corpse leads forensics expert Maggie Gardiner and Cleveland detective Jack Renner into a dark and dangerous web of lies...
Life and death have brought Maggie Gardiner full circle, back to the Erie Street Cemetery where she first entered Jack Renner’s orbit. Eight months ago, she learned what Jack would do in the name of justice. More unsettling still, she discovered how far she would go to cover his tracks. Now a young man sprawls atop a snowy grave, his heart shredded by a single wound. A key card in the victim’s wallet leads to the local university’s student housing—and to a grieving girlfriend with an unsettling agenda.
Maggie’s struggle to appease her conscience is complicated by her ex-husband, Rick, who’s convinced that Jack is connected to a series of vigilante killings. Also a homicide detective, Rick investigates what seems like a routine overdose on Cleveland’s West Side; but here, too, the appearance belies a deeper truth.
Rick’s case and Jack’s merge onto the trail of a shadowy, pill-pushing physician who is everywhere and nowhere at once, while Maggie and Jack uncover a massive financial shakedown hiding in plain sight. And when Rick’s bloody fingerprint is found at another murder scene, Maggie’s world comes undone in a violent, irreversible torrent of events...
When D.C. crime scene analyst Dr. Ellie Carr is called to investigate the heartrending case of a missing baby, she’s shocked to discover that the child’s mother is her own cousin. Close during their impoverished childhoods, Ellie and Rebecca eventually drifted apart. Rebecca is now half of a Washington power couple, and she and her wealthy lobbyist husband, Hunter, have been living a charmed life in an opulent mansion—until their infant son is taken.
“Every contact leaves a trace.” That’s the basic principle of forensic science followed by pathologist Dr. Rachael Davies. A reluctant Ellie is teamed with Rachael, employed by Hunter to help with the investigation. Rachael is assistant dean at the prestigious Locard Forensic Institute, named in honor of the French criminologist who inspired the profession. But in this case, discovering where those traces lead quickly becomes a dangerous journey through a web of greed and deadly ambition.
At first antagonists, then allies, Ellie and Rachael race to find the baby alive and bring the kidnappers to justice. What seemed like a simple ransom grab reveals links to a lobbying effort to loosen regulations on a billion-dollar gaming empire. Unless they can piece together the evidence before the Senate hearing, Rebecca’s son—and others like him—will face an unthinkable fate…
The Locard Institute is a state-of-the-art forensic research center where experts from around the world come together to confront and solve the world’s most challenging and perplexing crimes.
When Dr. Ellie Carr arrives for her first day as an instructor at the prestigious facility, the buildings glimmer amid the brilliant fall foliage on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay. But within hours a colleague, Dr. Barbara Wright, is found dead on the floor of a supply closet. Her death appears to be an accident—but Ellie and her new supervisor, Dr. Rachael Davies, suspect a more sinister explanation.
A young woman attending a professional training program then disappears, only to be found in a gruesome tableau. Other than their link to the Institute, there seems to be no connection between the student and Dr. Wright. Although forensic traces are elusive, Ellie and Rachael are determined to find the bizarre link between the violent and diverse deaths.
As reporters shatter the privacy of Ellie’s new workplace, she searches old files and finds evidence of a crime that feels much too personal. But who, among those dedicated to justice, could be the threat? No matter how skilled she and Rachael may be in uncovering the truth, they may not be able to prevent a well-schooled killer from striking again.
Early one Thursday morning, forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is called to the scene of a gruesome murder. The body of a man has been found on the front lawn of a house in suburban Cleveland, the back of his head bashed in. Although it's not the best start to her day, Theresa has been through worse. What unfolds during the next eight hours, though, is nothing she could ever have imagined.
Downtown at the Federal Reserve Bank, her police detective fiancé is taken hostage with six others in a robbery masterminded by two clever criminals. When she arrives at the scene, Theresa discovers that the police have brought in the city's best hostage negotiator: handsome, high-profile Chris Cavanaugh. He hasn't lost a victim yet, but Theresa wonders if he might be too arrogant to save the day this time around.
When her fiancé is injured, she seizes the opportunity to trade places with him. Once on the inside, she will use all her wiles, experience, and technical skills to gain control of the situation. But what initially appears to be a bank heist turns into something far more complex and deadly, and Theresa must decide how much more she is willing to sacrifice in order to save the lives of innocent people as well as her own.
Eight months ago, forensic investigator Theresa MacLean lost her fiance in a bank robbery gone wrong, and she's had trouble concentrating on her work ever since. But now a particularly difficult case may just be what she needs to regain her focus by demanding all her skill, intelligence, and attention.
Jillian Perry has been found dead in the woods, leaving behind a husband of three weeks and a young daughter. The police can't determine how she died - her body shows no visible marks, and the autopsy reveals nothing suspicious - and the leading theory is that she purposely wandered into the forest and succumbed to the freezing weather. But something doesn't feel right to Theresa, and she can't let it go.
To complicate matters, a former boyfriend of Jillian's unexpectedly petitions for custody of the daughter. Obsessed with Jillian, he also suspects foul play in Jillian's death, and now he and Theresa believe Jillian's daughter may be in danger of meeting a similar fate. With a child's life at stake, Theresa must search for evidence of murder - evidence that doesn't seem to exist - before it's too late.
Seventy-five years ago, a madman nicknamed the Torso Killer terrorized Cleveland. His horrific spree lasted four years and crisscrossed the entire city. Overall, he was credited with more than a dozen murders. And he was never caught.
Today, forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is called to an abandoned building where a desiccated, decapitated body has been found in a room that's been sealed off for years. Although there's no immediate proof, everyone assumes the same thing: that the newly discovered corpse was a Torso Killer victim. The body has decayed beyond recognition, leaving few forensic clues, but Theresa sees this as an opportunity to shed some light on a big piece of Cleveland's past that until now has been shrouded in mystery.
But then another body - this one recently deceased - turns up, and all signs at the scene seem to indicate the work of a new Torso Killer. Suddenly, Theresa's investigation takes on a whole new meaning. Her examination of the old body has opened a door to the past - a door someone wanted to keep closed - and she shifts her focus from solving a historical puzzle to catching a very dangerous, present-day psychopath.
But as the body count rises, Theresa finds herself nearer to danger than she ever imagined. For the killer is keeping a watchful eye on Theresa, and she begins to feel his presence everywhere. Each step brings them closer and closer to each other - at one point separated by no more than a speeding train in a railroad switchyard - as Theresa scours the city in her hunt for a murderous lunatic intent on reliving a terrifying past.
When Marie Corrigan, a Cleveland defense attorney with a history of falsifying evidence and no shortage of enemies, is found dead in the presidential suite at the Ritz-Carlton, most people would agree that she had it coming.
Forensic investigator Theresa MacLean is summoned to the crime scene by her daughter, Rachel, who is working the front desk. But even before Theresa enters the room, she knows that she's walking into a forensic nightmare - for crime scenes at hotels, even the most luxurious, are teeming with trace evidence that has been left behind by innumerable guests and may or may not be related to the murder. But what Theresa finds is even worse than she imagined.
Given the positioning of Marie's body, everyone assumes the same thing - that it's a lovers' tryst turned lethal. But large questions remain: How did the killer gain access to the room without anyone's knowledge? And has the scene been staged for their benefit? The little evidence Theresa has is conflicting at best. What's more, a legal convention at the hotel provides an endless list of suspects - and potential victims.
When two more bodies show up in quick succession, each in a similar state, Theresa's investigation takes on a whole new urgency as she fears they may have a serial killer on their hands - a serial killer with a vendetta. But as she searches for the threads that tie the cases together, Theresa begins to suspect that she and her daughter are closer to danger than they realize. And a mother will stop at nothing to protect the life of her child.
Forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is puzzled by the questionable death of a female construction worker at a Cleveland building site. A witness to the death—a young girl nicknamed Ghost—may be able to help. Ghost says the woman was pushed by someone she can only identify as the Shadow Man. Soon Theresa finds herself in a race against time to protect Ghost from an unknown killer before he is able to find the little girl and silence her for good.
Called out to investigate a suspected suicide in a luxury high-rise apartment, forensic scientist Theresa MacLean only just escapes with her life when the building is blown to smithereens. An accident – or something more sinister? A mostly empty block of trendy apartments in downtown Cleveland seems an unlikely terrorist target.
The following day, Theresa is examining another suspected suicide in a wealthy neighborhood when the cop accompanying her is shot dead by an unseen assailant. Could the two events be connected?
As Theresa painstakingly pieces the clues she uncovers evidence of a dark secret in the murdered cop’s past.
Forensic scientist Theresa MacLean stumbles across a murder rather too close for comfort when she returns to the Medical Examiner’s office following a late-night call to find one deskman missing and the other beaten to death. Written in blood above the dead man’s head is a single word: ‘Confess’.
It’s the first time a homicide has taken place actually within the ME’s office. Medical Examiner Stone works on how to spin the news while Theresa works the scene.
When a second victim is discovered, Theresa uncovers a link to the death of another co-worker, records secretary Diane Allman, who was murdered in her own home ten years before. As she painstakingly pieces the clues together, Theresa realizes that she has become an integral part of a ruthless killer’s murderous agenda. And if she is to survive, she must find out what really happened to Diane all those years ago.