UNKNOWN MEANS by Elizabeth Becka


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A forensic analyst is steamrolled by what looks like rush hour for violent death in greater Cleveland.

Heiress photojournalist-turned-philanthropist Grace Markham’s wealth bought her an ultra-secure penthouse in an ultra-private building, but it couldn’t shield her from the man who strangled her and carefully posed her body before leaving with scarcely a trace. The only physical evidence Evelyn James, of the Medical Examiner’s Trace Evidence Department, finds on the scene is a smear of grease, a line of some waxy substance and, rather providentially, the killer’s DNA. But the manner of Grace’s death links it to the very similar murder of Lakewood socialite Frances Duarte and the not-quite-fatal attack on Evelyn’s best friend, Marissa Gonzalez, who had the misfortune to live in Grace’s building. Mysteries abound. How did the murderer bypass the elaborate security measures at Grace’s apartment, and how did he make his escape? Even more teasingly, what do his many assaults—there are more—have to do with the loss of seven workers in a salt-mine explosion deep under Lake Erie? With a little help from her cop lover and an army of other specialists, Evelyn (Trace Evidence, 2005) tracks down the killer and ties up most, though not all, of the loose ends.

Fashionable forensics, sound procedural work and a likable and believable heroine. Very reminiscent of Patricia Cornwell’s early novels, before she went off the deep end and started sending Scarpetta against monsters in human form.

Pub Date: Feb. 5th, 2008
ISBN: 978-1-4013-0175-0
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Hyperion
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1st, 2007