Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Review of "Defensive Wounds" [69]

Defensive Wounds: A Novel of Suspense by Lisa Black
William Morrow, ISBN 978-0061989414
September 27, 2011, 352 pages

Marie Corrigan was found dead...naked, hog tied and her head beaten in with a chair. And virtually no one, including many of the police officers at the scene, were very upset. If ever a woman was meant to be killed, it was Marie Corrigan.

A high powered and very successful Cleveland defense attorney, Corrigan was not above playing fast and lose with the facts and the evidence to win her often very guilty clients an acquittal and in the process had made many enemies. So when she is found murdered in the Presidential Suite of the Ritz Carlton hotel during a convention of defense lawyers, the list of suspects is very long.  It was an unrented room and no one can figure how she, or the murderer, got into the room and clues are very lacking. But it is up to forensic investigator Theresa MacLean to start going through the evidence and assist police in finding her killer..even though Theresa had her own run ins with Corrigan and is not exactly mourning her passing. Murder is murder and this is a particularly brutal one.

But then a second lawyer, this one from Atlanta, is found dead in his room, again naked, tied and head bashed in. Then a third, murdered the same way, and police have to wonder if they have some sort of lawyer slaying serial killer on their hands.
And a hotel full of both suspects and potential victims.

Meanwhile, Theresa has a few personal matters to deal with too, including her growing attraction to a cop she is working with. She also some very serious concerns about a young man her daughter is seeing. By coincidence, both the daughter and her new beau work at the Ritz Carlton, in the thick of the goings on. But that also leads to Theresa finding out the boy has a sealed juvenile file, having been acquitted a few years ago of rape and murder. And quess who his lawyer was!
Be sure, Theresa will stop at nothing to protect her daughter.

This is not a terribly complex mystery, as all three of the murders are very similar. The real fun is in all the suspects and there are no lack of those. If I had one complaint, it is that this book is a lot less about what happens than what is said. There are a lot of conversations and almost all our clues...and there are many...will be found there. As I mentioned, Theresa is a forensic investigator and I am a great fan of all things CSI, so watching her work the scenes, looking for evidence, was very interesting. But sadly, what she found never seemed to be of much help in these cases. Maybe realistic, but not that much fun for the reader. I also caught what I though were a few mistakes in the book..a character that was suppose to be one place but then appeared to be in another. I do not like having to go back and check if I or the author made a little mistake.

The murderer was not a huge surprise, but there were a couple of twists I did not see coming, which is always good. It is a pretty well written, quick, fun read that will hold your attention. Theresa is a good character, her relationship with her daughter and her cousin Frank, a Cleveland cop, interesting. This is the fourth book in the series, but have no fear, this one can stand totally on it's own and no need to have read the previous three to enjoy this one.

My thanks to the publisher and Library Thing's Early Reviewer program for providing a copy of this book for review.


  1. Very intriguing and yet ... I, too, love all things CSI .. and I, too, hate back tracking when something feels wrong .. I did that in Marathon Man when it turned out a character I assumed was a woman was actually a man .. I was sure I missed something .. I didnt ..

  2. Great review. Intriguing, but isn't that funny when it turns out to be a bit off?

  3. I saw this one at the library and am glad to know while part of a series, it stands alone.

  4. I love when there are multiple suspects in a mystery. And I bet I would totally miss a mistake in a book like this. I tend to never catch that kind of stuff.

  5. Hi Caite,

    Another new to me author to add to my reading list.

    I like it when there are lots of plots running side by side in a book, but am not so keen if the author then loses track a bt and the edges start to become too blurred.

    That wouldn't put me off giving this book a try, especially if it works as a stand alone novel.

    Thanks for a great review, that swung it for me, becuase despite a few minor blips, I got the impression that you did quite enjoy it.

    Have a great weekend.


  6. Sounds like a good one! Glad you enjoyed it.


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