Lisa Black
February 29, 2024

Lisa Black’s books have reached the NYT bestsellers list, been translated into six languages and have been optioned for film. Perish was shortlisted for the inaugural Sue Grafton Memorial Award by Putnam and Mystery Writers of America. Lisa will be a Guest of Honor at 2021 Killer Nashville.

She is a certified crime scene analyst in Florida and a former forensic scientist for the Cleveland coroner’s office. She is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, the International Association for Identification, and the International Association of Bloodstain Pattern Analysts, and has testified in more than fifty homicide trials.

She still aspires to drive Nancy Drew’s convertible and marry Ellery Queen.

Interview by Elise Cooper

Q: Can you share the inspiration behind your story’s concept?

Lisa: Throughout the series readers will discover more of Ellie’s history that is relevant to what is happening. This story popped into my head as I was thinking about defense contracting and the Laci Peterson case. I describe it as the Laci Peterson case if her father was Bill Gates, although I never worked on it. I did watch a documentary about it.


Q: How do you decide when to focus on Ellie or Rachel within your narratives?

Lisa: I want both in the story. It depends on what needs to be done because their expertise is in different areas. It depends on what they are investigating. If it deals with pathology and anatomy Rachel will be featured more, but if it is about fingerprints then Ellie will be featured. It depends on what is called for with the investigation.


Q: In your stories, how significant are the elements of deception, detection, and body language to forensic analysis?

Lisa: Not really, it was what a detective does. But a class was offered for the police officers in detection and deception. I was allowed to attend it. It was a two-day class which I found interesting. I got a lot of ideas for this story. For example, what was told about people’s feet. I put a scene in about it. People know that they should cover their faces, but a person’s feet can betray them. There must be a baseline that should be interpreted.


Q: Does your current residence in Florida influence the setting of your story?

Lisa: I live in Florida now. I have accepted the move he wanted to make, but still would rather have stayed where I was because I loved Cleveland where my job and family are. I wanted to present how I felt when I first came here. It was a shock. I hoped to have a little fun presenting an outsider’s view of Florida. There are hurricanes, and in summer it is hotter than heck and very humid. Florida has two seasons, raining season and not raining season.


Q: What was the inspiration behind the inclusion of boat scenes in your story?

Lisa: When I was a child in Lake Erie, we had a boat, so I am comfortable around boats. I love boats. This was also inspired by the Laci Peterson case because they think the husband dumped her body in the water.


Q: Could you elaborate on the forensic details regarding bodies in water within your narrative?

Lisa: Yes, being in the water changes a body. The way it decomposes and what happens to it after death. A body is affected greatly after being submerged. This helped me to keep the mystery going.


Q: Is the depiction of the father’s dead wife akin to a holographic presence?

Lisa: No. I was basing it on smart phones, Alexa, and Siri, all the artificial types. He just gave it his wife’s name so when he asked a question he referred to her name.


Q: How would you characterize Ellie in your stories?

Lisa: Someone who wants to fit in, committed, athletic, and does not handle change very well. She does have insomnia. Having to move around a lot as a child has made her a little insecure. Having her adjust to new living situations made her crave stability. She was always raised by aunts, uncles, and cousins.


Q: Can you describe Greg, one of your characters, for us?

Lisa: Energetic, amiable, rich, shallow, and arrogant. Picture a spoiled frat boy. He is used to women giving him what he wants because he is cute and the rest of the world giving him what he wants because he is rich. He was born rich.


Q: What can readers expect from your next book?

Lisa: It is titled Not Who We Expected. The plot has this aging rock star trying to make a comeback. He calls the Locard Institute because of his missing daughter and is very worried after the boyfriend turns up dead.

Review by Elise Cooper

The Deepest Kill by Lisa Black brings back forensic investigators Dr Ellie Carr and Dr Rachael Davies of the Locard Institute.  Once again readers get a glimpse into the forensic world as Black uses her own experiences as a forensic scientist to intertwine information within the riveting plot and readers will not be disappointed. 

Carr and Davies are asked by billionaire Martin Post to investigate his pregnant daughter’s death.  Ashley had taken out her boat into the Florida Gulf, and just disappeared until her body washed ashore.  Both scientists determine that her death was not accidental but murder. Her husband, Greg, is considered the number one suspect. But because Greg, Ashley, and Post were working on a revolutionary defense initiative for the US military, some think that foreign agents might be involved. Thus, FBI agents Michael Tyler and Luis Alvarez are brought into the investigation. 

Also adding to the storyline is the coast setting and the weather that appear as a character. Not to mention that Black gives more details of Ellie’s backstory whose mother died under suspicious circumstances and her death was also ruled drowning.

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