Perish by Lisa Black
Kensington Publishing: 1/30/18
eBook review copy; 320 pages
hardcover ISBN-13: 9781496713544
Gardiner and Renner #3
Perish by Lisa Black is a highly recommended police
procedural/thriller and the third in the series featuring forensic
expert Maggie Gardiner and homicide detective Jack Renner.
Joanna Moorehouse, owner and founder of Sterling Financial, is found
brutally murdered in her mansion on the outskirts of Cleveland. Her body
is found stabbed and gutted on the marble floors in the living room.
The pristine home shows no blood trail, no fingerprints, no trace of the
killer's ingress or egress from the murder scene. It also contains few
clues to any personal life of Moorehouse. Is the brutal murder due to a
hatred of Moorehouse, or does it have something to do with her
business? And what about her overseas bank account containing an
unbelievably high balance?
While Maggie is struggling with the lack of trace evidence, Detectives
Jack Renner and Thomas Riley are doing their best to
investigate the murder, and it appears that corrupt practices might
have something to do with it. Moorehouse’s employees at
Sterling Financial are all business. None of the staff were friends
or interacted socially with Moorehouse. The one exception might be
Jeremy Mearan, who was sleeping with her. There other suspects at
Sterling itself, a crooked predatory mortgage lender where everyone is
out to make huge bonuses while ignoring the group of protestors outside
the building. Sterling is also about to be bought out by another
company, so tension is running high at the business.
When another woman is murdered in the identical way, it becomes clear
that more is going on than Maggie or the detectives realize. They need
to find out why these women were murdered and who would benefit from
their demise. It might be tied into the complicated and suspect
practices of subprime lending and
the anticipated resulting credit default by consumers, but would that
be a reason to kill?
Perish features the excellent writing that I expect from Black.
The plot flows smoothly; the descriptions are perfectly captured. The
tension mounts incrementally as the investigation proceeds and more
information is uncovered and clues are followed. Admittedly, the
financial information does become a wee-bit tiring after a while, but it
also provides an education on why the mortgage lending crisis of 2008 occurred and a solid basis for the investigation.
Readers of the series will know the history of Maggie Gardiner and Jack Renner. Although
their background isn't completely explained here, new readers are
provided with enough information to understand that there is a
backstory, and comprehend the significance of their actions, and the
quandary both characters face. It does mean that they will not appear to be quite as well-developed as characters if this is your introduction to them. (I felt the same starting with the second book, Unpunished, but this time I knew some of the backstory and felt more comfortable with the characters.)
The investigation is solid, however, and that will please new and old
fans of the series. I'm looking forward to the next novel featuring Gardiner and Renner, Suffer the Children, as clues in this one point to
some major developments.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy
of Kensington Publishing via Netgalley.