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Unknown Means (Evelyn James #2)

3.58 of 5 stars 3.58  ·  rating details  ·  172 ratings  ·  35 reviews
In Elizabeth Becka's latest highly suspenseful novel, forensic scientist Evelyn James returns to investigate a harrowing series of crimes--only to find that no one is safe. Evelyn James is a forensic specialist in the Cleveland Medical Examiner's office who's juggling a demanding workload, a teenage daughter from a failed marriage, and a homicide detective boyfriend. And s ...more
ebook, 336 pages
Published February 5th 2008 by Hyperion (first published January 1st 2008)
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(showing 1-30 of 306)
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This is another good installment for the Evelyn James forensic series-albeit the last one after Trace Evidence, before Elizabeth Becka became Lisa Black to write a new series still set in Cleveland. We're so wrapped up into Evelyn's life as a forensic scientist, a single mother of a teenage daughter, and a new love interest in her life, who wants to take it one step further. When she's on a case with many curvy twists and turns and a possible connection to her best friend's attack, it's almost t ...more
Elizabeth Becka's second published forensic novel has been receiving acclaimed reviews - recommending her work as better than those written by Patricia Cornwell and Kathy Reichs. So it is unfortunate that she has been dropped by her publisher. Look for her future titles to be released under her new pen name "Lisa Black". I listened to "Unknown Means" and enjoyed listening to her detailed descriptions of the forensic process.
Evelyn James is a forensic specialist juggling being a mom, having a career, and dealing with her romantic life. She starts investigating a series of rape/murders, and has to find a way the cases connect, despite having almost no evidence to that effect.

The ending came rather more abruptly than I anticipated, somehow, but it was still a page-turner. I look forward to reading more of this author's work.
Dawn Livingston
I'm not leaving a rating because I don't think it would be fair to. I got to about page 50 and decided to give up. Usually I give a book a few more pages to change my mind but I have tons of other books to read so...

The story didn't gel for me in the first 50 pages. The main character had potential but that's all, and the story didn't grab me. Maybe I'm just not in a mystery mood. Oh well, I'm on to the next book. Try this book regardless of my review though because you might actually like it.
Evelyn James is a forensic specialist in the Cleveland Medical Examiner's office who's juggling a demanding workload, a teenage daughter from a failed marriage, and a homicide detective boyfriend. This time around she's called in to investigate what appears to be a locked-room mystery: A wealthy woman is murdered in the penthouse suite of a luxurious, high-security building. The building's intricate surveillance system didn't pick up anything, the entrance wasn't forced, and the victim's husband ...more
Ms. Becka lived in the Cleveland, Ohio area and was formerly with the coroner's office in Cleveland. Having lived in the Cleveland/Akron area all my life, her use of building and places having familiarty made the story seem much more real. Even those places/buildings which had their names changed were recognizable. This book is literally a page-turner, and kept me up a couple nights far longer than I should have been awake....just to see what would happen next. Each unexpected murder in the "ser ...more
This author's first book was very good and this follow up book was just as good. Her Evelyn James character is a forensics specialist with the Cleveland ME's office. Because Becka herself is also a forensic specialist it shows in her writing. Becka's imagination is wonderful how she put the story out these and you the reader is following along knowing as much as Evelyn does and when she does. As the reader you're trying to put all the evidence together and come up with the murderer and why just ...more
Elizabeth Becka/Lisa Black: wonderful! Really enjoying reading these series.
Not bad at all. I enjoyed this book and found it a fast moving read.
c2008. Hmmm - this was picked up from the library by my sister. The cover looked good, the bio looked good, the synopsis looked good, execution - not so good. Too much dialogue - stilted - not sure about the conclusion either. Just didn't enjoy! "It's the little things that tell on us, partner. Always. Like when we interview a suspect - he looks up at the ceiling every time he lies, or he taps his foot when we ask about the drugs. It's the things we don't even know we do." ? second novel syndrom ...more
An excellent entry in the Evelyn James series (set in Cleveland) -- I loved this book! It all starts when a woman is murdered in a high-class condo/penthouse. Did her lying cheating husband do it? Perhaps, but soon there are other murders committed using the same weapon. Do we have a serial killer and why is he or she doing this?

I have to admit that Elizabeth Becka keeps you guessing until the very end -- I was sure that the killer was somebody else!
Crime lab scientist Evelyn James investigates the murder of a wealthy woman from a locked, high-security condominium. Meanwhile, her private life is in turmoil because of the constant struggles with her teenage daughter and a faltering relationship with her detective partner.

Second in a series.
Evelyn James is a likeable, human character with problems like the rest of us.
The Cleveland setting makes it interesting.
Highly recommended.
Lee Ann
This one is a good one, but if elevators freak you out like they do me, it'll give you fits! Go ahead and read it anyway. A murder of a young woman in a high rise has Evelyn investigating. Personal details of Evelyn's everyday life lend authenticity to the character and reveal just how important it is to draw a line between home and her disturbing work.

Also read her Theresa MacLean forensic thrillers under the name Lisa Black.
Good book worth reading.
Good story line. I didn't like the first book of the series, but did enjoy this one. Sometimes there's a bit much detail in the procedures (she's a CSI-type--Trace Evidence), but they sound true. Funny thing is, it's mentioned a couple times about how things are "not like the TV shows"...and what I hear on the CSI-type TV shows is things are "not like the books say".
I enjoyed this book, although I found it to drag in parts (therefore 3 stars and not 4.) Overall, the descriptions of a forensic scientist's job duties were interesting---morbid but interesting. I liked her personal connection to the case--it made it more meaningful. The last couple of chapters were nail-biters....I liked the suspense the author built into it.
Elizabeth Becka wants to be Patricia Cornwell when she grows up...or maybe Kathy Reichs...weird stuff in this one, as in a salt mine below Lake Erie? Who knew? :)

I didn't really care about the characters, but I suspect that was my fault, not EBs.

I might actually read the prequel -- maybe then I'd know the characters.
Pretty good, but I wonder how the ME gets away with doing the Police Depts work by investigating the murder. The main character was hardly ever at her office doing her real job. David (the boyfriend) also pissed me off he came across as such a clingy, suffocating type, "Red Flag" run! Lol.
There are 3 seemingly unrelated attacks on women and forensic specialist Evelyn is investigating. Very good story. I enjoyed the parts about salt mining below the great lakes in Cleveland as well.
Not a bad 2nd book in a what I thought was a series but it would appear that she hasn't written anymore. She has written another series though under the name Lisa Black which I will have a look at.
Jul 18, 2008 Rebecca rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery fans
Not quite as good as her first novel, but it keeps the reader's interest and is full of forensic facts. I admit I'm partial 'cos I've met her, but I think I would've like it even if I hadn't.
Jun 14, 2009 Donna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, Pat M and Sandra G
Recommended to Donna by: Alice K in Kona
Shelves: mystery, fiction
This is a very good mystery. Forensic descriptions are not too graphic, which suits me just fine. The story moves along at a nice pace and keeps you guessing.
May 11, 2008 Joyce rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery Fans
A great forensic mystery that was well plotted, had interesting character development and good twists. I will read her other novels.
Good police procedural. Like the characters and I am familiar with the setting, so that added something. Not as dark as Patricia Cornwall.
Mediocre at (at best) mystery from a forensic scientists point of view. Very little depth to her characters, very predictable.
GREAT BOOK! Very Patricia Cornwall-ish but with a fresh spin. I'll definitely look for more by this author.
Not bad...interesting that it took place in Cleveland and they made references to different places in Ohio.
Enjoyable summer read, but not as engrossing as the said-to-be-similar Kay Scarpetta novels.
Oct 23, 2009 Cindy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Daddy (booked based in Cleveland)
Was a good book, but took me forever to read it. Haven't done much reading lately. Bad me!!
Jane Alexander
Incredible book - kept me in suspense through til the very last page!!!!
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Aka Lisa Black

Elizabeth Becka Lansky is a forensic specialist working with the Cape Coral, Florida, police department. Formerly with the Coroner's Office in Cleveland, Ohio, she has lectured to students and officers, has testified as an expert witness, is a member of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and is certified by the American Board of Criminalistics.
More about Elizabeth Becka...

Other Books in the Series

Evelyn James (2 books)
  • Trace Evidence
Trace Evidence Verletzt : Thriller Trace Evidence

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