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Trail of Blood: A Novel of Suspense (Theresa MacLean #3)

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3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  671 ratings  ·  106 reviews
Seventy-five years ago, a madman nicknamed the Torso Killer terrorized Cleveland. His horrific spree lasted four years and crisscrossed the entire city. Overall, he was credited with more than a dozen murders. And he was never caught.

Today, forensic scientist Theresa MacLean is called to an abandoned building where a desiccated, decapitated body has been found in a room th
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ebook, 432 pages
Published September 7th 2010 by HarperCollins e-books
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,427)
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Lindig
I like forensic scientists, I do. But in all the books when they venture out of their labs, they all seem to be idiots. They rush off after mad killers; they wander rough areas in the dead of night; they don't tell people where they're going; they conduct their own investigations and the police are forgiving. Right.

Same with Lisa Black's heroine, Theresa. Now, Black really is a forensic scientist and CSI (unlike some writers, such as Cornwell), but her heroine is an idiot (like Kathy Reichs' cha
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Magpie67
A story in the present with a body discovery that takes everyone back to 1935 in Cleveland. Depression, Trains, Hobos, mob, dirty cops and Eliot Ness. Did the detective they found 75 years later stumble onto the serial Torso killer in 1936? Did his gumshoe detective ways get himself killed? His family thought he was a deserter and thus a hard life they had to live. Is the old body giving new light to an old killer? Who has read all the details and decided to bring back the Torso killer? Theresa ...more
Melissa
I was excited to find this book on my doorstep. I love mysteries and am generally fascinated with forensic science. However, this book never grabbed my attention. I am the type of reader that loves a book that coaxes me to stay up all night just until "the next chapter". Unfortunately, with this novel I would read a few pages and put it down until I happen to run across it again while cleaning up the house, with no sense of urgency to get back to the story.

The idea for the dual plots across time
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Robert Beveridge
Lisa Black, Trail of Blood (Morrow, 2010)

Full disclosure: this book was provided me free of charge by Amazon Vine.

The whole time I was reading Trail of Blood, aside from being annoyed with myself that I hadn't done my research and didn't realize I was dropping into a series with book three, I kept pointing out things to myself and saying “you really shouldn't like this book. Look at what Lisa Black is doing here!”. And there wasn't a point where I was ever actually able to refute any of those th
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Cheryl
I liked this book. The mystery surrounding the killings was nice. the way that Theresa's mind works and the way she looks at a case is impressive. She is not easily shoken up by anything. This I liked. She made for a strong female lead. Yet despite the strong presense of Theresa and the grusome killings of the Torso Killer, which were not really that gory, I found the story just alright. I was only after I had gotten almost all the way done and had a third of the story left that I was like what ...more
Donna
Okay, no excuses. I love this series, but it took me almost four months to finish this book. Not sure exactly why. My only answer was that it was slow going and didn't really pick up till the middle end of the book. I love the character of Theresa and I love the fact that she gets to solve a 50+ year old murder, as well as new ones. But all the technical mumbo jumbo, just weighs it down. To me it wasn't as good as the first two books. But it wasn't bad. Might have to wait a few more months befor ...more
Tiffany
I studied forensics for a little bit before finding my true love in microbiology, so when I found a book in the bookstore that had a fellow scientist who actually was in forensics, I got very excited.

Now, I didn't come into the series blind or without knowing that it was an actual series. I read Takeover, liked it for the fictional side of things- then read the second book in the series which left me extremely annoyed with Theresa Maclean's character. Then picked up this one on a whim and read
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Mary
I'm still reading this book but it seems like I've been reading it forever. It's such a slow read, I don't know if I'm going to finish it. It's a good story but unlike the other reviews, I feel there's something wrong here but I can't put my finger on it. Perhaps it's because it doesn't flow for me. I like the story but I'm just not engaged.
Minty McBunny
I accidentally read book 6 in this series first, and I loved it. So I started back at the beginning and was not thrilled with the first books. If I hadn't known the series got better, I probably wouldn't have continued with it. But I did, so I did and in this book, my perseverance paid off. I really enjoyed both storylines, I felt like there was a little bit of a problem getting them to mesh, but it was minor and on the whole o enjoyed this book a great deal more than the previous two. I like Te ...more
Paul Pessolano
"Trail of Blood" is unusual in that it takes an actual serial murder and weaves these events to a fictitious modern day serial murder. The actual serial murder took place in Cleveland, Ohio, New Castle, Pennsylvania, and Youngstown, Ohio. These murders were known as the "Murders of the Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run". The murderer was known as the "Torso Killer". The name was due to his decapitating his victims and dismembering them. The Torso Killer terrorized the Cleveland area over a span of fo ...more
Nicola Mansfield
Reason for Reading: The publisher's summary grabbed me on this one and I just had to read it.

This is a fantastic serial killer thriller! What makes it even more thrilling is that is combines a true unsolved case from the 1930's, The Torso Killer, with a modern case of someone who is exactly duplicating that psycho's 12 (proven) murders consecutively over the next 12 days. This was a fabulous read! The narrative switches between the present case on which Theresa and her cousin Frank are working w
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Linda
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sandy
It’s a trip back in time to solve a murder only now that the case has come to light there is a copy cat murderer who has decided that they would like a piece of the action. As the story unfolds, a string of murders are now being committed around town and is this the same killer who has killed before or is it someone else who is striving for attention? Theresa must piece together a murder which occurred in 1935 by using her forensic methods while at the same time find any ties to the murders, if ...more
Sandie
Whether your forte is historical fiction or the true crime genre, TRAIL OF BLOOD by Lisa Black should appeal to you. Ms. Black has assiduously researched actual murders committed in the Cleveland area during the 1920’s and 30’s by a perpetrator known as THE TORSO KILLER, a madman who decapitated and mutilated his victims before dumping their bodies, and has inter-woven those unsolved crimes into her tale of a grisly modern day serial killer. Our modern day culprit appears to be mirroring the 70 ...more
Lee Ann
This one is particularly good because it uses an actual unsolved case of an historical serial killer - the Torso killer - as background. Chilling and especially moving when we get some backstory on the person whose body is found at the beginning of the case. But this one is also filled with "oh no, she didn't!" moments when Theresa does things that the reader screams at her for...she really needs a watchdog for her own protection! I'm just looking out for you, girlfriend!

London had Jack the Ripp
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Min
Part true crime and part fiction, this book was drew from two genres that I generally enjoy.

The true crime part came in as the author drew from the Torso Killer crimes that took place largely in the Cleveland area in the 1930s. The serial killer was never caught, and the killings took place amidst a backdrop of police corruption.

In modern times, our protagonist Theresa MacLean, a forensic scientist, gets called to a crime scene in which she examines a decapitated body. The police officers at the
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ChickenReads
I picked this book up while on a cruise, not knowing it was book 3. That being said, I had very little problem jumping into the world of Theresa MacLean.

Theresa is investigating a set of present day murders that seem to copy cat the Torso Killer murders from the cleveland area in the 1930s. This investigation leads her closer and closer to solving not only the present day murders, but also the cold case.

What initially interested me about this book was the serial murder it covered. Even as a bit
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Juju
Als die Forensikerin Theresa MacLean in ein verlassenes Haus gerufen wird, findet sie eine 75 Jahre alte, geköpfte Leiche vor. Der Mord deutet stark auf den Torso-Mörder aus den 30er Jahren, der ganz Cleveland in Angst und Schrecken versetzte, und weckt ihren Ermittlerinstinkt, denn der Mörder wurde nie gefasst. Nur kurze Zeit später findet sich eine weitere Leiche, die zu dem Torso-Mörder passt, doch diese ist jung und frisch. Eines ist Theresa sofort klar: Sie müssen ihn schnell fassen, denn ...more
Katharina
Zum Buch: „Flammenbraut“ von Lisa Black ist ein Thriller, der am 20.05.2013 bei Blanvalet erschienen ist. Zu beziehen z.B. hier: http://www.amazon.de/o/ASIN/344238079...

Klappentext: Die Ermittlerin Theresa MacLean wird in ein verlassenes Wohnhaus gerufen. Bei Abbrucharbeiten ist man auf einen geköpften Körper gestoßen. Theresas Ermittlerinstinkt ist sofort geweckt, denn die Leiche trägt die Handschrift eines berüchtigten Mörders. Jahrzehnte zuvor versetzte er ganz Cleveland in Angst und Schreck
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Jennifer Jowsey
2.5 stars maybe, but not good enough to push it to 3. The middle of this book really dragged. It's my second Lisa Black novel, and I guess I ended up disappointed, just like the last one. The main character is kind of annoying, kind of bland, and the descriptions of the forensics are more just a few equipment words than something interesting. Unless I missed something (which I just may have, as I got to the point of just wanting to get this book over with), there is a big plot hole that the auth ...more
Juliet
A little slow moving but a great storyline. Mixing true crime with fiction made for a great read. The main character, in the fashion of human beings, makes a move so stupid the reader can barely restrain themselves from reaching into fictitious world and giving her an earful. In the wake of reading Evidence of Murder, I loved this installment in the series.
Teresa in Ohio
If not for a stupid move by the main character I would give it 5 stars. This is set in my hometown and the author stays very true to the setting of the city and the mystery is very detailed in history of this town and the current killings are very realistic. During the demoliton of an abandoned building a body is found in the walls and reopens a cold case from 75 yrs ago. It also has current day murders occuring and shows how busy a medical office can be instead of just dealing with one case at ...more
Wanda
Fast paced, lots of intrigue. Like how the author switches between the investigation of the murders in the past with the current investigation. There are several links between past and present crimes. Enjoy reading about the work involved in the forensics lab and that it is not as easy as shown on TV. Also like how the main character deals with getting older, her family, and her social life.
Sally
I had several problems with this book. First, the author seems to think that 40 is old. Second, everyone in this book seems to be a misogynist, including Theresa MacLean, which I don't quite understand. Third, the author seems to resort to stock phrases and words quite often. Like 'frisson'. I don't know, it irritated me. There was also not one character that I liked or felt sympathy for.

That being said, this was a fairly good story, and that's why I stuck with the book. I wanted to find out ho
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Maddy
PROTAGONIST: Theresa MacLean, forensic scientist
SETTING: Cleveland, Ohio
SERIES: #3 of 3
RATING: 2.5
WHY: I fail to understand authors who write books with completely unoriginal premises. This one involves a serial killer (Torso Killer) who last killed 75 years ago and now has a copycat recreating his crimes. Ho-hum. My real issue had to do with the protagonist, who is a forensic scientist who thinks she's a cop and surveils crime scenes in hopes of catching the killer. She also has a stupid gene
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Pauline
First book that I have read by Lisa Black. Have to say it was quite good. I always love a good forensic investigation/mystery/thriller novel. Bonus points for having a female lead.


Skipping a book summary, it is a solid book which effectively pulls from real-life events and weaves it together with fiction. Black uses all the basic techniques in mystery/thriller writing and sets up the story very well for there to be more than one possible killer. Having said that, nothing in this book was partic
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Evelyn
When a mummified man's body is found in an abandoned building being torn down, forensic investigator Theresa MacLean learns that the man was a Cleveland police detective during the 1930s investigating the famous, unsolved Kingsbury Run "Torso" murders. And now, a copycat killer is reinacting the crimes with historical accuracy.

Third in the Theresa McLean forensic scientist series. An interesting mix of the Torso Killings of the 1930s and current day events. Clevelanders will appreciate Black's r
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Richard
This novel is a fictionalized account of a series of unsolved murders which took place in Cleveland, Ohio in the mid-1930s. At that time, a total of 27 people were murdered (in Cleveland and Youngstown, Ohio and in New Castle, Pennsylvania) and their bodies cut in pieces -- always with decapitation and the head somewhere nearby. Ms. Black uses her expertise as a trained forensic pathologist to add to the dialogue in the book, and to make it a more vivid read. She is a former forensic scientist f ...more
Robyn
I enjoyed the inter-play of historical and present day crimes and, overall, I enjoyed the book. What kept this from being more than three stars is that I really don't like when the author makes an otherwise intelligent character do truly stupid things. It's like, "Yes, this is a very smart forensic scientist who works every day with the police to solve serious crimes. Yet, the plot needs some action, so I'll have her make a tremendous dumb decision to stumble around in the middle of a police sti ...more
Ricardo
I really tried to get into this book. I even went further than my regular 100-page test and read 150, but I had to give up. The book just failed to grab me.
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Lisa Black spent the happiest five years of her life in a morgue. Strange, perhaps, but true. After ten years as a secretary, she went back to school to get a Bachelor’s degree in Biology from Cleveland State University. In her job as a forensic scientist at the Cuyahoga County Coroner’s Office, she analyzed gunshot residue on hands and clothing, hairs, fibers, paint, glass, DNA, blood and many ot ...more
More about Lisa Black...

Other Books in the Series

Theresa MacLean (7 books)
  • Takeover (Theresa MacLean #1)
  • Evidence of Murder (Theresa MacLean #2)
  • Defensive Wounds (Theresa MacLean #4)
  • Blunt Impact (Theresa MacLean #5)
  • The Price of Innocence (Theresa MacLean #6)
  • Close to the Bone (Theresa MacLean, #7)
Takeover (Theresa MacLean #1) Evidence of Murder (Theresa MacLean #2) Defensive Wounds (Theresa MacLean #4) Blunt Impact (Theresa MacLean #5) The Price of Innocence (Theresa MacLean #6)

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