Trail of Blood by Lisa Black is the third book in the “Theresa MacLean” thriller series. Publisher: William Morrow, September 2010

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 that’s been sealed off for years. Although there’s no immediate proof, everyone assumes the same thing: that the newly discovered corpse was a Torso Killer victim. The body has decayed beyond recognition, leaving few forensic clues, but Theresa sees this as an opportunity to shed some light on a big piece of Cleveland’s past that until now has been shrouded in mystery.

But then another body—this one recently deceased—turns up, and all signs at the scene seem to indicate the work of a new Torso Killer. Suddenly, Theresa’s investigation takes on a whole new meaning. Her examination of the old body has opened a door to the past—a door someone wanted to keep closed—and she shifts her focus from solving a historical puzzle to catching a very dangerous, present-day psychopath.

But as the body count rises, Theresa finds herself nearer to danger than she ever imagined. For the killer is keeping a watchful eye on Theresa, and she begins to feel his presence everywhere. Each step brings them closer and closer to each other—at one point separated by no more than a speeding train in a railroad switchyard—as Theresa scours the city in her hunt for a murderous lunatic intent on reliving a terrifying past.

In this story, the past meets the present when Theresa and her cousin Frank are on the trail of two killers, 75 years apart. The discovery of a mutilated body is connected to a serial killer who caused havoc nearly a century ago. When the same type of mutilation is found on several bodies, it looks like the work of a copy-cat serial killer. The author takes us on a past and present journey that culminates in the identity of the two killers. This book was a thrilling ride that I did not want to get off. The non-stop action kept me turning the pages from the first paragraph to the last sentence. The suspense was so riveting, I didn’t know which way I was being led. The back and forth between past and present was well written and I loved how they both meshed together. This was a great read and I can’t wait for the next book in this series. My rating: 5 stars

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