Thursday, July 27, 2023

Lisa Black's "What Harms You"

Lisa Black is the New York Times bestselling author of the Gardiner and Renner Novels and the Locard Institute Thrillers featuring Dr. Ellie Carr and Dr. Rachael Davies. 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 other forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes. Now she is a latent print examiner and certified crime analyst for the Cape Coral Police Department in Florida, working mostly with fingerprints and crime scenes. 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 court as an expert witness over 65 times. Her books have been translated into six languages and she was named finalist for the prestigious Sue Grafton Memorial Award for Perish.

Here Black dreamcasts the latest Locard Institute thriller, What Harms You:
Dr. Ellie Carr’s first day at the prestigious Locard forensic institute isn’t going so well. Her keycard won’t let her into the imposing brick building, her snooty predecessor hasn’t bothered to clean out the office Ellie is to occupy, and then the woman turns up dead in a supply closet. Ellie’s new boss Rachael shares her concerns about the death—it doesn’t quite seem like an accident. But the institute, along with research and private cases, conducts training classes on forensic topics for those in the law enforcement community. When there’s another death and it’s clearly not an accident, the women realize their suspect pool consists of cops, death investigators and CSIs. Who else, should they choose to, would make the most successful serial killer?

Former pathologist Dr. Rachael Davies is thirty-eight, divorced, and raising her late sister’s toddler son. She’s given ten years of her life to build the Locard into what she loves it has become. My choice for her part would be Gabrielle Union—older than the role but looks too young for it, and way more beautiful than one would expect a scientist to be. But I think she’d be perfect for the intriguing and brilliant Rachael.

Ellie Carr, also a doctor (of forensics), left the FBI to follow her passion for CSI work. Orphaned at four, she grew up in a succession of relatives’ homes among her large, extremely loving extended family. It left her by turns securely happy but at the same time, searching for her place. She really wants the Locard to be her forever home, but that might be difficult when her arrival seems to kick off a murder spree. Casting her is a tough choice…smart and beautiful, but emotionally a bit clueless, lighthearted without being fluffy. I would love Tatiana Maslany.

As for my FBI agents, Michael Tyler would ideally be filled by the man I’ve pictured every time I’ve turned him into a character for the past thirty years: Michael Ironside. We’d have to turn the clock back thirty years to make him right for the role, but I’m sure he wouldn’t mind.

As long as I’m reaching for the stars, I’d love John Leguizamo for agent Luis Alvarez. He has the right combination of strength and humor needed to balance Michael’s seriousness.

And as for the genius, intimidating, icy-cool digital forensics whiz Agnes, let’s get Anya Taylor-Joy. No one can do that preternaturally still, scarily piercing, ‘cut right through you and you can’t even guess why’ stare.

The most fun character in the story, the lively, ambitious, ravenous-to-learn Farida is studying with the radical ambition to become a female CSI in her native Saudi Arabia. I’d love the amazing Karen David, born in India, coy about her age, and star of the super-fun, and hilarious series Galavant. And, though the role doesn’t call for it, she can sing! And dance!

With this cast and a murderer who knows exactly how to win this violent battle, What Harms You the movie can’t miss!
Learn more about the book and author at Lisa Black's website.

My Book, The Movie: Unpunished.

My Book, The Movie: Perish.

Q&A with Lisa Black.

--Marshal Zeringue