…Submitted by Karna Small Bodman
We are delighted to welcome New York Times bestselling author and friend Lisa Black as our “In the Rogue Limelight” guest blogger…. a writer whose books have been translated into six languages — one has been optioned for film and a possible TV series.
|Author Lisa Black|
Lisa is one writer who truly follows the dictum, “Write what you know.” And what she knows and how she “feels” about it is, to say the least, rather unusual. The first line of her bio reads, “I spent the happiest five years of my life in a morgue.” Come again? You see, Lisa got her Bachelor’s degree in Biology and worked as a forensic scientist in the Cleveland Coroner’s office analyzing gunshot residue, DNA, blood, and many forms of trace evidence, as well as crime scenes. And she has brilliantly turned that experience into spellbinding thrillers and mysteries that now place her in “A solid position in suspense, a solid backbone of detection” according to Kirkus Reviews. Lisa’s new novel was just released. We asked her to tell us about it.
I have always believed in the Golden Rule: He who has the gold, makes the rules. This is largely inevitable and in some ways, not unfair—after all, if someone had the wherewithal to get all the gold, perhaps he or she shouldbe making the rules. Perhaps our history is nothing if not the constant battle to balance this practicality with the better parts of our humanity—an unachievable goal that nevertheless must be pursued.
My new book Perish utilizes a skirmish in this battle: the feeding frenzy that was the subprime mortgage market.
Here’s what happened: Used to be, banks gave loans to people and kept those loans for ten or twenty or thirty years until they were paid. The banks, then, had incentive to loan only to people they felt sure could repay the loan with interest. Then came securitization, the packaging of mortgages into groups which were sold to investors, which increased a bank’s available funds beyond their customers’ deposits. These securities were from all over the country (spreading the risk, since home prices could not be expected to fall everywhere, all at once—until, of course, they did). Mortgage originators—banks, nonbanks, financial firms—no longer had to care whether or not the home buyer could repay the mortgage/refinancing/home equity line, since they promptly sold the loan into the murky world of these securities.
Eventually, this house of cards began to crumble.
I found this completely fascinating and over-the-top dramatic. But I couldn’t fashion a way to transport events of 2008 Wall Street to 2018 Cleveland, so in Perish, here’s what happens: The scene
of the crime is lavish but gruesome. In a luxurious mansion on the outskirts of Cleveland, a woman’s body lies gutted in a pool of blood on the marble floor—Joanna Moorehouse, founder of Sterling Financial. Its offices seethe with potential suspects, every employee hellbent on making a killing. When another officer uncovers disturbing evidence in a series of unrelated murders, the investigation takes a surprising detour.
Forensic expert Maggie Gardiner must demystify the cutthroat world of high-stakes finance but also discovers troubling new details about her colleague Jack Renner, a homicide detective with a brutal approach to law and order. And all the while, a unique and unpredictable killer circles ever closer, the motives impossible to discern.
Maggie knows that he who has the gold makes the rules. But she’s always known that truth, after all, is its own kind of gold…..Lisa Black
This spell-binding story is the third in the Gardiner/Renner series — you may want to start with these:
Besides writing terrific novels, Lisa has testified in court some 65 times and is often on book tours around the country. Please visit her website:
Now, thanks Lisa for being our guest here on Rogue Women Writers!……Karna Small Bodman
What a terrific post, Lisa. I loved all the insider details and the way in which you've woven in criminal financial activities that affect us all!
Thank you! This was definitely one of those "I"m not sure I can pull this off…" books!
Sounds fascinating! It seems everyone was touched by that financial housing market crash–either personally or by association. So happy to hear that a TV series may be in the works. Keep writing such terrific books!