Book Review “Red Flags” by Lisa Black


A Locard Institute Thriller, Book 1

pages: 342

Publisher: Kensington Books


When D.C. crime scene analyst Dr. Ellie Carr is called to investigate the heartrending case of a missing baby, she’s shocked to discover that the child’s mother is her own cousin. Close during their impoverished childhoods, Ellie and Rebecca eventually drifted apart. Rebecca is now half of a Washington power couple, and she and her wealthy lobbyist husband, Hunter, have been living a charmed life in an opulent mansion—until their infant son is taken.

“Every contact leaves a trace.” That’s the basic principle of forensic science followed by pathologist Dr. Rachael Davies. A reluctant Ellie is teamed with Rachael, employed by Hunter to help with the investigation. Rachael is assistant dean at the prestigious Locard Forensic Institute, named in honor of the French criminologist who inspired the profession. But in this case, discovering where those traces lead quickly becomes a dangerous journey through a web of greed and deadly ambition.

At first antagonists, then allies, Ellie and Rachael race to find the baby alive and bring the kidnappers to justice. What seemed like a simple ransom grab reveals links to a lobbying effort to loosen regulations on a billion-dollar gaming empire. Unless they can piece together the evidence before the Senate hearing, Rebecca’s son—and others like him—will face an unthinkable fate . . .


Red Flags is a true thriller that gives you plenty of clues but you still end up not guessing whodunit! I loved this book. The writing style is descriptive but without unnecessary waffle. The fact that it is written predominantly from the crime scene analyst Ellie Carr’s point of view makes for a brilliant change to the usual, suspect/police point of view. I was drawn into Ellie’s life completely, feeling for her as she is drawn into a case that involves her family. She hates the fact that she might be being used as a inside spy to see if she can dig the dirt on them and hopefully get to the bottom of the babies disappearance. She feels very uncomfortable about the entire situation but also her need to find the baby alive drives her onwards.

The story is utterly compelling and although gets a little complicated at times I was just engrossed. A book that makes me think along the way is a fine book in my opinion. It becomes clear that this book has a big message to deliver, one of online safety of our children. It is delivered in an expert style that keeps the pace moving and holds your interest completely. I almost felt like I needed a pen a paper to write the clues down and figure it all out. Red Flags is a book that I would highly recommend if you like a great read that actually makes you think, has plenty of twists and leaves you knowing you’ve just read a great thriller.



Lisa Black’s books have reached the NYT bestsellers list, been translated into six languages and have been optioned for film. Perish was shortlisted for the inaugural Sue Grafton Memorial Award by Putnam and Mystery Writers of America. Lisa will be a Guest of Honor at 2021 Killer Nashville.

She is a certified crime scene analyst in Florida and a former forensic scientist for the Cleveland coroner’s office. 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 more than fifty homicide trials.

She still aspires to drive Nancy Drew’s convertible and marry Ellery Queen.

With Thanks for The Advance Copy to..

Kensington Books

Lisa Black

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