ITW contributing editor Keith Raffel interviewed forensic scientist Elizabeth Becka about her latest novel, Unknown Means. The opening passages from their dialogue:
Keith Raffel: Elizabeth, you said you spent the happiest five years of your life working in the Cuyahoga County Coroner's Office in Cleveland. What's wrong with you?Read the full Q & A.
Elizabeth Becka: I don't know. I've asked myself that over the years and never really gotten an answer, so I stopped asking.
KR: What have you taken from your job there and put into Unknown Means?
EB: The irritating, boring, tedious parts of having a civil service job. How nothing is as easy and fast as it looks on TV.
KR: Can you give us a sneak preview of Unknown Means?
EB: Evelyn suffers from sleep deprivation as one murder follows on the heels of another. On top of that, she can't even figure out how the killer is getting to his victims (who live in very high-security buildings), much less who he is.
KR: Evelyn James's personal life as a single mother is an important element of Unknown Means, isn't it?
EB: I want to show her personal life, because the forensic scientists on TV don't seem to have one. Real CSIs have lives outside of work. It's not a job that stops at 5 pm every day. Many a dinner out or party have been cut short because the pager goes off.
The Page 69 Test: Unknown Means.