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A Hard Death


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From the new master of forensic fiction.

About the Author

Jonathan Hayes is a British-born career forensic pathologist. Having studied pathology in Boston, he became an Associate Medical Examiner in Dade County, Miami at the height of the Cocaine Wars of the late 1980s. His investigations included multiple homicide scenes and the recovery of dumped bodies from the Everglades. He is currently a Senior Medical Examiner in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Manhattan, and a clinical assistant professor at New York University School of Medicine. He lectures on forensic topics at the New York Police Department Homicide Investigation School, the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the FBI Academy.


Disgraced forensic pathologist Dr. Edward Jenner hoped that a move to Florida would be a distraction from the serial killer horrors in Precious Blood, but in Hayes's solid sequel, the medical examiner finds himself embroiled in another life and death investigation. Barely eking out a living as Port Fontaine's temporary pathologist, Jenner is shocked when one of his first cases in the sleepy coastal town is the murder of his former mentor and Port Fontaine's regular medical examiner, Dr. Martin Roburn, whose body shows signs of torture. When Jenner is alerted to the decomposing bodies of four migrant workers deep in a swamp, he suspects their deaths are tied to Roburn. Jenner, along with a local detective, starts putting the pieces together to connect Port Fontaine's richest men, the booming migrant population, and the lucrative drug trade. Though Hayes flirts with a few genre cliches, Jenner emerges as a sufficiently flawed yet empathetic hero. Author tour. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

This follow-up to Hayes's well-received debut, Precious Blood, continues the adventures of New York City forensic pathologist Dr. Edward Jenner, who at the end of the first book had narrowly escaped the serial slayings of the Inquisitor. With his medical license revoked, Jenner relocates to Florida to work temporarily as a consultant. He is immediately met with a case involving the brutal murder of a couple found in a submerged car in the Everglades. What makes this thriller worth reading is the author's personal expertise as a medical examiner. He is detailed and informative without throwing in unnecessary and over-the-top moments for sheer shock value. While the novel is technically a rerelease (it was first published in Britain and Canada), Hayes notes in his official blog that the U.S. edition reads more smoothly than the previous version and is editorially more polished. VERDICT Even though this is the second entry in a series, new readers can enjoy it as a stand-alone. Fans of forensic thrillers by Kathy Reichs, Patricia Cornwell, and Jeff Lindsay will also delight in this book.-Carolann Curry, Mercer Univ. Medical Lib., Macon, GA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

With none of the unnecessary gore of the Cornwall / Reichs school, this is a surprisingly emotional book. It feels as if Hayes is trying to preserve the innate, haunted humanity of Jenner, no matter how ugly the events that can happen to him. He is a fine creation, as I'm sure Hayes will show in the novels to come. * Daily Mail *
Hayes...has a gift for gory, scary set-pieces * Sun *

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