Saturday, August 11, 2018
The Coroner by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush
Emily Hartsford, a third year surgical resident in Chicago, is accepting a marriage proposal from a fellow surgeon when her cell phone goes crazy. Finally, she takes one of the calls and learns her estranged father had a heart attack. Of course, Emily heads to Michigan to the hospital.
She finds all kinds of surprises when she arrives in her hometown after a twelve-year absence. She didn't even know her father had just remarried. Emily's high school sweetheart, Nick, is now the county sheriff. With her father, the county medical examiner laid up, Nick desperately needs her help to investigate the death of a state senator's daughter, Julie.
Until Emily's resentment about secrets surrounding her mother's death drove her away at age sixteen, Emily hoped to follow in her father's footsteps. Now, when she steps in to help, the autopsy reveals Julie was murdered. What led to the murder of this promising young equestrian? Emily and Nick uncover threats made to the girl, and stories of teen drug use.
Emily is a realistic, believable character who is struggling. When her fiance doesn't rush to join her, and makes assumptions about their future together, she wonders if she made the right decision. She and her father still clash over her mother's death. And, her worries about her return to her hometown are not alleviated when the story ends with a possible tragedy.
The Coroner is a solid debut, an intense, riveting story that combines the coziness of small town familiarity with the sobering reality of drugs and murder. The author's background as the daughter of a medical examiner, and her knowledge, is evident in this novel that leaves room for a sequel.
Jennifer Graeser Dornbush's website is www.jenniferdornbush.com
The Coroner by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush. Crooked Lane Books, 2018. ISBN 9781683316237 (hardcover), 336p.
FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.