Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Coroner by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush

I wonder if I can entice you to try a debut mystery called The Coroner by telling you about the author. The author's bio on the back of the book says, "Jennifer Graeser Dornbush is herself the daughter of a medical examiner, whose office was in her home. She investigated her first fatality, an airplane crash, when she was ten years old. Sine that first case, she has had decades of on-site experience in death investigation and 360 hours of forensic training through the Forensic Science Academy." I think she's at least qualified to write about the medical examiner aspects of this mystery.

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

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.


Kay said...

You can definitely entice me to read this book by telling me about the author. Actually, I already had it on my list, but still...LOL! I really like the sound of it and it is nice to know that the author really knows her subject well. Can you imagine growing up with a medical examiner's office in your house? Hmmm...

Lesa said...

No, I can't. No more than I can imagine growing up in a funeral home, and several families in my hometown did.

Gram said...

Yes, this is for me. It is at my statewide library, but not yet available. When it is I will pick it up. Thanks. iT SOUNDS AS IF THIS WILL BE A FAVORITE SERIES.