The Coroner by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush #bookreview #mystery

Title: The Coroner

Author: Jennifer Graeser

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

Publication Date: August 7, 2018

Page Count: 336

My rating: 3 stars

About the book:

Summoned from her promising surgical career first to her estranged father’s bedside, and then his post as medical examiner when his small town needs urgent help with a suspicious death, Emily Hartford discovers home is where the bodies are in this pitch perfect mystery debut.

Recently engaged and deeply ensconced in her third year of surgical residency in Chicago, Emily Hartford gets a shock when she’s called home to Freeport, MI, the small town she fled a decade ago after the death of her mother. Her estranged father, the local medical examiner, has had a massive heart attack and Emily is needed urgently to help with his recovery.

Not sure what to expect, Emily races home, blowing the only stoplight at the center of town and getting pulled over by her former high school love, now Sheriff, Nick Larson. At the hospital, she finds her father in near total denial of the seriousness of his condition. He insists that the best thing Emily can do to help him is to take on the autopsy of a Senator’s teen daughter whose sudden, unexplained death has just rocked the sleepy town.

Reluctantly agreeing to help her father and Nick, Emily gets down to work, only to discover that the girl was murdered. The autopsy reminds her of her many hours in the morgue with her father when she was a young teen—a time which inspired her love of medicine. Before she knows it, she’s pulled deeper into the case and closer to her father and to Nick—much to the dismay of her big city fiance. When a threat is made to Emily herself, she must race to catch the killer before he strikes again in The Coroner, expertly written and sharply plotted, perfect for fans of Patricia Cornwell and Julia Spencer Fleming.

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Emily Hartford grew up in the small town of Freeport, MI where she gained her love of medicine from her father. As Emily was a teen her dad would bring her in as he was performing autopsies to begin teaching Emily but after her mother’s passing Emily just couldn’t stay in Freeport and went to live with an aunt.

Now a decade later Emily has begun to become the doctor she always wanted to be and is in the third year of surgical residency in Chicago when she receives some horrible news, her father is in the hospital after a massive heart attack. Of course Emily immediately rushes back to town only to get pulled over by her ex who is now Sheriff in the small town.

After checking on her father Emily finds that he has business as a coroner that still needs attending so Emily agrees to step in and perform the autopsy. But as Emily concludes that the victim wasn’t killed by an accident as everyone thought and that she is actually the victim of a murderer Emily finds herself caught up in trying to catch a killer.

The Coroner by Jennifer Graeser is a mystery read that felt a tad bit like reading a cozy but with a more forensic/scientific side to it with the main character being a doctor. The story was an interesting one and the characters likable enough but parts of this one just seemed a bit dry and dragged a bit to me, perhaps due to the cozy feel without the lighter nature of a cozy. And I would also warn readers that the ending of this one seemed very up in the air but as far as I can tell there’s no definite indication of it continuing so that was a slight turn off otherwise it was a solid read.

I received an advance copy from the publisher via NetGalley.

Find this book online: 

Goodreads  /   Amazon

About the author:

Jennifer Graeser Dornbush is the daughter of a medical examiner, who has had decades of on-site experience in death investigation and 360 hours of forensic training through the Forensic Science Academy. Jennifer uses these experiences to pen crime fiction for film and TV. Jennifer is also member of Sisters in Crime and hosts webinars on crime writing through Writer’s Digest.


Categories: Uncategorized

9 replies

    • Yes, it would be nice if they’d get things like that figured out and advertised correctly though, tough to rate when I’m not quite sure. That would have been a horrible way to end as a standalone but continuing I could let it slide a bit more.


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