A HARD DEATH by Jonathan Hayes


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In Hayes’ entertaining sequel to Precious Blood (2007), forensic pathologist Dr. Edward Jenner feels the sharp edge of an old adage, the one about no good deed going unpunished.

Having rescued a damsel in distress and blown away the misbegotten miscreant who was mistreating her, Jenner, brilliant forensic pathologist and all-around worthwhile guy, suddenly finds himself unable to practice his profession. Figures. An old saw wouldn’t be one if it couldn’t cut deep. So, New York State license suspended, Jenner hires on to sub for his former boss, now chief medical officer in usually sedate Douglas County, Fla., “a place where old money went to die.”  Doc Marty Roburn and his beloved Roberta have hung out the gone-fishing sign, a vacation much anticipated and long overdue. It never gets to happen. With Jenner and an ad hoc law-enforcement team witnessing, a car is being hauled from an Everglades swamp, the aftermath of an unfortunate accident. Inside, there are two dead bodies, soon shockingly identified as the ill-fated Roburns. It’s clear that there is nothing accidental about their deaths, nor about the four others swiftly linked to them. Jenner is both heartsick and furious. And, being Jenner, he’s absolutely determined that nothing will prevent him from unraveling the who and the why of what was done to people he valued. As his investigation gathers steam, he will encounter corruption festering in high places, a relentlessly vindictive old enemy and, inevitably, several fresh varieties of damsels in distress. That Jenner will rise to the occasion goes without saying. No choice. He’s a gallantry junkie.

A bit longer than it needs be, but the oh-so-likable Jenner is redemptive, proving once again he can shine with those other stars in the forensic galaxy.

Pub Date: April 12th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-169176-8
Page count: 416pp
Publisher: Harper/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2011


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