2011: #60 – A Hard Death (Jonathan Hayes)

Book #60 was A Hard Death, the second book in Jonathan Hayes’s Edward Jenner series. The back of the book reads:

Brilliant forensic pathologist Edward Jenner returns in this explosive sequel to Precious Blood—an edgy, electrifying thriller set in a small-town coastal community where nothing is as it seems.

Edward Jenner, introduced in Precious Blood, has survived the horrific ordeal of the Inquisitor serial killings in New York, but not the political fallout. His state medical license suspended, Jenner finds himself banished to Douglas County in coastal Florida, working as a medical examiner in the balmy seaside resort of Port Fontaine.

But there’s a seamy underside to picturesque Douglas County. First Jenner finds the bodies of a murdered man and woman decaying in a sunken car. Then an anonymous call in the middle of the night leads him to a gruesome discovery in the heart of the Everglades. He finds traces of a shadowy criminal conspiracy, and soon learns that he can trust no one.

With his life on the line, Jenner refuses to walk away and let the murderers go unpunished. The result is dark Florida noir, a fierce, edge-of-the-seat thriller from an emerging master of the genre.

I didn’t read the first book in this series. Despite there obviously being a lot that happened, you get the gist of it through this book. Jenner took things into his own hands while in New York, and as a result he is now working in Florida, trying to lay low and just do his job. But when the man who hired him is found dead, just the first in a chain of strange events, laying low is no longer an option.

This isn’t a happy book. Hayes does a nice job of maintaining the noir feel, even when there is a little bit of romance involved. I thought the forensics were well handled, and was interested in the portrayal of the migrant farms, of both the workers and the people who run them.  And Jenner is a man who believes in doing what’s right, no matter the consequences to himself.

My one complaint is that Hayes goes a bit overboard with making the bad guy bad. There’s one aspect of him that is particularly horrifying, and I’m not sure it was necessary. The guy was bad enough without throwing in that extra dysfunction.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and look forward to not only picking up the first in the series, Precious Blood, but seeing what comes next.

This book was a review copy.

Other reviews:

Book Review: A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes « Leeswammes’ Blog
Book Review: A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes – Blogcritics Books
A HARD DEATH – Jonathan Hayes | Brain Candy Book Reviews
Booking Mama: Guest Review: A Hard Death
Jen’s Book Thoughts: A HARD DEATH – Jonathan Hayes

Page count: 432 (’11 total: 16,574) | Approximate word count: 129,600 (’11 total: 5,931,629)

2010: All Together Dead (Charlaine Harris)
2009: Breathers (S.G. Browne)
2008: Twisted (Andrea Kane)
2007: Hollywood Station (Joseph Wambaugh)
2006: The Slippery Slope (Lemony Snicket)
2005: The Rebels (John Jakes)

Used in these Challenges: ARC Reading Challenge 2011; Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge 2011;

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