A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes

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A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Louise Laurie
Reviewed by Louise Laurie
Summary: This is a fast-paced thriller by the author of Precious Blood. Tension and action go hand-in-hand on almost every page.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 480 Date: November 2009
Publisher: Arrow
ISBN: 978-0099538646

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I haven't read Jonathan Hayes' bestseller 'Precious Blood' so I was a fresh reader, so to speak. His writing biography on the inside cover of the book is impressive. My expectations were high. All the ingredients are in place for a good thriller. The location is The Everglades in Florida. Brooding, enigmatic, awe-inspiring and where we all seem to expect crocodiles to rear their heads out of the swampy waters every five minutes.

The main character, Dr Edward Jenner is charismatic. He has a 'past' which is always good - a pathologist originally from the Big Apple who has blotted his copy book, big time. He's now trying to build a new life for himself in a small town in Florida. Nothing much seems to happen there. Or so he thinks ...

Dr Jenner is single, so there's plenty of opportunities for the author to introduce romance. And he does. He's not a happy bunny though. He's been forced to leave his beloved New York and has taken a massive pay downgrade in his new, low-key position in the back of beyond. His current situation is summed up nicely with the sentence Since ... it had seemed that his life was unfurling slowly, like a battered old umbrella ... the spokes now bent and broken.

As the newly-appointed Medical Examiner, he's told by his new colleagues to expect a quiet - if not downright dull - old time. As the area has a high proportion of wealthy retirees, crime is low. Until now ... The only blot on the landscape appears to be hordes of dirt-poor Mexicans, most of whom are illegal immigrants.

Then, dead bodies are discovered. And all of a sudden the local police force have to roll up their sleeves and do some detective work. It's all a slow process with many twists and turns along the way. Other characters are introduced making a rich tapestry of intrigue and suspense. It's fast-paced all the way through, right from the first page.

Dr Jenner is extremely professional in his job. Pathology. Autopsies. Cutting up dead bodies. And the local climate is very hot and humid. Dead flesh rots quickly in these conditions. But eventually, the autopsies give up their secrets of the flesh and a definite link - and reason for all of the deaths is apparent. But trying to bring the criminals to justice is another matter. They're clever.

In amongst the criminal investigations is an illuminating and tell-tale line from a member of the local police department when he says The Sheriff's shitting a brick. We don't like it too much round here when the white folks start dying .

The language is often terse and snappy. To the point one-liners, lots of nicknames and down-and-dirty street language. It all adds to the atmosphere, the underworld, shady, dangerous but a little bit exciting as well. This book will appeal to all those readers who like a white-knuckle ride of a thriller.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then you might also like Crime by Irvine Welsh. We've also recently enjoyed Bone by Bone by Carol O'Connell.

Buy A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes at Amazon.co.uk

Buy A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes at Amazon.com.


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