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Publisher's Summary

Summoned from her promising surgical career first to her estranged father's bedside and then to 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 is called home to Freeport, Michigan, 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 is 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. 

The Coroner, expertly written and sharply plotted, is perfect for fans of Patricia Cornwell and Julia Spencer Fleming.

©2018 Jennifer Graeser Dornbush (P)2018 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

What listeners say about The Coroner

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    2 out of 5 stars

Like a Hallmark Movie, Except for Dead Bodies

Very early on, I noticed the similarities of this plot to the standard Hallmark movie fare and it sustained the similarity almost throughout. A woman (Emily) in a big city with a promising career and a putatively perfect fiance (Brandon) has to go back to the small town home that she hasn't visited in ages to temporarily help with her father's business after he falls ill. Without delay, she meets her former high school sweetheart (Nick, now the town sheriff, who never stopped loving or missing her of course) and circumstances force them to work closely together. Inevitably, the fiance reveals he's a kind of a jerk and is oblivious to what she (or any woman) wants. When the woman and her former beau are finally starting to rekindle their feelings, the fiance shows up and ruins it, but then shows he's as clueless about her as ever and they break the engagement. Hope springs eternal for old romances and who needs a lucrative career and life in the big city even if you've devoted half your life to creating it?

What stops it from being a novelization of a Hallmark movie is that instead of the father running a bakery, a winery, or a chocolate shop, he's the county medical examiner. So, rather than teaching his daughter how to bake the perfect croissant or harvest grapes at the peak moment, he had bonded with her by cutting up bodies together. Further, instead of something like a town parade or a mean developer coming in, it's the murder of a teenage girl that locks Emily in town. These little wrinkles were enough to keep me interested.

However, there are problems. Brandon, the fiance, flies his "douchebag" flag so brazenly by not only being a mama's boy but not seeing how letting his mother plan Emily's wedding might be a problem for her. Then, when it does dawn on him, he then not only locks in the venue, but sets a date for the nuptials, and puts a downpayment on a house without talking to her first...and still doesn't see how that could be an issue for Emily. To make matters worse, Nick (the old boyfriend), is remarkably petulant (in regard to the past relationship) to the extent that even though he knows she literally just arrived in town to see her father who had a major heart attack, he thinks that's a good time to keep her on the side of the road and chat her up about why she left the first time. Further, he knows it was related to the mysterious death of Emily's mother, and even though he worked daily with her father, he never tried once to contact her because he was so wounded.

Now, every murder mystery doesn't need to be a some convoluted "Gone Girl" plot. That said, having "the killer" be a minor character that wasn't introduced until 3/4ths of the way in doesn't really give the reader a chance to deduce the culprit from cleverly placed clues. Quite plainly, it is pretty much the person with obviously the most to gain and motivations that lack any complexity or nuance. It's straight up cash and career advancement. The real mystery is given "The Butler did it" obviousness, how Emily and Nick couldn't have ended the story a hundred pages earlier.

Further, Emily "solves" the mystery by randomly wandering in just the right area to hear the killer confess to the crime and wield the same highly specific and recognizable murder weapon in a fit of rage. Whew, that was lucky. But, oh no, the cell phone that didn't have any problem working everywhere before, doesn't work now. Then, the killer overpowers Emily, the one person on the planet who can reveal his actions, and he chokes her to...temporary unconsciousness but then drags her body to... an office and leaves her. No, but for real, her throat was really sore, and that'll probably teach her to keep her yap shut.

Fine, fine. The romance is lame, and the primary mystery is a bust....however, there's still the mystery of Emily's mom, and she intends to find out the truth. Now or never! She goes to confront her father and, oops another major heart attack. But, he's still hanging on, and he manages to choke out "cancer" by way of explanation for her mother's death, which explains nothing for Emily, and then the book ends. The urge to hurl the book is only stopped by the recognition that it is my iPhone and not a paperback.

206 people found this helpful

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abrupt ending

i enjoyed the main characters and the overall story line. this was a good fast paced book, but what a terrible, unfinished, abrupt ending

158 people found this helpful

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Is this a book or advertisement for a Nissan Leaf?

Blah. I really wanted to like this. But the characters were bland. The ending was a huge let down. And the author cannot shut up about the Nissan Leaf and helicopter parents. HARD PASS.

190 people found this helpful

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Sudden Stop

Well, that was abrupt! The book just stops without any warning. Oh, there’s a “reveal,” but it certainly falls short of a resolution. Why in the world would a publisher or editor allow the book to stop with so much still unresolved in the storyline? Very frustrating book.

100 people found this helpful

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not sure what the hype is all about

it was ok but extremely predictable and really unbelievable. the main character is the most selfish person with nor real reasons behind her actions. while we have a cop who has no idea what he's doing. I solved this case in the first quarter of the book. don't waste a credit on this.

111 people found this helpful

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Disappointing ending (be warned)

While I enjoyed the book in general, the incomplete ending left me totally dissatisfied. It was not that the author wanted the reader to imagine their own ending (a highly effective plot twist if done skillfully), but rather that the author left a story arc simply unanswered, This not a "trilogy type" of book where multiple story lines need more room to be woven and completed. Instead one simple question that underpinned the character's behavior during the entire book was left unanswered. I found myself puzzled and irritated by the author's choice. My only explanation is that the writer expects the reader to buy the next book to find out that one answer. Sorry, not buying it. It felt to me like a cheap trick, which took away my appetite for buying further books by this author.

105 people found this helpful

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Was this a YA book?

Predictable, unrealistic and repetitious. Perhaps this was meant for a very young adult? Waste of this adult’s money!

60 people found this helpful

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Dull story read by dull narrator

Very boring. And I found the main character totally unsympathetic and dislikable. Narrator sounded like she was asleep.

10 people found this helpful

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Almost needed resuscitation to finish the book

The plot (which offered so much promise) dragged on, making me regret my choice. Characters were one dimensional. The story line was improbable. The writer ignored realistic difficulties having her protagonist walk seamlessly away from a surgical residency in Illinois to practice medicine in Michigan and resume a high school romance. The murder was committed to give a peripheral character the chance to win a scholarship to a state university rather than have him matriculate at a local community college which, presumably, would have curtailed his career opportunities. The coroner was a good title for this book which was dead on arrival.

51 people found this helpful

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I loved it

I. can't wait for the next one. I really hope there is a next one. I loved the story and the main character.
Emily was. a woman who ran away from her life and home after her mother died in an accident. She ended up as a doctor in Chicago engaged to a. doctor who looks great on paper.
Her birthday starts with a successful surgery and a proposal from her perfect boyfriend.
That is soon eclipsed by a phone call from home. Her father the local medical examiner had a heart attack and a state senator's daughter is killed.
This is. backdrop for a clever mystery.
I am a fan. This one is worth a credit.

38 people found this helpful

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  • NoQlu
  • 03-16-22

Dull Dull Dull!

I don’t have high expectations of the free audiobooks, but I don’t know how this book even got published. Completely predictable, lacking all tension, wrongdoer recognised on first appearance, characters boring stereotypes and boringly read.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Sharplady
  • 03-13-22

Needed an editor

At the very beginning of this a surgeon scrubs up and then puts on her mask.... nope!

The author obviously used a thesaurus, using unnecessary synonyms for words like 'said'.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Deltika75
  • 03-10-22

Loved this book, off to see if there are more!

Thought out writing, great storyline, and just a good easy and enjoyable listen. Just downloading her next one now, and hoping there will be more in this series!

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anna
  • 03-09-22

boring

managed to end of chapter 2 and decided, that life is too short to dpend any minute longer in that nook. 2 chapters about nothing.

3 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Clive
  • 03-13-22

A good story well told

loved it, couldn't put it down. Excellently narrated, more like a play than a book being read.

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • J S Jones
  • 03-29-22

Could have been great.

Really good narration and the story started strongly. Unfortunately the ending felt very rushed with many unanswered questions. Overall disappointing.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • JenSurname
  • 03-25-22

Distinctly average

I finished this one out of stubbornness rather than interest. It was free on Audible and I’m glad I didn’t spend any actual money on it.

I found the story to be clichéd and predictable. I’m not a fan of Hallmark movies and this was a book version of just that. I called the killer from the very first time we became aware of their family’s existence, and was hoping for a twist that proved me wrong. It didn’t come.

Also, where did the phantom sister come from? She got one mention in one chapter and was never referenced again. I mean, what?

Not a huge fan of any of the characters, honestly.
And Emily just reminded me of Piper Chapman.

I won’t be rushing to read a follow up. Even if it’s free.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Janet
  • 03-13-22

loved it .

loved it can't wait for the next one.
Narrator excellent she made it real like I was a bystander.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • JM
  • 03-09-22

Underwhelmed

Storyline ok I suppose but on the superficial side. Also, the sheriff came across as inept and amateurish. In the end, I was left totally underwhelmed by the book which was a bit of a disappointment as the synopsis sounded so promising.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • indie
  • 08-07-22

Very entertaining!

I nearly didn’t download this book as there are a couple of bad reviews !! I’m so glad I did , it’s very well written and read …. I found it really interesting , now downloading the second in the series , definitely will be reading this author again and again!!!

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  • Kathy Chapman
  • 02-08-22

Cliched and needs a good editor

This book was expertly narrated however the story was weak and cliched. There were also some very annoying things that should be picked up by a good editor before publishing. It made me wonder whether this is a self-published book. Examples include: when a character said something ‘with a displeasing tone’ - she meant ‘displeased’; .Several times when a situation, not a person, ‘was incredulous’ - presumably she meant unbelievable; The clunky phrasing of the sentence, ‘Was this how getting smothered felt like?’ ; Someone has ‘Hateful eyes’ - presuming she meant ‘hate filled’. Annoying plot events included when the sheriff ‘knew how to override the passcode on the phone’ - convenient, when that’s something even the FBI struggle with. Then there’s the lead character, more than a little annoying and unprofessional and a totally loose canon, who suffers a broken collarbone, a couple of broken ribs and severe bruising but is up and about the next day moving without pain and free to consider doing an autopsy on someone. Very missable book.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-07-22

The coroner

Omg the narrator. … the male voices are terrible.
The story is utterly boring.
Don’t waste your time on this one

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Dunquin
  • 12-30-21

Disappointing

Didn’t ‘grab me’ but I stuck with it. The ending was disappointing and unfinished, no doubt paving the way for a 2nd book but I won’t be reading it. Going back to my favourite authors, British & Irish narrators and suspenseful, gripping storylines.

1 person found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Liz Barlow
  • 11-29-21

omg get an editor

awful inconsistencies in the narrative... a hospital with an icu and an ER with 1 hotel? every other character (nearly) went to school with the protagonist. I'm expected to believe a 28 man is head of this police force? also look up the pronunciation of Hugh! a sister is mentioned once. the whole setting is unbelievable. the story trite and obvious. I don't care who killed the the person because I learn practically nothing about her. I could care less about Emily's mother's death... it's not compelling as a reason for estrangement. nothing in this story makes me care about anyone in it. I only got half way through. if the dead person was so up in the house world do some research on what kind of horse she would have been given. also a broken knee will not have a horse "back to normal" in a month.

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-18-21

Mediocre

Not a bad story, a bit drawn out. Very slow & monotone narrator I increased the speed to 1.1

1 person found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Beck
  • 11-15-21

Average

Needed more polish, lots of weird little details that made no sense and the main character is shallow and very ditzy for a doctor - who forgets their own birthday? And of course she is tall, thin and blonde, insert eye roll here!
The involvement of the senator in the scoring wasn’t explored - was it to cheat or did he want his daughter disqualified so he could keep control over her? All the main characters were quite dense in one way or another and no one could communicate properly - from the way she left town, to the dad being remarried, and Nick pining after her for 12 years (pfft). One minute Julie is dead, the next minute her little sister is being questioned at school - why was she at school the same week her sister was murdered? And this accomplished woman is ready to throw everything away by about day 3 in her old town, whilst dealing with a murder and ailing parent (who she became estranged from a bit too hastily). I just couldn’t get into this book at all, it felt like fan fic or a teenager wrote it at times. Comparing it to Kathy Reichs is an affront to her and her fans! It was a freebie, I definitely won’t be using credits to continue the series.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-14-21

Good ready

Good read and good story but it leaves a few loose ends,
an extra chapter would’ve finished it perfectly

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-02-21

I couldn't finish it

the reason I couldn't finish it past the first 3 chapters was the narrator. She sounded tired and bored .

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Fran Wedding
  • 07-03-22

Page Turner

Loved this so much that I checked as soon as it was over to see if there was a sequel. So happy to find there was!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-29-22

Sydney

Excellent. Loved the characters and storyline. Didn’t want it to end. Hope it has sequel.