A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes
Disgraced forensic pathologist Dr. Edward Jenner hoped that a move to Florida would be a distraction from the serial killer horrors in Precious Blood, but in Hayes’s solid sequel, the medical examiner finds himself embroiled in another life and death investigation. Barely eking out a living as Port Fontaine’s temporary pathologist, Jenner is shocked when one of his first cases in the sleepy coastal town is the murder of his former mentor and Port Fontaine’s regular medical examiner, Dr. Martin Roburn, whose body shows signs of torture. When Jenner is alerted to the decomposing bodies of four migrant workers deep in a swamp, he suspects their deaths are tied to Roburn. Jenner, along with a local detective, starts putting the pieces together to connect Port Fontaine’s richest men, the booming migrant population, and the lucrative drug trade. Though Hayes flirts with a few genre clichés, Jenner emerges as a sufficiently flawed yet empathetic hero.