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Briefly, his protagonist, Edward Jenner, was a forensic pathologist for New York, but after the events of 9/11, he was too shattered to continue. In Precious Blood, Jenner is hired as a consultant by the parents of a young woman who is found brutally murdered, and Jenner gets caught up in the need to catch the killer before he can get to a young woman Jenner is attracted to. There's much more going on, but that's the basic outline.
What Dr. Hayes has done is created a character who will strike a resonant chord with many of us, not just because of his involvement with the 9/11 attacks, but because Edward Jenner is a good man who is burned out, kind of lost, tired, but ultimately looking to do good. The fact that Jenner throws himself into the investigation rather than confront his own demons is skilfully handled and understandable. Jenner is both selfless and selfish, hopeful and depressed, loving and remote. He's a walking contradiction and I very much like him.
So I'm looking forward to seeing what happens in A Hard Death, now that Jenner has gotten on the seriously wrong side of his political enemies and has gone to Florida to recuperate. From what I know of him, Jenner will get into trouble, and will stubbornly refuse to let the good guys down. But be forewarned, because Dr. Hayes is an actual medical examiner, these books are not for the weak of tummy. His discussion of bodies is straightforward and non-gratuitous, but if you've got an imagination at all, it's fairly graphic.--FRAN
The nightmare of 9/11 left New York City medical examiner Edward Jenner shattered and emotionally scarred. He thought he'd turned away from forensics—and life—for good, but the mutilation murder of a college student is pulling him back. The body of a young woman, nailed to the wall of her East Village apartment, has Jenner convinced that there's a serial killer prowling the city—and a second horrific murder only confirms his most terrible fears. The desperate hunt for a psychopath—and Jenner's troubling obsession with a beautiful, frightened woman who could be the maniac's next victim—is pushing the forensic expert to the limits of his physical and mental endurance.
But as the shadows deepen it gets harder to tell who is the hunter and who is the prey. And which one will live . . . and who will die.
About the Author
Jonathan Hayes, a veteran forensic pathologist, has been a New York City medical examiner, performing autopsies and testifying in murder trials, since 1990. A former contributing editor at Martha Stewart Living, Hayes has written for the New York Times, New York magazine, GQ, and Food & Wine. He is also the author of Precious Blood.
Praise for Precious Blood…
“Even hard-core lovers of the thriller genre may find parts of PRECIOUS BLOOD as shocking as the goriest contemporary slasher films.”
“An intelligent thriller that takes you down the meanest streets . . . This reader was scared to death.”
“Taut and chilling… a fast-paced thriller written by a real player in the game of forensic sleuthing.”
-Kathy Reichs, author of the bestseller BONES TO ASHES
“Fans of CSI and the like would definitely like this one.”
“An impressive debut . . . The murders are grisly and striking, and Jenner is a likable lead.”