I confess...I'm happy to be picking back up on my reading. I'm well into my next Harper book but wanted to go ahead and review A Hard Death, a novel by Jonathan Hayes that the lovely Harper folks sent my way.
A Hard Death is a sequel to an earlier novel by the author (Precious Blood) and follows forensic pathologist Edward Jenner as he becomes immersed in a series of mysteries in southern Florida. I do think having read the prior novel would give the reader a head start in understanding Jenner and his past (involving a serial killer in NYC and related personal background), but I was able to catch up. I'm not a huge thriller/mystery girl but enjoyed watching the threads tie together and think Hayes handles that well, making the relationship between multiple mysteries more believable than a typical episode of CSI (the fact that two separate murders on CSI are inevitably related drives me nuts). I did get a bit lost at time in the character names but that's not unusual for me. I felt mixed on the more personal side of the story involving Jenner and two very different women in the Florida town....it felt forced at times and the characters didn't always feel fully fleshed.
Overall, an enjoyable read. A solid three of five stars, which (I feel like a broken record) is a solid score from me...firmly in the "Good" range but not in the "Great" arena and not one I expect to read again.