Book Review: A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes

A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes This book is a sequel to another book, Precious Blood. When I was offered A Hard Death for review, I decided to read Precious Blood first.

However, I don’t believe it’s necessary to read the other book before this one. This book is a completely new story, with only the same main character. On the other hand, I liked the first book better.

A Hard Death: What it is about

Edward Jenner is a forensic pathologist who has had his New York medical license suspended after happenings in the previous book, Precious Blood. Don’t worry, I’m not giving away much, because the suspension is a bit arbitrary, some people have it in for Jenner.

So, when his colleague in the Everglades is going for a well-deserved holiday, Jenner is asked to cover for him during his break. Very soon, he finds a number of dead bodies, some of which he recognizes.

Not satisfied with only examining the bodies, he goes to investigate who is behind the killings. But before he knows it, he becomes a target of the killers himself.

During all that, he finds a nice woman friend, and another one, while he is taken off the case by his employers.

A Hard Death: What I thought

I liked it, but I liked the first book better. The first book, Precious Blood, was much more of a thriller for me. In A Hard Death there were a number of men all working together to cover up their criminal activities by killing people. There was not just one scary killer that no one could catch, like in the previous book.

Also, the reader knows before Jenner does, what exactly is going on and why the murders were committed. This meant a loss of suspense for me: the only suspense left was what they would do about Jenner, when he found out too. But I didn’t find the men particularly scary and there was still a chance that they would let him run off to New York.

On the other hand, I loved the setting of the book, the Everglades. The wild nature of this place, with its mangroves, islands, snakes and crocodiles was very well described. I was imagining crocodiles around every corner, which made it quite scary when Jenner was out and about.

The chapters were generally very short (there were 142 of them) which didn’t work for me. Especially not when the next chapter continued with the same characters in the same situation as the previous chapter. I didn’t see the use of all those many chapters at all.

I got this book: from Harper publishers, free for review (ARC)

I read this in: English, the original language

Number of pages: 409

First published: 2011 (April)

Genre: Thriller

Also interesting: Precious Blood by Jonathan Hayes, the first book about Edward Jenner

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

12 Responses to Book Review: A Hard Death by Jonathan Hayes

  1. Cindy says:

    I’m getting a bit suspicious of that Jenner bloke, bodies everywhere he goes …

  2. I just checked out Precious Blood in the library today, Judith, after your review. Looking forward to it – sounds like a scary thriller.

    Oh, and I also just finished Under the Skin and hated it! Sorry, I know you liked it but I really didn’t and couldn’t wait for it to end. Will review it soon. (woudln’t do for us to all have exactly the same taste in books though would it?)

    • Leeswammes says:

      Boof, I hope you’ll enjoy *Precious Blood*, but I think you will. It sort-of reminded me of Tess Gerritsen, so that should be OK!

      How could anyone not like *Under the Skin*, well, I guess it’s possible. 🙂 You’re right, we’re all different, I wouldn’t read more than one Tess Gerritsen in a row while you read what, 4 or 6?

  3. Nadine Nys says:

    I think I will stick to Precious Blood

  4. seachanges says:

    Never heard of Jonathan Hayes but I’ve been a thriller junky for the past few months, so perhaps this should go on my list? I’ve been reading Jo Nesbo, Italian Crime Noir (Carlo Lucarelli et al) – does this fit in?

  5. Dorte H says:

    Lots of bodies and very short chapters – I think I can resist this one. Just as well, probably, as I ordered four books yesterday 😉

  6. Tes says:

    Ohhh this sounds like an interesting book 🙂 I will check this out 🙂

  7. Novroz says:

    I though it was going to be a great book from your it’s monday meme…but after reading your review, I am not sure it is a interesting as I thought

  8. Pingback: 2011: #60 – A Hard Death (Jonathan Hayes) | Confessions of a Bibliophile

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