Last One Alive

Dr. Emily Hartford is back in Chicago, ready to move forward and leave the past behind until an unexpected request for help sends her deep into an investigation—and into the path of a killer.

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Last One Alive Description:

Dr. Emily Hartford is back in Chicago, ready to move forward and leave the past behind until an unexpected request for help sends her deep into an investigation—and into the path of a killer.


Seventeen months after the Parkman case, Dr. Hartford has returned to Chicago to finish her surgical residency. But when she is contacted out of the blue by Solange McClelland, the only survivor of a decade-old triple homicide, Emily is compelled to dig deeper. She doesn’t know the details of the event but remembers it as one of the few cases her deceased father never solved. 


On her thirtieth birthday, Solange opens a long-forgotten safe-deposit box and is entirely baffled by what she finds. Inside are not only painful reminders of a once-happy youth but almost four million dollars—enough to pursue and finally solve the mystery of who brutally murdered her family. It’s been over ten years, and Solange has built a new life in Detroit with her husband, Joseph. But there are certain disturbing questions about her past that she is determined to answer. So she reaches out to the only one who might know something about her family’s deaths and their possibly erroneous death certificates—Dr. Hartford, the daughter of Freeport’s former medical examiner.


Finding it impossible to believe that her scrupulous father made a mistake, Emily joins Solange’s pursuit of the truth, and as subzero temperatures blanket snow-covered Michigan, the two women pursue justice in two very different ways. But lurking nearby in the frigid cold is a crafty, unrepentant killer, determined to finish what he started long ago.

Book 3 of 5

A Coroner's Daughter Mystery

Print length

301 pages




Pre-Order Available

Published Date

October 24, 2023

Book Interview at The Poisoned Pen


A relentless thriller that will grab you and not let go.

~ DP Lyle,
M.D. and  award-winning author

LAST ONE ALIVE is a fascinating blend intrigue, murder, and dangerous questions gone unanswered for decades. Dornbush expertly balances the elements to keep the readers guessing. Go along for the ride.

~ Reed Farrel Coleman,
New York Times bestselling author

Once again, Jennifer Dornbush uses her extraordinary combination of heart and experience from years as a forensics specialist to craft a gripping mystery with sky-high stakes. In creating a protagonist who is willing to risk everything in her personal and professional life to stop a serial killer stalking an innocent pregnant woman, this talented author sets the highest bar possible for a suspense novel. 

-Ellen Byron-Maria DiRico,
Agatha Award Winner

Smart, complex, and emotionally compelling, this thriller deftly twines together the stories of two strong women delving into the past to find truths that matter. A wonderful read!

-Karen Odden,
USA Today bestselling author

Other Books In the Series

The Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series

Dr. Emily Hartford has lived with death since the day she was born. It’s hard not to when your father is the medical examiner and his office is your family home. Emily is now a tenacious, curious big city surgeon. Strong and competent. Vulnerable and kind. Sometimes too insular and self-dependent. It’s hard to peel back her layers– especially when it comes to family. 


But as Emily continues to get reeled back into the investigative life she left behind when she became estranged with her father, she begins to see how she’s broken and what’s missing in her life… and discovers that home is where the bodies are.

The Coroner

The Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series
(Book 1)

Secret Remains

The Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series
(Book 2)

The Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series
(Book 4)


The Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series
(Book 5)


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