The Coroner

Summoned from her promising surgical career first to her estranged father’s bedside, and then his post as medical examiner when his small town needs urgent help with a suspicious death, Emily Hartford discovers home is where the bodies are in this pitch-perfect mystery debut.


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The Coroner Description:

Summoned to take up her ailing father’s post as a medical examiner, surgeon Emily Hartford returns to her Midwestern hometown—and finds herself at the center of a murder investigation.


Recently engaged and deeply ensconced in her third year of surgical residency in Chicago, Emily Hartford gets a shock when she’s called home to Freeport, Michigan, the small town she fled a decade ago after the death of her mother. Her estranged father, the local medical examiner, has had a massive heart attack and Emily is needed urgently to help with his recovery.


Not sure what to expect, Emily races home, blowing the only stoplight at the center of town and getting pulled over by her former high school love, now Sheriff, Nick Larson. At the hospital, she finds her father in near total denial of the seriousness of his condition. He insists that the best thing Emily can do to help him is to take on the autopsy of a Senator’s teen daughter whose sudden, unexplained death has just rocked the sleepy town.


Reluctantly agreeing to help her father and Nick, Emily gets down to work, only to discover that the girl was murdered. The autopsy reminds her of her many hours in the morgue with her father when she was a young teen—a time which inspired her love of medicine. Before she knows it, she’s pulled deeper into the case and closer to her father and to Nick—much to the dismay of her big-city fiancé. When a threat is made to Emily herself, she must race to catch the killer before he strikes again.

Book 1 of 5

A Coroner's Daughter Mystery

Print length

336 pages





Published Date

August 7, 2018

The First Chapter:


If you like small-town mysteries, twisty reads, or books by Lisa Black or Patricia Cornwell, you’ll love The Coroner.

—Karen Harper
New York Times bestselling author of Shallow Grave

Fast-paced and riveting, The Coroner by Jennifer Dornbush is filled with surprises, authentic detail and memorable characters. Well done!

—Carla Neggers

The Coroner by Jennifer Dornbush introduces an appealing new character in Dr. Emily Hartford. Emily is strong and competent, vulnerable and kind. And she has enough baggage to stay for a long time in her former hometown of Freeport, MI. Add a twisty plot, romance, and family drama and the result is this satisfying first-in-a-series mystery.

—Dawn Eastman
Author of
Unnatural Causes

Warning!! Once you start reading The Coroner you will not want to put it down! I let everything slide so I could see how it ended.” – Erth, Goodreads


“Wow! The ending just left me dumbfounded! This book was so well written! Definitely a page turner. Kept me guessing and just you have to read it!

Felicia, Goodreads

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.

Secret Remains

The Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series
(Book 2)

Last One Alive

The Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series
(Book 3)

The Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series
(Book 4)


The Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series
(Book 5)


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