“A Hard Death” by Jonathan Hayes, Harper, 413 pages, $25.99.
Forensic pathologist Edward Jenner survived an attack by a serial murderer who he killed in self-dense in “Precious Blood” the previous installment. Now his New York license has been suspended.
Jenner is called to the scene when police divers find a car submerged in water. There appears to be a body inside. The body is Roburn’s. Later the bodies of four migrant workers are found in a swamp. Jenner believes the deaths are all connected to drug trafficking.
While Jonathan Hayes is knowledgeable about forensic pathology – he is a pathologist – his book has some clichés and more foul language than I am comfortable with. There are better practitioners of the genre.
“The Sandalwood Tree” by Elle Newmark, Atria, 357 pages, $25.99.
It is 1947 and Martin Mitchell, an American anthropologist, wins a Fulbright Fellowship to study in India. He and his wife, Evie, and son, Billy, 5, travel there.
Evie is a hands-on person. She is cleaning house one day and finds a hidden packet of letters between Felicity, who lives in India, and Adela, who lives in England. Evie’s marriage is falling apart. She becomes drawn to find out more about the women who wrote the letters.
While this is an interesting look at India, the book relies heavily on the coincidences of Evie finding letters in the wall of one house and the ceiling of another. And hidden journals. There is fighting in the streets but she leaves the safety of her home to find out more about Felicity and Adela. It is slow-moving.