Book of the Day
Thomas and Mercer
Published October 1, 2016
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Exhume by Danielle Girard – the first book in a series that follows San Francisco Medical Examiner Annabelle Schwartzman – is a fast-paced read that surprises the reader with each turn of the page.
Dr. Schwartzman is our protagonist, and her relationship with her historically abusive ex-husband is rooted firmly in the realm of books like Gone Girl, or Girl on the Train. The similarities end there, though, because our good doctor is already well into her fresh start when we meet her, having begun a new life on the opposite coast from where her troubles began. Our introduction to the ex-husband is unconventional in that it follows the format of the best horror and thriller works. That is to say, the author doesn’t show us the monster right away; she makes us wait for the payoff. That revelation’s a long time coming, but the influence of the dreaded Spencer (the ex from Annabelle’s past) is felt long before the reader meets him.
Exhume is perfectly paced and keeps the reader intrigued from start to finish. Girard’s love of books really shines through to the text (books factor into the plot, mood, and backgrounds). There’s enough of the procedural protocols evident within the story to placate those of us who like our cops bagging and tagging and running down leads, but enough dark development to delight those who enjoy Denise Mina’s Garnethill books or Iris Johanson’s Eve series. I was further pleased with the strong-but-scarred good doctor, who is not plagued with the maladies that seems to afflict a lot of heroines in books at present. She feels like a real person, which is a refreshing change.
The book begins in San Francisco but ranges wide in terms of locale, so people who like a little bit of epic scope to their stories should feel satisfied with this. The story contains a big cast of characters that, despite multiple locations and identity questions, never becomes unwieldy or hard to follow.
Exhume is an exciting and memorable introduction to Girard’s series. Read it and be entertained. I was.
Note: You won’t have long to wait for book 2 in this series. Excise will be available August 22, 2017!
Garrett C. Crowell is a Nashville native, Murfreesboro Librarian, husband, and father of two. He reads more than 100 books a year and likes some of them.