Book Review by Debbie Winkler
Target Age Group: young adults
My Rating: 3/5 stars, Some Enjoyable Parts, But a Little Too Far-Fetched…
Jenna Blake is a brand new freshman at Somerset University in Massachusetts. It was the first time that she would be away from her mother, but Jenna was excited to dive into college life. She loved her new roommate, Yoshiko, and was happy to spend some more time with her father, a university professor of law, whom she hadn’t seen very much after her parents divorced. The only problem was that everyone kept pressuring her to decide what she wanted to major in and Jenna just didn’t know. She knew that her mom would love it if she became a surgeon, just like her, but she couldn’t stand the sight of all of that blood coming out of live people. When her father asked her if the blood was all that bothered her, she thought it was kind of weird, but, before she knew it, he had an interview all lined up with Dr. Walter Slikowski, Chief Medical Examiner with the county. What was even weirder was that Jenna found that she was hired – and that she liked it!
None of her new friends could understand how Jenna could stand to have such a creepy job, but Jenna really got into it. Her first autopsy was for a Nicholas Garson, a congressman’s aide, who had suddenly gone berserk in a courthouse and killed a security guard. When Professor Mattei, one of her father’s good friends, died under the same bizarre circumstances, prompting the FBI and the CDC to start investigating, Jenna knew that there was a connection, but she didn’t know what. Jenna was determined to find out what happened to those people and quickly became a target herself in a winner takes all game set on the stage of international politics…
I enjoyed this book, but it just was a little too contrived and a little too far fetched for me to really believe. The author’s descriptions of the ME lab were fascinating and I felt that I learned quite a bit, but Jenna spends most of her time on campus going through normal college stuff, such as buying books, doing homework, etc. She makes some pretty weird decisions, too, but I guess we all do at times. I didn’t really care too much for Jenna as a character, though, and wished that I felt more of a connection with her so that I cared what happened to her. The other characters were a little stereotypical, too. Still, it is the start of a promising new series and I think that I will give the next book, Thief of Hearts, a chance and see if I like it any better…
This book contains graphic and vivid descriptions of an ME’s lab including autopsies, equipment and other stuff about dead bodies before they are buried. There is also lots of information regarding diseases, politics and college life. Divorce, drinking, school pressure, etc. are all mentioned and/or dealt with. Recommended for ages 13 and up.