Category Archives: Secret Remains

Review: Secret Remains by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush

Title: Secret Remains by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush
A Coroner’s Daughter Mystery Series Book Two
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Genre: Contemporary, Mystery
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: C+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A cold case murder, a grisly discovery, and a viper’s nest of resentment, betrayal, and dirty secrets converge in this mystery perfect for fans of Kathy Reichs and Jayne Ann Krentz.

It’s been 12 years since Sandi Parkman went missing after being dropped off at home by her schoolmate, Nick Larson, now the Sheriff of Freeport, Michigan. When a construction crew unearths Sandi’s bones–along with Nick’s letterman jacket and one of his hairs–Nick becomes suspect number one in the murder.

Dr. Emily Hartford, the daughter of Freeport’s medical examiner, is called in to investigate, but the case is about to get personal. Nick was Emily’s high school love, and now she has to either clear his name–or contend that he’s the killer. As she delves into the case, a host of other suspects emerge: a coterie of Nick’s jock friends from high school; Sandi’s sister, Tiffany, now a dancer at a local strip club; and James VanDerMuellen, a trust funder who’s recently returned to Freeport.

As the autumn skies darken over Freeport and the holiday season looms, Emily must sift through more than Sandi’s brittle bones to solve the case. Can she exonerate Nick–and rekindle their long-smoldering romance? The race is on to find the truth.


Secret Remains by Jennifer Graeser Dornbush is a perplexing small town mystery. Although this newest release is the second installment in A Coroner’s Daughter Mystery series, it can be read as a standalone.

After tragedy strikes, surgical resident Dr. Emily Hartford tries to figure out her next moves.  In between decision making, she lends a hand to Sheriff Nick Larson as he investigates a cold case murder.  After the skeletonized remains of Sandi Parkman are unearthed, Nick is determined to identify her killer. Twelve years ago, she vanished after Nick dropped her at home after school. Emily is certain that Nick knows more about a motive for Sandi’s murder than he is letting on. But why would Nick withhold valuable information that might lead to Sandi’s killer?

Emily is rather torn about her future in the aftermath of a tragic loss. Her former fiancé Brandon remains hopeful she will return to Chicago and resume their relationship. Emily’s mentor and supervisor Dr. Claiborne surprises her with an unexpected proposition.  As she mulls over her options, Emily continues poking around in the investigation into Sandi’s murder.

Trying to locate the people involved in Sandi’s life takes a bit of sleuthing and Emily is shocked by the sordid secrets she uncovers. Nick is protective of his friends so Emily turns to Sandi’s sister, Tiffany, for answers. Tiffany’s life drastically changed in the aftermath of Sandi’s disappearance and she now works as a stripper in a local club. Emily tries to finesse her way into unlocking Tiffany’s secrets but will she find any useful information?

Secret Remains is an interesting mystery that is rather slow-paced. Unfortunately, the search for Sandi’s killer is overshadowed by Emily’s personal life.  Emily’s refusal to stay out of the investigation puts Nick in a very precarious position.  In order to mitigate the damage she has caused, Emily finds herself in harm’s way as she takes a big risk to find Sandi’s killer. The mystery is completely wrapped up by the novel’s conclusion, but what comes next for Nick and Emily remains uncertain. Fans of cozy mysteries will enjoy this latest addition to Jennifer Graeser Dornbush’s A Coroner’s Daughter Mystery series.

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Filed under A Coroner's Daughter Mystery Series, Contemporary, Crooked Lane Books, Jennifer Graeser Dornbush, Mystery, Rated C+, Review, Secret Remains