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(Dr. Schwartzman #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  13,214 Ratings  ·  944 Reviews
Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman has finally found a place to belong. As the medical examiner for the San Francisco Police Department, working alongside homicide detective Hal Harris, she uncovers the tales the dead can’t tell about their final moments. It is a job that gives her purpose—and a safe haven from her former life at the hands of an abusive husband. Although it’s been ...more
Kindle Edition, 402 pages
Published October 1st 2016 by Thomas & Mercer
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How is this supposed to be a psychological thriller when the main character, Anna, predicts every move her psycho ex-lover will do or have possibly done, and it usually ends up being accurate? Two of the major problems I had with this book: everything was too convenient and the characters were flat. Thank goodness this was free from Kindle First.

Spencer, her former abusive lover, plots, murders multiple people, and stalks so perfectly that it should be literally impossible to do all at once, esp
Jan 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Exhumed BY Danielle Girard was a thriller that I got through I liked it but wouldn't say I was rushing to get back to.

The plot was easily worked out & the perp predictable, although Dr Annabelle Swartz men was a strong character, the author showed her weaknesses she has a psychopathic ex husband Spencer Macdonald who's character was well written he made the story as he was always chasing Annabelle making her life a total nightmare.

For Me Annabelle had too many issues involving her mother &am
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was my first book by Danielle Girard and I will say it will not be my last. Her Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman character is my new favorite strong female and a great read. She has left an abusive husband who always finds and stalks her wherever she may go and is so good at it there is never any clue as to the fact it is him. Her own mother would not even believe her. Now a dead ringer to her has turned up dead. She thought she could call this home until a cop she has become friends with turns up ...more
Sep 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing

This is an exceptional read, once you get started it's hard to put down. I will tell you how I chose my Kindle First for September, first it was listed as a Psychological Thriller, one of my favorites. Second there were several of Danielle Girard books listed with reviews of 4.5 and higher, that made my decision easy.

Annabelle Swartzman is a good character (a little quirky, very likeable), she draws you into her story from the first few pages. This will be an excellent series, highly reco
Sep 05, 2016 rated it did not like it
I truly wanted to like this book but the writing is so bad, the characters so flat and the medical terminology so forced that I only made it through the first two chapters. On a positive note, it was free with Amazon Prime so I didn't waste any $$ on it.
The Badger
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
I could not disagree more with some of my "esteemed" co-readers (that word is facetiously emphasized for those who have the audacity to complain that a book whose main character is a medical examiner has too much medical terminology). Let's examine how the novel might read without the "big words." Also, I understand that some of you took issue with the examiner being called "Schwartzman," as it is a "big word" (I'm going to briefly point the irony that many of the same people bemoaning the impos ...more
K Allen
Sep 13, 2016 rated it it was ok
Disappointing Second Half

I totally agree with another reviewer - halfway through the book I would have still given it 5 stars, but it all went downhill from there and I started to skim through it just to get to the end. Although I wasn't overly sympathetic with Schwartzman's character (why aren't we calling her Anna by the way??) I still enjoyed the book in the beginning because it was suspenseful and I really wanted to know how everything would tie together at the end. But halfway through the b
Oct 28, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Evidently the book I downloaded entitled “Exhume” was not the same book others read. The book I read could have been a dependable mystery/suspense novel. Not great, but good. It had a tried and true plot line going - wife being stalked by her crazy husband that she ran away from years ago. The main character had an interesting profession - pathologist - and it took place in two cities that fiction loves - San Francisco and Charleston.

Instead this became almost a retelling of the story of Job. I
Sarah Joint
Oct 02, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman is called to the scene of a murder. As a medical examiner, she prepares to make an initial assessment of the body. But seeing the woman lay as if sleeping while clutching yellow flowers gives her pause. She was just sent yellow flowers (her least favorite) by her estranged husband. The victim has a passing resemblance to herself. She's even wearing a copy of the custom necklace the doctor never takes off. Is her ex escalating from his usual notes and occasional phone ca ...more
Jan 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, kindle-first
3.5 stars

The book started off really well, definitely a page-turner with some cliff-hanger chapter endings that made it really hard to put down. After a while, the plot line started to get harder to swallow. The bad guy was just too smart and poor Anna kept having one bad thing happen to her after the next (give her a break already!). I still thought the second half of the book was quite entertaining. Overall it's a good read when you're looking for some brainless excitement. There's nothing wro
Lynda Kelly
Sep 05, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: deleted
I usually enjoy this author's books and so when I saw one by her on this month's Kindle First list I grabbed it quick. However, I've packed it in at only just isn't for me.
I wasn't liking the fact that Annabelle was always referred to as Schwartzman throughout. Seems odd. The main police personnel were called Hal and Hailey, again I found it odd she picked such similar names. It has a surfeit of medical terminology that had to keep being looked up and really wasn't neccessary in that m
Sep 28, 2016 rated it it was ok
Very flat characters with a whiny protagonist. Everything that happens to her is a little too convenient, a little too easy for her to get out of. Some details are hammered over and over again, many not even pertinent to the plot. Did I really need to be told over and over how large Hal is? Even how scared Schwartman is gets explained over and over. While the past abuse she suffered and her present fear are an integral part of the story, after a while I wanted to scream 'yes, I get it; she's ter ...more
Oct 01, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2-star, kindle-first
The story is tedious and far-fetched. So is the main character, a super-smart but emotionally fragile medical examiner (view spoiler). Huh? This book was a Kindle First choice for September and 2 stars is extremely generous. The series could improve, I suppose, if Dr. Schwartzman got her act together.
Nov 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a long book so I decided to keep track of my thoughts as I went along because I knew I would forget stuff. It turned out to be a lot of thoughts, but it makes sense—long book = long review. Fasten your seatbelts, friends.

About 35%

This is going to be a long book.

Okay, looks like we’ve got two different storylines going on here—but as this isn’t an episode of CSI, they’ve got to converge at some point. I’ll wait.

Oooh, alternating POVs. If I really felt invested in Schwartzman as a characte
Feb 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars, rounded up!! This was such a great story!
I had a hard time buying the premise of this book, which is that an overachieving third-year med student went on a date with an older man who then raped her, and so of course she somehow got roped into marrying him because I guess rapists are just that controlling; anyway, she's in this abusive marriage for several years before she finally escapes, moves across the country to finish medical school and eventually becomes a coroner, all the while her ex (to whom she's technically still married) is ...more
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Danielle Girard's Exhume is the story of a frightened, damaged, abused woman, Dr. Annabelle Schwartman, whose (almost) ex-husband, Spencer, has been stalking her for seven years--since she left him for severe emotional abuse and the murder of her unborn child. While hiding from him, trying to avoid anything that would allow him to re-capture her, she builds a life as an accomplished and well-regarded San Francisco Medical Examiner, hoping to have a quiet and normal life--

"Schwartzman preferred s
Robert Freeman
Sep 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was a free Kindle First book for me. Normally, I don't read murder mysteries, but Kindle First has been great for trying out genres and books that are outside my comfort zone. This was one of the better ones.

This is the kind of book I imagine Richard Castle of the TV show Castle writes: a suspenseful murder mystery/thriller that is both competently written and kind of dumb at the same time.

It features several tropes of the genre that normally turn me off:

1) the protagonist carries deep psyc
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
I got this book through Kindle First. It's not amazing by any stretch, but it's full of suspense and keeps you reading to the end. I also liked that the main character is a medical examiner. There should be more books about medical examiners. They're always kind of quirky, because you'd have to be to pick working with dead bodies over working with alive ones, right?

The descriptions of the abusive ex-husband made my skin crawl and had me looking over my shoulder for nighttime attackers. I have no
Rochelle Begovatz
Sep 04, 2016 rated it it was ok

I did not like the character Annabelle. She was so whiny, dull and boring. The storyline line was totally unbelievable and far fetched.
Jan 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Very predictable, with lots of plot holes and a cartoonish villain
NOTE: I received a free copy of the book from NetGalley for reviewing purposes. All opinions expressed are my own and are not influenced in any way.

My main problem with this novel was that I just could not muster much sympathy for the main character. I didn’t understand how she could allow herself to be controlled and manipulated by Spencer MacDonald and her own mother to the extent she endured when Annabelle Schwartzman lived in South Carolina. Making the main character a “southern woman” earns
Malina Skrobosinski
Sep 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
"Because Spencer enjoys scaring me? No. That's too simple. He had something larger in mind, but she had no idea what his plan was..."

While reading this book I couldn't help but be taken back to when I was a young girl and I had just seen the movie Fear starring Mark Wahlberg and Reese Witherspoon for the first time. That movie instilled such terror in me, and in many ways, so did this novel. Was it overly terrifying, no, of course not, but if you stop to think about what it would be like to
Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A Medical Examiner is Stalked by her Former Husband

Seven years ago, Dr. Annabelle, although she prefers Anna, Schwartzman, left Spencer, her abusive husband. Starting over was a struggle, but she finished medical school and now has a job in Seattle as a medical examiner. She loves helping the homicide team solve cases. Being part of a team makes her feel safe, but when one of the cases brings back the horror of her married life, she panics.

The murdered woman looks like her, and when a necklace
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, page-turner
I am not sure why this book was entitled "Exhume." No dead bodies were dug up that I recall. The story started out with some great prose from the main character's POV at work as a medical examiner in San Francisco. Then it deteriorated into totally implausible plot twists. My huge pet peeve is when a smart person does incredibly stupid things, which Anna Schwartzman, the medical examiner does. How does someone make it through pre-med and med school in 6 years, then marry a guy who (view spoiler) ...more
Oct 23, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Ok, my heart was pounding more than once as I read this one. Schwartzman is a great character! She feels real, as do many of the others. Is the mystery/thriller solid? I rather doubt that bad guys of the sort we find here actually exist in real life--the lengths to which he goes, not the level of his evil--that we know exists. None the less, even as I knew it was preposterous, Girard pretty much grabbed me and didn't let go until I finished.

Did Schwartzman make some incredibly bad moves? Of cour
Jaina S
Nov 19, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Gotta stop getting sucked in by the 'free' books of Kindle First. Yes I may have to spend a few dollars for a book actually worth reading BUT I won't waste the time reading stuff like this that SHOULD be a 'discovery' but instead is just kind of lackluster and lame. This one at least was interesting enough to finish, but if you have any other choices I wouldn't bother with this.
Sep 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A great read

I had a hard time putting this book down. I am looking forward to a sequel. Hopefully there will be a happy ending to this story
Aug 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This book gave me chills!

Medical examiner Dr. Annabelle Schwartzman is called upon to investigate a woman's murder and is shocked by similarities to her own past that she can't ignore. Is her psychotic ex-husband behind the crime?

Seven years ago, she managed the impossible and escaped the controlling man she'd married too late to save her unborn child, something she'd have to live with forever.

Now he was back.

Let the games begin.

This story is an intense thriller that will keep you on the edge of
Apr 09, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall a fun thriller. There were a few flaws in the story, like a kidnapped person gets a phone a decides not to call the police until they untie themselves. Little things like that drive me crazy, but it's not so overwhelming that you can't looks past it and enjoy the whole story. Also there were strange references to medical terms. I know they were there because she was a medical examiner, but they always felt forced. I think even the author thought so because they stopped half way through t ...more
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Almost two decades ago, Danielle decided she wanted to try to write a book. She set out to write something sweet, maybe even romantic, but on page 5, someone got shot and it's been that way ever since.

The Barry-award winning author lives with her husband, who is careful never to lurk in dark corners, and their two children. They split their time between San Francisco and the northern Rockies.


Other books in the series

Dr. Schwartzman (3 books)
  • Excise (Dr. Schwartzman, #2)
  • Expose (Dr. Schwartzman, #3)
“Sam crossed to the other set of stairs and moved up them quickly. As it wasn’t proper for men to see women walking up the stairs, where they might accidentally catch the view of her ankle or, heaven forbid, her calf, many of Charleston’s older homes were built with two sets of stairs.” 0 likes
“course, she told her husband that it wouldn’t be the same without me, he talked to Spencer, and I was on the list.” That was always the trick with Spencer. If she said no to one of his colleagues,” 0 likes
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