book reviews

Book Review: Exhume

Exhume (Dr. Schwartzman, #1)Exhume

by Danielle Girard

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

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, 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 sutures. Staples were effective but seemed too industrial. The sutures were slower, and she enjoyed these last minutes with the victim, the time to fully process the death before contacting the investigator.”

“The dead did not spook her. Skin slippage, blistering, the blackness of putrefaction—those were all natural parts of death.”

Until he finds her, and this time he does more than stalk. As a string of murders develop, she becomes both more desperate and more hardened until she accepts that hiding and running will not solve her problem: There’s really only one way out.
This could be a typical-though-heartwrenching story of a woman whose abusive husband would rather destroy her than allow her to escape his grasp, but the author doesn’t let that happen. Girard is a gifted storyteller who knows just when to add an unexpected twist and a gut-wrenching plot point. She masterfully weaves in quite a bit of backstory to explain how both Schwartzman and her husband got to the point where something must explode.  There are times, I admit, when revisiting Schwartzman’s past slowed the plot down, but ultimately, it provided a deep understanding of how this damaged woman could do what she must do to escape.  I cheered when I felt her morph from victim to vanquisher.

Overall, a good read that will keep you turning pages no matter the hour.

–I received a free copy of this from Netgalley in return for my honest review.

More psychological thrillers:



Dark Mind

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.


28 thoughts on “Book Review: Exhume

  1. This sounds like a captivating thriller. It’s also quite interesting that the victim is a medical examiner. It puts into perspective that domestic violence can touch everybody regardless of social status.


  2. Wow, talk about grabbing my attention – a title like ‘Exhume’ can’t fail! Jacqui, a great review of an intriguing book, sounds rather raw in places and I’m nearly squirming reading the extract. I’m definitely interested though…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Sounds like an intriguing story but I wonder how someone can hide when in such a public position as a medical examiner, especially one who is well regarded and accomplished? I should probably leave my critique hat at home. I do like the quotes you selected, Jacqui.

    Liked by 1 person

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