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An audio version (above) is available from Audible Books.

Book Clubs

If your book club chooses to read this book, thank you. Below are a few questions that may help stimulate conversation.

  • Of the many cases that are described, which ones were the most interesting to you and why?


  • Do you think this book would be any different if it was set somewhere other than Marin County, California?


  • Which of the following surprised you most? 1) Many coroners aren't required to be physicians or have any medical training. 2) In some states, such as California, coroners complete the same basic training as police officers and back up police in emergencies, which means that they carry a gun while on duty. 3) Coroners count every pill in every bottle they find at a death scene. 4) In many instances the coroner, not the police, notifies next of kin following a death.


  • Do you think Ken Holmes is typical of most coroners in the United States? Why or why not?


  • At the end of the book, Holmes talks about the lessons he learned over his long career and his attitudes regarding life and death. What are your own attitudes about life and death, and did they change in the course of reading this book?

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