Dr. Heller, the pathologist you’ve met in my Morgan family novels books, most recently in I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO, plays a huge role in providing leads and evidence in the crimes the Morgan family have investigated. While in those novels Georgia, whose story I tell in VULNERABLE,  holds sway in evaluating and gathering evidence on site, the pathologist holds the keys to what can’t be seen or proven at the crime scene. That means all things related to bodily fluids and tissue and requires exactitude and being able to check the accuracy of the many tests performed.


Mary Burton VULNERABLE image hi resPathologists oversee autopsies and make the determination of how a person died.  They are the Maura Isles (Rizzoli and Isles) and “Cam” Saroyan (Bones) in the real world without the stylists and glamour shots. And their role doesn’t begin and end in the lab. They supervise crime scenes, work with investigators and lawyers, and end up in court explaining medical terms and procedures to juries.


Here’s a look at Dr. Heller at work in I’LL NEVER LET YOU GO.

Mary Burton I'LL NEVER LET YOU GO cover hi res


Dr. Heller stood at the head of the stainless-steel table. She wore a gown, gloves, a cap and clear goggles . . . She kept Deirdre’s face and slashed throat covered and exposed the right arm, marred with five gashes, bloodless and gaping. “She sustained injuries on her right side, as you can see, and her palm has a slice down the center. That’s a defensive wound . . .”


Dr. Heller rolled back the sheet a little farther and then moved the body to its left side. A dep gash marred the flesh above the kidney. “This was the killing cut. It lacerated her kidney and the inferior vena cava, a major blood vein. She would have bled out in a matter of minutes.”


. . . She moved her magnifying glass closer to the body and, with tweezers, plucked several blond hairs from one of the wounds. She dropped the hair in a bag and handed it to Alex. He held it up to the light, examining the strands of hair. “Get these to Forensics.”


“Maybe you got lucky.”