My copy of this lovely book was a hardback I checked out from the local library nearly a week ago. It was printed by Scribner which is a trademark of Simon and Schuster Inc. It was copyrighted in 1997 by Kathleen J. Reichs. It’s the first of her books starring Dr. Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The television series called Bones was loosely based on the book series written by Kathy Reichs.
Before I go on, I want to tell you what forensic anthropology is – for those of you who don’t know.
Generally speaking forensic anthropology is the examination of human skeletal remains for law enforcement agencies to help with the recovery of human remains, determine the identity of unidentified human remains, interpret trauma, and estimate time since death. … Anthropology alone is the study of man.
A coroner does something similar : The coroner’s jurisdiction is limited to determining who the deceased was and how, when and where they came by their death. When the death is suspected to have been either sudden with unknown cause, violent, or unnatural, the coroner decides whether to hold a post-mortem examination and, if necessary, an inquest.
Now that I’ve helped define the difference between the two jobs and thus, have shown the two can assist each other without repeating things, I’ll go on with my review. If you have any questions, feel free to post them in the comments below, and I’ll answer as best I can.
Now, Dr. Temperance (Tempe to her friends) Brennan has been in Canada for a year working for the Laboratoire de Medecine Legal in the province of Quebec, but she hasn’t been involved in anything major until she’s called out the the site of a body dump. The body has been skillfully dismembered and wrapped in plastic trash bags before being buried. The torso has been disfigured horribly. This is only the first as Temperance becomes involved in what turns out to be a string of similar deaths.
Making life difficult for our heroine is Luc Claudel, a Homicide Investigator who seems to have it in for her. His partner, Michel Charbonneau, tries to assist. Temperance does get some added assistance from Andrew Ryan, another investigator who caught one of the cases she has managed to link to the one she was called out on. It doesn’t help Temperance goes investigating on her own and draws the attention of the murderer!
Mingled in with the investigation is Temperance’s relationship with her close friend from grad school, Gabriel (Gabby) Macaulay. Gabby is busy with a research study involving the local prostitutes, and she comes to Temperance full of fear for a man who is stalking her. Gabby’s state of mind is erratic even as she tries to take care of herself despite Temperance’s objections and repeated offers of help.
The story flows like a river from one end to the other. At times, it becomes tumultuous with action and suspense before smoothing out again, but it never wavers or runs off in different directions leaving sidelines to bottom out.
Characters are well developed, even the secondary ones, and I actually cared about them – even got mad at Claudel for how he was treating our heroine!
I highly recommend this book for those of you who like murder mysteries!
See you on the flipside and don’t forget your towel and sonic screwdriver!!