by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I eagerly awaited Kathy Reichs’ Bones Never Lie (Random House 2014), latest in her series about forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan’s exploits as crime solver extraordinaire. I’ve read all eighteen books and watched every Bones TV show three times (maybe more–doesn’t matter). In this newest, a cold case out of Brennan’s Canadian office reignites–a serial killer who avoided capture and disappeared reappears, this time in North Carolina, Brennan’s US office locality, which means Tempe gets a second chance to stop this murderer.
One of the traits readers love about Reich’s novels is they are procedurals in identifying and decoding forensic details from scraps of evidence–primarily bones. Brennan studies and analyzes and comes up with mind-blowing conclusions all drawn from evidence, facts, and experience. She is part of a team, though it is typically peripheral to the results, almost tangential. In this book, I was disappointed that the crime fighting team–with the exception of Detective Ryan–acted more like a dysfunctional family. The trust and respect that bonds most teams in detective procedurals (such as LJ Sellers Wade Jackson Series and VI McDermid‘s Kate Brannigan), became backbiting tolerance through Brennan’s eyes.
This is intensified by Reich’s natural writer’s voice–somewhere between superior and selfish, tinged with a moral superiority–
“…hubbub of conversation emanating from fat-glutted brains.”
“…queried my health in a syrupy drawl. I assured her I was swell…”
Having said that, I knew this going in and have always loved the books within about a hundred pages. Not so this time. Too much snarkiness and not enough of Brennan’s trademark problem-solving. Plus, I don’t see any growth in Dr. Tempe Brennan. Detective Andy Ryan has evolved based on his experiences, but Brennan seems immune. I find that hard to believe. Overall–three stars with cautious optimism that the next book will be better.
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. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.