Book Review: Bones Never Lie

Bones Never Lie (Temperance Brennan, #17)Bones Never Lie

by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

View my other reviews

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.

More reviews:

Gates of Fire

Horse Soldiers: American Ingenuity Outsmarts the Enemy Again

Like Military Thrillers? You’ll Like Jeff Edwards

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.

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18 thoughts on “Book Review: Bones Never Lie

  1. Pingback: Top 10 Book Reviews in 2014 | WordDreams...

      • Hmm – I just reread them. Hard for me to tell out of context but as you’ve read the book, I’ll go with your take. I think that writers, like anyone who must deal with the “public,” have to appeal to taste that is more smarmy and one-liner in style than was required decades ago. There’s so much competition for attention – readers are consumers who buy trendy items, go to movies, vacation at hot spots, eat where they can be noticed, wear what the Ks wear, and garner much of their info from media – reality TV (a laugh but not for the reasons some people think,) Facebook, Twitter, You Tube, and Pinterest, among many others.


  2. Interesting review, Jacqui. I’ve never read any of Kathy Reich’s books but have a feeling I may have a couple on my bookshelf (I’ve got a very big bookshelf). You’re so right about characters needing to grow – no one ever stays the same. Your review reminded me of reading Misery a few weeks back. You’ve probably read it, but the part that reminded me of this is the main character (a writer) who is really sick of his leading lady and kills her off much to the chagrin of his readers. I often wonder if writers who have written a series get to this point with their characters. They take them as far as they can but just keep writing about them because they think that’s what the reader wants (and it brings in the $$$).


    • I like the way LJ Sellers is doing her series on Detective Jackson. She introduced a new fascinating character–Agent Dallas–in one of Jackson’s stories and is now building a series around her. Sellers did such a masterful job of rolling her new character out, I knew even reading her cameo appearance, she could handle an entire series.


  3. I have read a number of Kathy Reich’s books but not for about seven years so have missed the new ones. I absolutely loved them. What a disappointment this one doesn’t stand up to the rest. 😦 Could be normal after so many books, couldn’t it?


  4. In the acclaimed author’s thrilling new novel, Brennan is at the top of her game in a battle of wits against the most monstrous adversary she has ever encountered.


  5. I tried one of her books years ago and couldn’t get along with it. Having said that I love the TV show – Bones is one of my favourites (though I’ll admit David Boreanaz has a lot to do with it!). I liked the review. I might go back and try the first novel again – it’s gathering dust somewhere on my shelf 🙂


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