Saturday, November 6, 2010

Book Review: Bare Bones

Bare Bones: A Novel (Temperance Brennan Novels)
Author: Kathy Reichs
Title: Bare Bones
Publisher: Pocket Star
Publish Date: May 25, 2004
Rating: 4 Stars
Book Blurb: Feisty forensic anthropologist Temperance (Tempe) Brennan is supposed to be on vacation, but body parts keep turning up. At the start of her sixth adventure, she's awaiting the arrival of her current flame, Quebecois sleuth Andrew Ryan, so she can head for the beach near her hometown of Charlotte, N.C. Before he shows up, she's called in to use her world-class forensics skills when a local janitor's infant granddaughter is found dead and charred in an oven. Then some strange, decomposing remains (" `Human?' `I'm not sure' ") are discovered by Brennan's dog during a barbecue at a local lakeside resort. Ryan finally arrives, but Brennan's vacation is indefinitely put on hold when a small plane crashes nearby. Two people are dead, and her expertise is required yet again ("The skull had suffered massive communitive fracturing on impact. The fire had done the rest"). Brennan eventually realizes that all three cases are linked to a drug-smuggling ring that also dabbles in poaching exotic animals. As she pursues her investigations, she is forced to work with "Skinny" Slidell, a redneck cop who rubs her the wrong way, but tension is defused by the presence of Ryan, who gamely gives up his vacation to pitch in. He matches Brennan quip for quip, and Tempe's dog, Boyd, provides extra comic relief. Reichs has built a reputation on cut-to-the-chase writing and swift plotting, and this latest effort delivers everything her fans have come to expect.

Review: This is the first Temperance Brennan novel I've read. I took it out of the lending library at the Y because it was a "Bones" novel. What a surprise! Brennan in the books is nothing like Brennan on the TV Show and in this case, I like TV Brennan better.

So perhaps I should say, if you haven't read the series and watch the show, it might be best to skip on the books. The show is very loosely based on the books, and when I say loosely I mean, hanging by a thread. 

Bare Bones was a bit dry, but the plot moved along enough that it keep my attention throughout. I couldn't have used a bit more comic relief that it had, most of which came from Boyd, the chow, and Andrew Ryan, her love interest. (Yup..there's no Booth here)

Reichs does a great job at keeping you guessing too. As the story progresses there's really more to the mystery than first expected, in fact, there's several mysteries going on here. Not once will you guess who the real killer is. She gives nothing away until the last page is turned.

I don't think I've read a mystery where I couldn't figure out the whodunit until the end of the book.

I really enjoyed this book even though it was vastly different from the TV show. I look forward to reading more from this series.


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