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Bare Bones [Large Print] [Hardcover]

Kathy Reichs
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (60 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 1 2003 Reichs, Kathy (Large Print)

From number one internationally bestselling author Kathy Reichs comes a masterful new novel of cutting-edge forensics and gripping suspense.


It's a summer of sizzling heat in Charlotte where Dr. Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist for the North Carolina medical examiner, looks forward to her first vacation in years. A romantic vacation. She's almost out the door when the bones start appearing.

A newborn's charred remains turn up in a woodstove.

A small plane crashes in a North Carolina cornfield on a sunny afternoon. Both pilot and passenger are burned beyond recognition. And what is the mysterious black substance covering the bodies?

Most puzzling of all are the bones discovered at a remote farm outside Charlotte. The remains seem to be of animal origin, but Tempe is shocked when she gets them to her lab.

With help from a special detective friend, Tempe must investigate a poignant and terrifying case that comes at the worst possible moment. Daughter Katy has a new boyfriend who Tempe fears may have something to hide. And important personal decisions face Tempe. Is it time for emotional commitment? Will she have the chance to find out?

Everything must wait on the bones. Why are the X rays and DNA so perplexing? Who is trying to keep Tempe from the answers? Someone is following her and Katy. That someone must be stopped before it's too late.

With the riveting authenticity that only world-class forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs can bring to her fiction, Bare Bones thrills us to its pulsating end. Reichs proves once again that she is the consummate crime-writing star.


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From Amazon

"As I was packaging what remained of the dead baby, the man I would kill was burning pavement north toward Charlotte."

With this opening sentence, Kathy Reichs serves notice that her heroine, Temperance Brennan, is in for one of her scariest, most gruesome adventures yet. As fans of this popular series already know, Tempe is a forensic anthropologist: an expert in the human form (especially bones) who helps solve crimes. The abovementioned infant is only the first in a series of grisly remains, both human and animal, that Tempe must sort through and decode. Meanwhile, as several seemingly unrelated cases begin to intertwine, her sleuthing puts her in the crosshairs of a very nasty stalker who hides behind an e-mail alias.

Reichs knows how to keep the narrative ball rolling with a canny mix of plot developments, character delineation, and scientific detail, all relayed in Tempe's smart, breezy, sarcastic voice. In fact, Bare Bones has a few too many characters and plot lines for Reichs--or most readers--to keep perfect track of. But it's a fun ride anyway, enlivened by some steamy romantic scenes and some fascinating, appalling information about the illicit trade in endangered wildlife (did you know that bears' gall bladders fetch more money per ounce than cocaine?). Bare Bones is a crisp, enjoyable read that cements Kathy Reichs's standing as the best forensic-thriller writer at work today. --Nicholas H. Allison --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.

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AS I WAS PACKAGING WHAT REMAINED OF THE DEAD baby, the man I would kill was burning pavement north toward Charlotte. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating Suspenseful Mystery July 21 2003
Format:Hardcover
In her sixth Temperance Brennan novel, art once again imitates life as Kathy Reichs writes about forensic anthropologist Brennan, who, like Reichs, is employed in North Carolina and Quebec. When Tempe goes to a picnic near Charlotte, North Carolina with her college-aged daughter Katy, Boyd, Tempe's estranged husband's dog, digs up skeletal remains. With the discovery of human bones amidst bear remains, Tempe's anticipated vacation with Montreal detective Andrew Ryan, comes to a sudden halt.
With the beach trip on the back burner, Ryan joins Tempe, as she investigates the burned remains of the baby belonging to a drug dealer's girlfriend, a fiery plane crash, and more bear and human remains in a latrine pit near Boyd's initial skeletal discovery. While the various investigative sites seem unrelated, Tempe's intuition tells her that they are all somehow connected, as she comes across a complex weave of drug trafficking and illegal exporting of animal parts.
Ms. Reichs' technical knowledge of forensic anthropology adds fascinating information to this novel chock full of murder, mystery, and a dash of romance. With so many twist and turns and death threats against Tempe, this novel is a sure winner with fans who want a no-holds barred suspenseful mystery.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Bareley worthwhile, but what next? June 14 2004
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Series in this genre always seem to decline over time. The plots become more extreme, and the resolutions become more abrupt. The hero or heroine always seems to be stalked by the villain, creating an increasingly odd strain of the stories' verisimilitude. Reichs hasn't quite descended to the level that some of her peers have reached, but you can see the path she's on.
The book's flaws overshadow the novel forensic conundrum of the book: what events could possibly account for this strange mixture of human and animal bones that have been discovered? The basic ideas for a clever mystery were present, so you can still take away hope from that Reichs may yet be able to assemble a novel as good as her first.
The biggest problem with the book is that the last two chapters move too quickly and suddenly to resolution. The final chapter resorts to particularly hackish mechanisms for explaining the details of the story for anybody who still cared.
Furthermore, Reichs is going to have to work out a new trick for raising the level of menace in her books without resorting to having a villain stalk Brennan. At the very least, couldn't we have enjoyed our schadenfreude by having that annoying Boyd (the dog) become a hapless victim of circumstances? Maybe Brennan's personal risk could at least be incidental to her proximity to potential victims. It's not our job to solve this problem for the author, but she clearly needs some new tricks for building the suspense.
Finally, I suggest that the series has one other pitfall. After reading several of the Tempe Brennan books, it's clear to me that Charlotte (as it's protrayed) simply isn't as interesting as Montreal. Since this book is set entirely in and around the heroine's Southern home, the setting doesn't help to enhance the story as well as it has in others of Reichs' books.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Bare Bones June 4 2004
By Spike
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta books declined in quality as the workings of the plots became crazily centred on the personality of Scarpetta. Scarpetta increasingly seemed to be a manic expression of the author herself, or at least what the author would like herself to be.
When Kathy Reichs's first Temperance Brennan novel appeared it was a refreshing change from the monster that Cornwell's work had become. It seemed to be a bit impudent of her to enter the forensic field in which Cornwell had had so much success. Reichs got away with it because she was a qualified professional in the field whereas Cornwell just helped out in the office.
Unfortunately, Reichs has gone down the same road of having plots centred on the main character/narrator and allowing too great an author/character identification. Just check out the biographies. Reichs was born in Chicago, is a qualified forensic anthropologist who divides her time between Quebec and North Carolina. What a coincidence - that is Temperance Brennan's biography too! I know tyro writers are advised to write about what they know but this is madness. The Copyright Page has the usual stuff about 'the right of Kathy Reichs to be identified as the author of this work' but also says 'Copyright Temperance Brennan'. There's something weird going on here! At the end we have a chatty little piece about the real life incidents that inspired the book. Does the real-life forensic anthropologist chase after dangerous criminals and even kill them? I think not. Reichs is selling her fantasy life to us.
At least Cornwell maintained some distance from Scarpetta in that Scarpetta is a heterosexual and Cornwell is a lesbian. There is far more than I would want to know about Brennan's sex life.
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2.0 out of 5 stars confusing and unengrossing May 3 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Like others, I found too many characters, sub-plots, and confusing detail to be able to get engrossed. I suspect the author did too, as she twice resorted to having her characters review the situation thus far, on one occasion, having Tempe write a character and event list - a device I found clumsy. Disappointingly she also seemed to end several chapters with a line that set the scene for an exciting big "event" to apparently immediately follow - that didn't. Well, not until later, by then too late, and a bit disappointing. The author also over uses the "eye rolling" lines - they are in almost every other chapter. Finally, the end rant was overkill (excuse the pun). As another reviewer suggested, it would have been better confined to an epilogue. I did however, very much like her descriptions of the dog, Boyd/Hooch, I thought those very funny, well observed, and uncontrived. Full of worthy aspirations, sorry to say I found this book quite a disappointing addition to an otherwise first class, enjoyable series.
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Most recent customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars great book
I have been reading this series for a bit and love it! I suggest it to everyone who liked murder mystery books
Published 2 months ago by Steven Heron
4.0 out of 5 stars Quite Witty
Temperance Brennan book 6

The story begins with Tempe and Andrew Ryan looking forward to spending a romantic vacation together away from the pressure of their... Read more
Published on Aug. 8 2009 by Toni Osborne
2.0 out of 5 stars Deceiving
A so so mystery. Not fast enough. I got hooked past the middle of the book. I almost abandoned it. I must say I prefer thrillers. I agree with Ez's review.
Published on Dec 31 2007 by Jojos
4.0 out of 5 stars More of What You Expect from Reichs
This was a particularly good entry in the Temperance Brennan series. With a first sentence like that I was hooked and read the first half of the book in one setting. Read more
Published on Oct. 17 2007 by Nicola Mansfield
4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Boring
Forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan investigates when a newborn's bones are found in a woodstove, there's a Cessna crash, and bones are found in a remote area. Read more
Published on Nov. 4 2004 by Ez
4.0 out of 5 stars Finally! Tempe gets some lovin'
But I want more! I have read almost all the Tempe Brennan novels now, and kept reading them to see if she would hook up with a hunk of burnin' love. Read more
Published on Aug. 9 2004 by Marni
1.0 out of 5 stars A Disappointment
I've read Reichs's previous novels and enjoyed them. I bought this one when it came out in paperback, expecting another page-turner.
It wasn't. Read more
Published on Aug. 2 2004
3.0 out of 5 stars Obnoxious Tempe
Although I have enjoyed the plots and the science in Ms. Reich's storys, I find Temperance Brennan to be a very unpleasant character. Read more
Published on July 18 2004 by J. Pike
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
This book is categorized as a suspense-thriller, which is interesting because it contains barely any suspense and hardly any thrills. Read more
Published on June 17 2004 by Melanie
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not as good.
Kathy's novels have slowly changed from a real thriller to a boring, drag-on, non-thrilling, self-important acnedote of Temperance Brennan. Read more
Published on June 8 2004
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