Bare Bones Hardcover – Large Print, Jul 1 2003
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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."
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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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.
The story begins with Tempe and Andrew Ryan looking forward to spending a romantic vacation together away from the pressure of their professions. But once again their romantic interlude is scuttled when their expertise is required.
At the scene of a small plane crash, Tempe is needed to investigate and identify the remains. While buried up to her neck in dead bodies, other cases are sent her way in the form of sub-plots: one is the charred body of a new born and the other is a foul discovery by her hyperactive dog Boyd. Naturally, Tempe pursues various leads and puts her life on the line to find the truth.
The story in general is quite witty and offers many complicated facets. Some may feel keeping track of the many suspects and victims of the numerous cases taxing. Nevertheless the author skilfully brings everything together, with a narrative that is rich in medical details and a style of writing that is snappy, shrewd and humorous.
Ms Reichs has given us another novel with just the right blend of action, suspense, grisly descriptions and romance.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
A very good novel that has a bit of everything. I love temperance brennan. Kathy Reichs has a gift of writing this character.Published 18 days ago by Sean Talbot
We loved the series, and it prompted us to buy each 'Bones' novel as it was available. This was excellent.Published 6 months ago by R. W. SIMPSON
I have been reading this series for a bit and love it! I suggest it to everyone who liked murder mystery booksPublished 19 months ago by Steven Heron
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
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 morePublished on Oct. 17 2007 by Nicola Mansfield
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 morePublished on Nov. 4 2004 by Ez
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