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Compare apples to apples...
on August 30, 2010
I'm a firm believer, when reviewing a book, in comparing a book to its predecessors. In this case, it's possible, because Kathy Reichs has written 12 previous Tempe Brennan novels.
The story she writes here, which takes place in locations from Montreal to North Carolina to Hawaii, involves a whole lot of different issues. Auto-erotic deaths, MIA/KIA's from Vietnam, shark-bitten bodies, Samoan gangs, daughters-with-problems, and an inactive love life are only a few of the diverse things Reichs touches on in "Spider Bones". The thing is, that as disconcerting as all this in-coming might be to a casual Reichs' reader, her fans come to expect it from her novels. I can't exactly compare Reichs' work with, say, Leo Tolstoy's, because she doesn't write as well. No one expects her to produce "War and Peace". She writes with workman-like prose and very odd plot lines. And does so fairly well.
It would be difficult to easily describe the plot of "Spider Bones". As I wrote above, there's a whole lot of "in-coming" and the reader never knows what's coming next. Reichs has the interesting/irritating habit of ending her chapters in cliff-hanging language. It's Reichs trademark and is present in every one of her books I've read.
"Spider Bones" is a good read for the Kathy Reichs fan. It might not appeal to more casual readers, but it is a good addition to her book list.