There was a time in my reading life where I devoured every 'forensic' novel I could get my hands on - this seemed to coincide with my love of certain television shows of the same ilk. Well, my interest in the TV shows waned and a few of the forensic authors also fell by the wayside. Okay, one of them fell in the ditch.
But not Kathy Reichs. Although I haven't read the last few books, I looked forward to picking up her latest book (#16) to feature forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan - Bones of the Lost. (Yes, she's the basis of the 'Bones' TV show. As is Reichs, who is a forensic anthropologist herself. Which adds a lot to her books!)
Tempe has a set of what may be ancient Peruvian dog bones at the lab waiting to be looked at. They've been confiscated by US Customs from a US war vet who now specializes in the 'import' business.
But, when a young girl, killed by an apparent hit and run, is brought in, she takes precedence. What was she doing in the seedy part of town she was found in? Why did she have a piece of ID from a dead man in her purse? And no ID of her own?
And finally, her ex-husband Pete begs a favour of her - will she go to Afghanistan to look at a set of bones and testify at a military trial. The incentive? It's at the same camp where their daughter Katy is stationed.
Three seemingly disparate cases that Reichs manages to weave together by the final pages.
What keeps me reading this series is the main character. I like her. I don't always agree with everything she says or does, but she's real and believable. Her co-protagonist Detective 'Skinny' Slidell is not warm and fuzzy, but is a great addition to the series. The two of them are opposites but play off each other well. And Slidell's one-liners were great. Tempe's personal life continues to be in upheaval and gives the character more depth. But love interest Ryan doesn't make an appearance until the final pages. And he arrives with bad news - which may indeed be a set up for the next book.
Reichs has again written a solid mystery, using current topics and headlines to make it time relevant. Solid, but not really new. It seems like I have read this plot line in one form or another already. And maybe that's why it's only a 3.5/5 for me. Because it's solid and somewhat predictable in that we know Tempe is going to solve it all by the end. And this was a bit of a sticky point for me - Tempe seems he** bent on solving everything on her own, damn the torpedoes. She seems to be stepping on detective toes more than using her forensic skills. But hey, it made for good action scenes!
But, that's not to say I didn't enjoy it - I did. Bones of the Lost could be read as a stand alone, but I'd recommend starting at the beginning of the series and getting to know the character right from the start. Read an excerpt of Bones of the Lost. You can find Kathy Reichs on Twitter and on Facebook.