By: Kathy Reichs
Scribner, New York
In her first novel, Deja Dead, Kathy Reichs
introduced the mystery-reading public to her heroine and protagonist,
Dr. Temperance Brennan, and to herself!
For Brennan is a fictional professor anthropology at the
University of North Carolina at Charlotte and “moonlights” as a
consulting forensic anthropologist for the Laboratoire de Sciences
Judiciares et de Medecine Legale for Quebec.
Coincidentally, Dr. Kathy Reichs is a professor of anthropology
at UNC-Charlotte and consults for the same Quebec forensic laboratory.
She is also forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief
Medical Examiner for the State of North Carolina, as well as one of
fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of
Forensic Anthropology and is on the Executive Committee of the Board of
Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.
In other words, she knows what she’s writing about and she does
write a mean mystery!
In this fourth Temperance Brennan novel, the reader
is introduced in very graphic detail to the investigatory methodologies
and procedures that follow an airplane crash.
Tempe Brennan is called in to aid in the recovery and
identification of victims at a crash site in rural North Carolina. The descriptions are not for the faint of heart or the
squeamish, but they are thoroughly fascinating. Not long into the
investigation, questions begin to surface regarding the nature of the
crash itself—was it an accident or was it sabotage, and if the latter,
was it because of the presence of a certain passenger or passengers on
the flight? The mystery
deepens as Tempe Brennan also discovers within the crash context a body
part that does not seem to belong to any of the crash victims!
Kathy Reichs strews red herrings all over the landscape as her
heroine doggedly searches for answers to this horrific disaster, risking
both her career and her very life in the pursuit of the truth.
It should be obvious by now that I am a big fan of
Kathy Reichs and her gritty heroine.
All four of the Tempe Brennan mysteries are taut, gut-wrenching
thrillers that will likely keep the reader reading until late into the
night. I am greatly
impressed with Dr. Reich’s ability to spin a thrilling tale, but I
also feel at the end of a Tempe Brennan novel that I’ve learned a
great deal, not only about the science of forensic anthropology, but
also about its practitioners.
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