Mortal Remains

Being called to a bizarre drowning in Quebec is nothing new to Temperance Brennan.  Identifying the body as John Lowery, a man who had died in Vietnam and had been buried 40 years ago in North Carolina was more out of the ordinary.  Who was buried in Lowery’s grave if the body they had recovered was the real Lowery?  With only questions, Tempe sets out to find answers that lead her to an exhumation, then to Hawaii for reanalysis.  When another set of remains is discovered, this time accompanied by Lowery’s dog tags,  Temperance grits her teeth and digs in deep to get to the bottom of the puzzle.  Three bodies which can’t ALL be John Lowery, so who is the real one, who are the others and how were they involved in this?  Detective Andrew Ryan, ex-lover and friend joins her in Hawaii to help unravel the mystery, one that might just have Tempe at a loss for the first time.

It’s always a pleasure starting a new book about Temperence Brennan.  The only downside is, once you start, you can’t put it down until you’ve finished.  Mortal Remains is the latest installment in the series and it’s very good.  I always admire the character’s tenacity, intelligence and compassion along with her professionalism and need to find answers, especially for those who can no longer answer for themselves.

The pace of the story was spot on, tense and emotional and my only complaint would be the number of acronyms it contained but I do have to say they were always well explained, especially for people like me, who aren’t American or familiar with the agencies involved.

I can only imagine how much of Kathy Reich’s own history as a forensic anthropologist finds its way into her books but it must be considerable as the procedures and methods are explained in clear, rich detail.

It was good to see some familiar ‘faces’ from previous books and of course, how could the book be complete without Andrew Ryan.  His attempts at trying to reconnect with Tempe did make me laugh and I do feel a bit sorry for him but he did bring it on himself.  He really is going to have to try harder, our dear Tempe isn’t a pushover!

Having Tempe’s daughter along for the Hawaii trip was good even though she was grieving, she is a character I like a lot and enjoyed seeing more of her.  Adding Andrew’s daughter to the mix did get a little irritating at times but I guess was necessary for how some of the story played out.  I did want to smack her at times though!

A great read, full of the things we have come to know and love from Kathy Reichs.

Rating: ★★★½☆ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kathy Reichs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)

206 Bones

Temperance Brennan, a leading forensic anthropologist has her abilities called into question when an anonymous tip suggests she missed or deliberately hid evidence.   The case was routine but high profile, of a skeleton presumed to be a missing heiress.  Still dividing her time between Quebec and Charlotte, she tries to go about business as usual but as more corpses that could be linked turn up, she starts questioning herself as mistakes she has no recollection of start being revealed.  Is she losing her mind or is something more sinister at play.  Can Tempe save her reputation and solve the puzzle before she loses more than that, even her life.

I’ve enjoyed Kathy Reichs’ work for a long time, even before the Bones TV series started (which I also love).  I like that while the character of Temperance Brennan is present and she is also a leading forensic anthropologist, that’s where the similarity ends.  You can enjoy them both as separate entities with no confusion as to why Tempe would do something in the series, yet behave completely differently in the books.  They are entirely separate.

206 Bones draws you straight in with Temperance in a situation that is quite shocking.  Then it returns to normal day to day life and you assume it was either in the past or yet to come.  As the plot progresses, you get more glimpses of that situation and as they start getting closer to the current timeline, it has you on the edge of your seat, waiting to see what the next glimpse will be.  It was cleverly written and keeps you reading (and for me way up past my bedtime as I couldn’t put it down).

The character of Temperance is always well written and you get a good sense of who she is as a woman and a forensic anthropologist.  The technical information is always impeccable and you can only put that down to Kathy Reichs’ own career and knowledge giving her the ability to explain the jargon and procedures in easily understood terms.  The one thing I do find difficult and it’s not really a bad thing but the amount of French/Quebecois throws me a little but I can’t actually see any way round that since it is set in Quebec a large amount of time.  She does take time to translate as part of the story which helps, but it still jerks me out of the story sometimes.  Since that is my only mild complaint, I think 206 Bones is a great addition to the series and was a really good read.

One thing to note and something I liked, is that you could pick this up as your first Kathy Reichs book and still be entertained, as the little snippets of the major characters histories that are in the story are also explained easily and without having to resort to long recaps.

Rating: ★★★★★ 

Book Information
  • Author: Kathy Reichs
  • Buy from Amazon (UK)