Tag Archives: forensics

monday mourning

Monday Mourning (Temperance Brennan #7) by Kathy Reichs

From Goodreads:

Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist for both North Carolina and Quebec, has come from Charlotte to Montreal during the bleak days of December to testify as an expert witness at a murder trial.

She should be going over her notes, but instead she’s digging in the basement of a pizza parlor. Not fun. Freezing cold. Crawling rats. And now, the skeletonized remains of three young women. How did they get there? When did they die?

Homicide detective Luc Claudel, never Tempe’s greatest fan, believes the bones are historic. Not his case, not his concern. The pizza parlor owner found nineteenth-century buttons in the cellar with the skeletons. Claudel takes them as an indicator of the bones’ antiquity.

But something doesn’t make sense. Tempe examines the bones in her lab and establishes approximate age with Carbon-14. Further study of tooth enamel tells her where the women were born. If she’s right, Claudel has three recent murders on his hands. Definitely his case.

Detective Andrew Ryan, meanwhile, is acting mysteriously. What are those private phone calls he takes in the other room, and why does he suddenly disappear just when Tempe is beginning to hope he might be a permanent part of her life? Looks like more lonely nights for Tempe and Birdie, her cat.

As Tempe searches for answers in both her personal and professional lives, she finds herself drawn deep into a web of evil from which there may be no escape. Women have disappeared, never to return…Tempe may be next.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Fast paced, easy to read and just complicated enough to keep the reader interested without getting lost. My only complaints were how silly and immature Anne’s character was portrayed (I couldn’t see how she fitted with the overall story and her behaviour was just irritating) and Tempe’s relationship with Ryan. This latter was at least resolved and I hope it’s less angsty and distracting in the rest of the series.

I did find the ending very good and left me with a mixture of feelings which is good writing. I especially liked the final dedication and the author’s note for the real life inspiration behind the story.

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bare bones

Bare Bones (Temperance Brennan #6) by Kathy Reichs

From Goodreads:

It’s a summer of sizzling heat in Charlotte where Dr. Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist for the North Carolina medical examiner, looks forward to her first vacation in years. A romantic vacation. She’s almost out the door when the bones start appearing.
A newborn’s charred remains turn up in a woodstove. A small plane crashes in a North Carolina cornfield on a sunny afternoon. Both pilot and passenger are burned beyond recognition. And what is the mysterious black substance covering the bodies? Most puzzling of all are the bones discovered at a remote farm outside Charlotte. The remains seem to be of animal origin, but Tempe is shocked when she gets them to her lab.
With help from a special detective friend, Tempe must investigate a poignant and terrifying case that comes at the worst possible moment. Daughter Katy has a new boyfriend who Tempe fears may have something to hide. And important personal decisions face Tempe. Is it time for emotional commitment? Will she have the chance to find out?
Everything must wait on the bones. Why are the X rays and DNA so perplexing? Who is trying to keep Tempe from the answers? Someone is following her and Katy. That someone must be stopped before it’s too late.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Cracking good story. Another change of scenery with Tempe now in her home base of North Carolina and trying to find out how Ryan and herself fit together. The story mixes a reasonably complex, but not too complicated investigation, with Tempe’s personal relations with Ryan and her daughter.

There was a nice mixture of old and new characters in this also but “Skinny” Slidell is beginning to sound an awful lot like Marino from the Kay Scarpetta stories.

The plot nips along at a steady pace, introducing twists and turns until there is a sudden rush near the end and a revelation of the details in the final chapter. It’s a fairly common plot design and one I think the author has used before, but it made for an enjoyable and engaging read.

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grave secrets

Grave Secrets (Temperance Brennan #5) by Kathy Reichs.

From Goodreads:

In the searing heat of Guatemala, Dr Temperance Brennan must harden herself against the horrors she excavates.

And then four young girls go missing from Guatemala City.

When a skeleton is found at the back of a rundown hotel, only someone with Tempe’s expertise can deduce the identity and cause of death.

But as she searches for answers, her path is blocked at every turn. It is clear that some people will stop at nothing to keep Guatemala’s secrets buried.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I really like the way the author changed the setting here. She managed to take Tempe to a very foreign country (don’t think I’ve read anything set in Central America before), introduce a probably unknown period of atrocity and genocide while still keeping the story familiar enough not to lose the reader.

I liked the new character of Galiano (basically a Guatemalan Ryan) and the depiction of the villagers at the site of the massacre. I would liked to have seen this side of the story further developed to investigate the historical murders rather more than the modern ones but I guess this also reflects the reluctance of the authorities to do anything more than brush over history and ignore what has happened.

A few plot holes and places where the story wanders a little bit but it definitely doesn’t spoil the overall book. It’s good to see momentum and originality staying strong at 5 books into the series.

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fatal voyage

Fatal Voyage (Temperance Brennan #4) by Kathy Reichs

From Goodreads:

Investigating a plane crash in the Smoky Mountains in North Carolina, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan discovers in a most disturbing way that the evidence doesn’t add up. Tripping over a coyote-chewed leg at the crash scene, she performs a little mental arithmetic and realizes that this victim wasn’t on the plane. Once again, Brennan’s high-tech DMORT snaps into action faster than you can say “Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team.” The author of <a href="http://cart2.barnesandnoble.com/booksearch/isbninquiry.asp?isbn=0671011375
“>Death du Jour
serves up another exquisite meal.

My Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

This was really good. The story switched from being based mostly in Montreal to North Carolina which broke the story nicely from the previous books. It also took in two different investigations that were nicely connected by Tempe’s involvement.

Both storylines were pretty unusual and I enjoyed them both but it was the detail provided on the air crash investigation that I found most interesting. The author provides details that I’ve never seen in a novel before that gave great insight without bogging the reader down with technical jargon or information overload.

I also enjoyed the character of the female Sheriff Crowe. A no-nonsense yet helpful and strong female character, she provided a nice counterpart to Tempe’s impulsiveness and sometimes flighty nature. I’d like to see more of her.

The only downside for me was the adolescent nature of the relationship between Tempe and Ryan. It jarred with the rest of the story and does nothing for Tempe’s character development. It makes her look weak especially alongside Crowe’s character. I hope the author can change that in later books or it could end up going the way of the Scarpetta books!

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