Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs

Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs

Reviewed by L.D.Y.

Hardcover (available in mass market), 306 pages, 2003

Rating: 6/10

Reason for Reading: It’s hard to resist reading a book in a series, even if you were less than impressed with the previous book or two.

Synopsis: Tempe Brennan, forensic anthropologist, returns in the sixth book in Reich’s series. Using her forensic skills, Tempe must find out what connections exist between a baby burned to a crisp in an oven, dead drug dealers, and bags of bones containing both bear and human remains. To think, she was supposed to be vacationing on the beach with a handsome detective…

Why you should read this book: Bare Bones is good read if you’re looking for a mindless thriller. It’s not a fantastic read, but it’s a step up from the garbled mess that was Grave Secrets (which might not be saying much).

Why you should avoid this book: Reichs is erratic with her skill at writing an effective suspenseful scene. Annoyingly, Reichs finally gives a clear job description for a forensic anthropologist, but this just leaves the reader puzzling as to why Tempe has any business hunting criminals as actively as she does. Another issue is the tendency for melodramatic writing: for example, Tempe doesn’t have an upset stomach, she has ‘plate tectonics.’ Right.

Opening paragraph:

As I was packing what remained of the dead baby, the man I would kill was burning pavement north toward Charlotte.

Fabulous quotes:

‘Something’s dead.’ After a masterful observation Palmer squeezed his nostrils with a thumb and forefinger. ‘Human?’

‘I’m not sure.’ I pointed to semi-detached digits projecting from a tear Boyd had made in the plastic. ‘That’s definitely not dog or deer.’

I probed the dimensions of the half-buried bag. ‘Not many other animals are this big.’

I scraped back dirt and leaves and examined the soil below.
‘No evidence of fur.’

Boyd moved in for a sniff. I elbowed him back.
‘Holy crap, Mom. Not at a picnic.’

The stench was familiar, bringing to mind privies in summer camps, national parks, and Third World villages. This one smelled sweeter, softer, somehow.
My mind added a string of expletives to those Ryan and I had floated during our walkabout with Boyd.
‘Crap!’ I said aloud for emphasis.
Not three months earlier I’d been up to my elbows investigating debris in a septic tank. I’d vowed never to slog through feces again.
Now this.

Also recommended: Messiah by Boris Starling; Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit by John Douglas; The Sinner by Tess Gerritsen.

Also by this author: Bones to Ashes; Break No Bones; Cross Bones; Monday Mourning; Grave Secrets; Fatal Voyage; Deadly Decisions; Deja Dead; Death du Jour.

Author’s website:

© Lisa Yanaky 2003-2007

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