Written by Kathy Reichs — Forensic anthropologist Dr Kathy Reichs knows all there is to know about crime scenes. Thankfully, as an author, she is top of her game too. Reichs’ books always hit the heights of the best seller lists – and on the evidence of Bones Are Forever, it is very easy to see why.
The most satisfying thing about a Reichs creation is that the reader knows he or she is in safe hands – her research is meticulous and her writing style draws you in like a spider beckoning to an unsuspecting fly. Each of her books is based loosely upon the cases she’s worked on – and as she continues to divide her time between forensic work and writing, Reichs has plenty of material to inspire her and draw upon.
Fans of the author will already be familiar with Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist based out of North Carolina and Montreal. Those new to her needn’t fret, they will soon be up to speed, thanks to Reichs’ considerable narrative skills. Tempe is called to a run-down apartment outside Montreal, where she finds the mummified remains of a tiny newborn baby. It is the first of several pathetic little bodies discovered hidden around the property, and signals the start of a complex investigation which eventually leads her all the way to Yellowknife, in the far North West of Canada.
Prime suspect is a young woman who disappeared after visiting the local hospital emergency room, showing signs of having recently given birth. Inquiries soon uncover a seedy past – and a string of aliases make the job of tracking her down even more difficult. As the case progresses, it becomes apparent that she is running away from more than just the long arm of the law – but who will get to her first?
Tempe is a great central character. She is a reformed alcoholic and has an extremely complicated love life. In Bones Are Forever, she is reunited with former flame Andrew Ryan, and she must also work with Sergeant Ollie Hasty – a long forgotten one-night stand who is involved with the investigation… and who has big ideas about rekindling a romance with our heroine. No chance, mate! But as the story unfolds, Tempe finds herself increasingly playing peacemaker between the two, as well as pursuing her own very individual lines of investigation.
The love interests provide an entertaining sidebar to the main event, which moves along at an absolutely cracking pace. Reichs’ adroit use of short, snappy chapters makes you want to fly along to the next big moment – and believe me, there are plenty of those to choose from in this book.
In the past year or so, I’ve lost faith with Patricia Cornwell, whose work ploughs a similar furrow to that of Reichs. I feel Cornwell’s books have become samey and predictable – she’s started to lose the plot, if you’ll pardon the pun. In contrast, Reichs just gets better and better – you might think you’ve got a handle on the next plotline twist, but you’re unlikely to guess what’s just around the corner. This is what makes her the undisputed queen of forensic thrillers, in my book.
To sum up, Bones Are Forever is a fast-moving, deftly plotted tale which runs the full gamut of emotions while managing to keep the reader on the edge of their seat. Definitely one to savour.
CFL Rating: 4 Stars