Monday, December 28, 2015

Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs

 Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs
2015, Bantam
Series: Book 18 of Temperance Brennan

Synopsis: For every case Temperance Brennan has solved, there remain innumerable unidentified bodies in her lab. Information on some of these is available online, where amateur sleuths sometimes take a stab at solving cases.

One day, Tempe gets a call from Hazel “Lucky” Strike, a web sleuth who believes she’s successfully connected a body in Tempe’s lab to a missing persons report on an eighteen-year-old named Cora Teague. Since the bones in her lab do seem to match Cora’s medical records, Tempe looks into the case, returning to the spot where the bones were originally found. What seems at first to be an isolated tragedy takes on a more sinister cast as Tempe uncovers two more sets of bones nearby.

When she then learns that the area is known as a viewing point for a famous unexplained light phenomenon with significance for a local cult, Tempe’s suspicious turn to murder by ritual sacrifice—a theory thrown into question when Hazel herself turns up dead.

Still reeling from her mother’s diagnosis and the shock of Andrew Ryan’s potentially life-change proposal, Tempe races to solve the murders before the body count climbs further.

The Good: Speaking in Bones is a really wonderful mystery, covering some things Tempe hasn't previously faced. She finds herself looking into a cold case at the request of a web sleuth. Of course, she has no idea what a web sleuth actually is, which introduces the reader to an entire corner of the internet that most are unaware of. Given Tempe's ignorance on the subject, the ins and outs are described in a very elementary fashion that readers will understand regardless of age or tech savvy. What I really enjoyed here was how the characters are finally growing out of their original molds. Most obviously, the huge changes in Slidell. If he can change, it damn near proves anyone can.

The Bad: The problem with long running series is that they generally don't follow real time. Fans of this series have been reading about Tempe and Ryan for a good 18 years. How much time has passed in the series? Maybe a couple of years. So when Tempe has doubts about Ryan's proposal, it's hard to understand. To us, they've been together longer than most married couples, even with their constant on-again, off-again. You have to take yourself out of the story to understand her hesitance, which completely removes any tension that may have built while awaiting her final answer.

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