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July 6, 2012 / schulerbooks

Bones are Forever, by Kathy Reichs

Temperance Brennan — Tempe to her friends — is a forensic anthropologist: the sort of person you call in when you find a body in bad shape, and need to know how it got there, what happened to it, how it died, and, quite possibly, who killed it.

But she’s also a mother, which makes the case she’s working on in Quebec all the more horrible. What kind of monster would take a newborn baby, stuff it behind a sink, and leave it to die?

Tempe’s not sure. But while investigating the home of one Amy Roberts, who checked herself into a hospital with uncontrollable vaginal bleeding, but ran off just after the doctors realized she may have given birth, Brennan finds two more dead infants hidden in the apartment. And they’ve clearly been there awhile…

The subsequent search for Amy Roberts (also Alma Rogers, as well as Alva Rodriguez)  reunites Tempe with not one but two old flames. The bad news is that both Detective Andrew Ryan and RCMP Sgt. Oliver Hasty take an instant disliking to each other. Worse news is that they both feel they have unfinished business with Tempe, and display it in ways that are less than helpful to the case.

Following what slim leads Tempe’s work and their inquiries produce, the ill-fitting team tracks the missing mother to the prostitutes of Edmonton, and then the far-flung mining town of Yellowknife. Up there, they encounter a small community where everyone knows everyone else, and may easily be related to them, somehow. Almost appropriately, they also know more than they’re willing to say, and the case takes several more twists in directions the trio weren’t quite expecting.

Especially when the people they’re either tailing or talking to start turning up dead…

Throughout it all, Tempe goes about her investigations her own, unique way — namely, not doing what she’s told, especially by her overbearing exes. But can she live long enough to find out the truth of what happened back in that Montreal apartment? Or will the many sides of this puzzle fatally close in on her?

As always, Reichs gives us an intriguing mystery, filled with just enough pathological details to make the investigations ring true, but not so many as to bore or lose the reader in pages of overly-technical gibberish. Tempe remains a strong and memorable character with her own imperfections, and the interplay between her and the other characters is swift and sharp. A pity the same can’t be said for Sgt. Ollie, who seems a man of too many faces to keep track of (would be lover? jilted cad? concerned alpha male? misogynistic boor?) but hopefully we’ll not be seeing him again too soon.

Featuring both a twisting train of clues that lead us somewhere we weren’t quite expecting, and the mix of humor and horror that have exemplified her other works in this series, Bones are Forever is a worthy, new entry into the casefiles of Temperance Brennan.

Bones are Forever drops August 28th, 2012, and is available for pre-order.

-Jim, Lansing

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