Title: Devil Bones
Author: Kathy Reichs
Published by: Arrow
Publication date: 23rd April 2009
Source: Personal Collection
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Sometimes, it’s easy to see why best selling authors are just that. After the horrors of reading ‘A Perfect Mess,’ I needed something that was going to be reliably good – hence why I grabbed this off the shelf during a library book give-away. I’d never read anything by Kathy Reichs before and hadn’t a clue who Temperance Brennan was (apparently, this character is a part of a TV series too) so whereas other reviewers of this particular book might have some grumbles where the series of novels is concerned – this is book 11 – I was blissfully unaware.
Temperance Brennan is a Forensic Anthropologist and this particular case involves a dark cellar, ritualistic displays and a whole handful of other mumbo-jumbo that keeps the reader interested and guessing about what is happening in a classic tale of ‘Whodunit?’
I really like Temperance as a lead character, her inner thoughts and sarcasms, innate clumsiness and general outlook on her life and the people in it really struck a chord with me. Everything about her as a character seems real. Including her flaws. There are some decent ones in her; not the ones that are there to romanticise certain aspects to make a character seem ‘cooler’ but real, honest to God flaws – her separation from her Husband, her alcoholism, her temper and the way she looses her cool. She is a very relatable character and she drives the not only the current case she is working on, but the drama that is her life really well. Other characters that were a lot of fun were Detective Slidell, whose I rather liked hearing Temperences inner thoughts on; I found this aspect of the novel particularly enjoyable. Tempe doesn’t tend to hold back on her thoughts and they dip into the realm of sarcastic. I like sarcasm!
I know longer term readers of the Temperance Brennan novels will have had some gripes about this particular offering – the reintroduction of characters, situations and places after 11 books must get a little tiresome, but as a new reader I think I’d have felt lost without them.
I love the plot of this book and was hooked hen the first whiff of mystery was dangled in front of me. The description of bodies and the technical details were absolutely superb. To the point where I did feel myself getting a little overwhelmed and lost at times. Unlike both Tempe and Kathy Reichs, I am not an Anthropologist, not even a Forensic one! So a lot of the more technical thinking went over my head in a fit of confusion, but that didn’t stop me enjoying the rest of the story – I just made a few assumptions on what I was reading about and moved on.
I enjoy a bit of drama and like to be given a reason to keep reading a book; so when the story got moving and I was given a line of (paraphrasing) ‘Then things got a lot, lot worse’ at the end of a chapter, I was thrilled. I wanted to know how things that were already pretty bad could get any worse. The foreshadowing was prompt to keep reading. The first few times it happened. Then I realised it was at the end of every chapter and it very swiftly became an annoyance more than an enjoyment. Surely, the already interesting plot should be enough of a hook to keep me going?
And, of course, at one point Tempe gets suspended from her investigative duties. Why does this seem to happen in every Thriller/Mystery involving police officers? Do real detectives get suspended as often as the fictional ones do?
All in all, a good book with an interesting plot with engaging characters. I’ll certainly be returning to Reichs books when I am looking for something reliably good.