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.
Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs is a 2015 Bantam publication. I was provided a copy of this book by the publisher as a part to of the LibraryThing early review program.
This is the eighteen installment of the popular Temperance Brennan series and it shows no signs of slowing down or fading out.
Temperance is approached by a feisty websleuth nicknamed Lucky who is convinced Temperance can help her solve a missing persons case. Reluctant at first and not entirely sure she really has a case, Temperance puts out a few feelers and enlist the help of Slidell and Ramsey to look into the situation. What she uncovers is stunning and blows the lid off a cold case surrounding a group of religious zealots.
Meanwhile, in her personal life, Temperance is dealing with her cancer ridden and mentally ill mother, and the pressure from Ryan to get married, or at least move in together, and she is being dogged by the tax auditor insisting she turn over information she can never quite find the time to send over.
This is an outstanding series and I am always happy to touch base with Tempe. This one really peaked my interest because it dealt with a missing person and a cold case, two of my favorite mystery tropes.
Occasionally, in past installments, the forensic explanations got a little long winded at times, but in this story the writing flowed very smoothly and evenly, weaving the forensics into the story in a realistic manner.
The dialogue in this one is crisp , and there was even a few comical remarks peppered in here and there.
The author has a habit of dropping little incentives at the end of each chapter that entices you to continue reading, daring you to put the book down, which of course is nearly impossible, and pretty soon you will give up any thought of getting to bed early.
If I had to voice a complaint, it would be that the story moved along at too quick of a pace, which prevented the suspense level from reaching a peak. Having said that, there were a few truly creepy moments that literally gave me the shivers.
I can relate to Temperance because she has some of the same tendencies I do, which is to postpone, or avoid something I just do no want to do.
But, I do get frustrated with her waffling about Ryan, but as always I keep holding out hope she will come to her senses.
Overall this was another solid installment in the series, one of the few that has managed to maintain it's high level of quality over time. 4 stars
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Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec. She is one of only fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. A professor of anthropology at The University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.