Bones of the Lost
Random House UK, Cornerstone
The body of a teenage girl is discovered along a desolate highway on the outskirts of Charlotte. Inside her purse is the ID card of a local businessman who died in a fire months earlier.
Who was the girl? And was she murdered?
Dr Temperance Brennan, Forensic Anthropologist, must find the answers. She soon learns that a Gulf War veteran stands accused of smuggling artifacts into the country. Could there be a connection between the two cases?
Convinced that the girl’s death was no accident, Tempe soon finds herself at the centre of a conspiracy that extends from South America to Afghanistan. But to find justice for the dead, she must be more courageous – and take more courageous action – than ever before.
Kathy Reichs is an exceptional writer – every book she has written in the Tempe Brennan series delivers a well thought out plot, with many twists and turns, main characters which are largely empathetic, scenes that are detailed and extremely visual; she is able to set up “place” and “time” so convincingly. This novel is no different.
I raced through this read wanting to discover the identity of the young girl, wanting to see the bad guys held to account for their actions and I was not disappointed. Reichs successfully inter weaves three seemingly unrelated stories to create this narrative – one of a unidentified young girl left dead on the road side, one of identifying smuggled artefacts and the final taking place in down town Afghanistan – where Brennan’s forensic anthropology skills are put to the test under war zone conditions.
I enjoyed that part of this story was set in Afghanistan as mostly all I know of the country is what I see on news flashes announcing more dead soldiers. I liked getting this second hand glimpse of what it is like to be stationed in this war zone. It is scary when air strikes become the norm. It is not a situation I would like to be in.
And in the foreground the complicated personal life of Tempe Brennan plays out; the men who are most important to her make an appearance and at the conclusion we are given hints of a possible romance… or are we being fed a red herring?
This is a great forensic/police procedural that is peppered with humour, something I was not expecting – I particularly liked the comment about exercise after Tempe discovers an Exercise After Forty newsletter in her emails (p.68): “Unable to sit still, I raced up the stairs two at a time. Exercise after forty.” There were many instances where I felt a smile break out as I read this murder/mystery.
My only fault with this book was what I feel to be a bit of a heavy handling of Ms Reichs personal views on human trafficking. The conversation with Dew felt contrived and like I was being lectured. I share your views on human trafficking Ms Reichs but I think your narrative made the points very well without the need for the lecture at the end.
All in all a well written, satisfying crime/mystery. I look forward to the next episode.