Review

Devil Bones

by Kathy Reichs

When forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is paged during
a deadly boring seminar to respond to a call from the county
coroner’s office, she’s grateful for the interruption.
A contractor, remodeling an older home in Charlotte, North
Carolina’s historical district, uncovers a trap door
concealing a hidden room. Not an unusual find in houses that date
back to the Civil War era, but this one hides a grisly discovery. A
strong odor of recently dead flesh --- what appears to be a human
skull, cauldrons, ritualistic artifacts and candles --- is evidence
even to a lay person that something unsavory is going on. If she
had known where this event would lead in her professional and
personal life, she might have preferred the mundane meetings and
lecture halls of academia.

As Tempe determines that the human skull found in the hidden
room is that of a young black female, the headless body of a
teenage boy is found floating in a bayou nearby with satanic
symbols carved into his chest. Puzzled by the symbols found in the
hidden room and on the boy’s body, she contacts practitioners
of the mystic arts who point out the differences among wicca,
Santaria, voodoo and devil worshipping --- and none of these are
consistent with what she finds at the house. Nothing seems to fit.
Are these the acts of a cult or a cover-up of crimes of another
kind?

An ambitious freelance reporter always seems to be in the right
place at the right time to capture pictures and fan the flames of
the possibility that a satanic cult is murdering Charlotte’s
young people. It is up to Tempe and Detective “Skinny”
Slidell to get to the bottom of the rumors and quell the hysterical
news reports. An ambitious candidate for public office, radical
evangelist Boyce Lingo is all too eager to cash in on the publicity
and capitalizes on the sensational events on the evening news and
in local newspapers. Tempe’s frustration with the wild-eyed
publicity nearly costs her her job as the paparazzi capture her on
camera.

Tempe’s concern is first and foremost to identify the
unnamed victims whose bones and DNA will lead to notifying their
families and, if a crime is involved, bringing the criminals to
justice. When a sheriff’s department detective is murdered
while investigating the killings and one of the suspects ends up
dead, Tempe and Detective Slidell have a mounting panic on their
hands. They find themselves embroiled in investigating a male
prostitution ring, political corruption, computer gaming and
religious persecution.

Tempe’s private life is also in turmoil when her estranged
husband, Ryan, returns to his ex-wife. Tempe’s daughter,
determined to straighten out her domestic problems, introduces her
to a handsome attorney in the public defender’s office where
she is interning, who turns out to be a schoolmate Tempe knew in
high school. Now handsome and widowed, Charlie Hunt comes into her
life just as she’s deciding whether to move on or continue
haunting her voicemail for a message from Ryan.

Kathy Reichs is a professor of anthropology at the University of
North Carolina and a forensic anthropologist for the province of
Quebec, Canada. She brings the authenticity demanded by savvy
readers and television viewers who can almost recount scientific
terms and methods by rote due to the rise in numbers of Crime Scene
Investigation novels, television series and movies in recent years.
Reichs, not coincidentally, is in part responsible for the
popularity of this genre because she also created and continues to
provide scripts and story ideas for the television series
“Bones,” featuring her character, Tempe Brennan, now
entering its fourth season on FOX.

DEVIL BONES blends forensics, dizzying plot twists and
cliffhanger writing into yet another thriller from a proven
master.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on December 29, 2010

Devil Bones
by Kathy Reichs

  • Publication Date: June 23, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Mass Market Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star
  • ISBN-10: 1416525661
  • ISBN-13: 9781416525660