Review

Bones to Ashes

by Kathy Reichs

Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan has just returned to
her Montreal office for the summer when a package containing
deteriorated bones jolts her back to her childhood. She and her
sister and mother had spent several summers on Pawley’s
Island in the outer banks of South Carolina where she met
Evangeline, an exotic girl of her age. Evangeline and her younger
sister spent their summers with an aunt and uncle on the island.
They spoke with French accents and had been places that Tempe had
only dreamed of. Then one summer, Evangeline and her sister simply
vanished. Tempe attempted to discover what happened to them and was
told bluntly that it was a bad thing --- something the family could
not or would not talk about.

The loss of her playmates continued to haunt her throughout her
adult life, and when she saw the location where these bones had
been found --- the same area where Evangeline had lived in the
Maritime Provinces of Canada --- it reawakened her doubts and
concerns.

Tempe’s job normally entails body identification and cause of
death in current cases, but occasionally a cold case or an
archaeological skeleton will trigger an investigation. She faces a
hard sell in convincing the police that these bones, clearly buried
for many years --- perhaps decades --- might be those of a crime
victim. Their condition suggests that foul play may have been
involved, which gives her the authority to enlist the support of
Hippo, a Montreal cold case detective, to join Ryan, Tempe’s
policeman partner who is trying to locate several missing juvenile
girls. Hippo speaks the patois of the Maritimes where Evangeline
lived, so he is able to translate and help Tempe discover how this
young girl died in an effort to identify the remains.

What Tempe uncovers in her search leads to a discovery not only of
a dangerous child pornography ring, but to insight into a long,
shameful secret in Canada’s history. With more plot twists
and turns than a wilderness hunting trail, BONES TO ASHES leads
Tempe and Harry directly into the path of danger as they track down
a sociopathic killer.

Kathy Reichs, who in real life is a forensic anthropologist with
the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and a Professor of anthropology
at the University of North Carolina, presents the story in factual,
often-chilling clinical detail. She skillfully weaves the thrill of
the hunt into her graphic and sometimes-technical medical
descriptions.

BONES TO ASHES is the 10th installment in the Temperance Brennan
series, which serves as a basis for the hit television program
“Bones.” Reich’s demanding forensic work and
writing schedule include producing the show, in which her character
comes to life as a forensic anthropologist. The TV version of Tempe
has just started writing mysteries, ironically under the pen name
“Kathy Reichs.” Reichs’s life is a little like
living in a mirrored room where she sees herself reflected as the
doctor, the writer and the producer, and now becomes a fictional
character starring in her own life. The other main characters from
the novels do not, for the most part, carry over into the
television series. In the books, Tempe still has feelings for an
ex-husband with whom she shares custody of a cat and a bird, and a
detective partner and boyfriend, Ryan, whose future as a romantic
interest always seems to be in jeopardy.

Reviewed by Roz Shea on January 11, 2011

Bones to Ashes
by Kathy Reichs

  • Publication Date: August 28, 2007
  • Genres: Fiction, Thriller
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • ISBN-10: 0743294378
  • ISBN-13: 9780743294379