Kathy Reichs has a great formula with the Bones novels featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. BONES OF THE LOST is the 16th installment of the series and proudly continues the intense and deftly researched work for which she has become famous.
The challenge with following any literary series that has a television counterpart is to separate the two from each other. Rarely are the on-screen adaptations completely faithful to the source material. That is certainly the case with this series, as most of the characters seen on the hit FOX show are not found in the books, which I find to possess more intensity and provide forensic insight on a deeper level.
"Kathy Reichs has a great ability to take nearly impossible situations and make them completely plausible. The reader has no choice but to sit back, strap in tight, and go along for the ride."
BONES OF THE LOST is a multi-layered novel with a diverse set of plot twists that all come together in the end. The first incident pertains to a Jane Doe found dead along a desolate part of the highway. There is no clue as to her identity, and nothing helps the police and CSU techs other than a business card found on her for wealthy entrepreneur John-Henry Story. The only problem is that Story died in a fire months earlier. On the surface, there should be no connection between him and an apparent illegal immigrant who may have been a call girl.
Temperance Brennan is like a bulldog when she finds a difficult case, and even the thought of her daughter, Katy, being oversees on military duty in Afghanistan is not enough to take her mind off the Jane Doe mystery. She is next given a set of crates to examine that look to contain the remains of several Peruvian dogs; they are, in fact, linked to a Desert Storm veteran named Dominick Rockett. Further investigation of Rockett has Temperance and the police suspecting a connection to a human trafficking ring.
To take her mind off these perplexing mysteries, Brennan is asked by her soon-to-be ex-husband, Pete, to take on a case as a favor to him. It turns out that the son of one of Pete’s military colleagues is under investigation for killing some Afghan civilians in cold blood. An Article 32 court-martial case is being held, and Pete wants Brennan to oversee the exhumation of the deceased victims to determine the fashion in which they were actually killed. She jumps at the opportunity to get away from her open cases in Charlotte and may even be able to hook up with her daughter while overseas.
Brennan performs admirably and makes a nice impact and impression on the military case. It is only when she is on her way back stateside that she uncovers some information that may shed new light on that case. Even more horrifying for her is the fact that there are connections she is making that link those events to the open cases she left behind in Charlotte.
Kathy Reichs has a great ability to take nearly impossible situations and make them completely plausible. The reader has no choice but to sit back, strap in tight, and go along for the ride. BONES OF THE LOST is a nice complement to the Bones series and the afterword she provides --- entitled “From the Forensic Files of Dr. Kathy Reichs” --- shows how actual real-world events provided the impetus for this intriguing novel.
Reviewed by Ray Palen on August 23, 2013