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Thursday, August 01, 2013

In Reichs' Newest, It's Tempe vs. Smugglers of Every Sort

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

(Note:  While this review will not contain spoilers for Bones of the Lost, it may inadvertently reveal plot surprises from previous Temperance Brennan novels.  As always, I recommend reading books in a series in order.)

Bad days are par for the course when your career revolves around the commission of violent crimes.  And Tempe Brennan, North Carolina's most renowned forensic anthropologist, is having a doozy.  It begins with an embarrassing incident at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse and ends with a young woman's battered body lying in the morgue.  Tempe's assignment: find out who murdered girl.  The only real clue is an ID card in the victim's purse, which belongs to a local businessman.  The man would naturally be considered a suspect—if he hadn't perished a few months earlier in a deadly fire.  Coincidence?  Or, are the two incidents linked somehow?

In the middle of trying to ascertain the dead girl's identity, another mystery lands in Tempe's lab.  This time, it's a pack of mummified dogs confiscated by U.S. Customs.  The accused smuggler is Dominick Rockett, a veteran of Desert Storm.  Is the soldier guilty?  Does his alleged crime have anything to do with the other deaths Tempe's investigating?  Curiouser and curiouser.  

To add to the work stress, Tempe's got mounting personal problems:  her ex-husband's tired of waiting for divorce papers; her grieving daughter's on active duty in Afghanistan; and she hasn't heard from Ryan in way, way too long.  

With such a massive load on her shoulders, how will the intrepid anthropologist deal?  Especially since, once again, her investigations are angering some dangerous people.  People who will stop at nothing until it's Tempe Brennan's cold, lifeless body that's lying in the morgue.  

Bones of the Lost (available August 27, 2013), the 16th installment in Kathy Reichs' popular Temperance Brennan series, offers another exciting adventure starring everyone's favorite forensic anthropologist.  Tempe's always relatable, always a compelling narrator.  I seriously love her more with each book.  As disturbing as the subject matter (human trafficking) of Bones of the Lost is, I enjoyed it for the same reasons I like all of the novels in this series—they're fast-paced puzzles populated with colorful characters, fascinating science (an oxymoron, I've always thought), and enough plot twists and turns to keep me guessing.  While this one isn't the absolute best Tempe Brennan book, it's another solid addition to this series, which continues to be one of my very favorites.  

(Readalikes:  Other books in the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs [Deja Dead; Death du Jour; Deadly Decisions; Fatal Voyage; Grave Secrets; Bare Bones; Monday Mourning; Cross Bones; Break No Bones; Bones to Ashes; Devil Bones; 206 Bones; Spider Bones; Flash and Bones; Bones Are Forever and the new novella, Bones in Her Pocket])

Grade:  

 If this were a movie, it would be rated:

 
for strong language, violence/gore, and sexual innuendo/content

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of Bones of the Lost from the generous folks at Simon & Schuster via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!

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