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Tuesday, July 28, 2015


4 stars out of 5

While I admit to growing a bit tired of the popular Bones
 TV show after 10 seasons, I certainly haven't given up; it's a sure bet I'll be watching the Season 11 debut on Oct. 1. For those who might not know, the show is inspired by the books by Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist like her TV and book counterpart Temperance Brennan.

The books have been around even longer; this is the 18th in the series, and I've read almost all of them. Without question, I enjoy the books far more than the TV show; the primary similarity between the two is that they both center around a somewhat emotionally challenged Brennan. Other than that, the twain rarely meets.

Here, she's struggling (still) with her feelings for police detective Andrew Ryan, who has proposed marriage. Not wanting to compromise her independence and still reeling after the betrayal by her ex-husband and father of her now-grown daughter, she keeps putting off a decision, making her the perfect poster child for avoidance behavior. In the midst of the waffling, she gets a visit from a strange woman named Hazel "Lucky" Strike, an amateur Internet sleuth who tries to solve cold cases. The woman brings a frightening tape recording she believes is the voice of an 18-year-old girl who disappeared a few years earlier and whose remains are anonymously stashed in Brennan's lab. The problem? The girl's parents - members of a radical and secretive religious group that's rooted in Catholicism - insist she's not missing; rather, she just ran off with a no-good boyfriend who also can't be found.

Given the lack of hard evidence, Brennan reluctantly does some sleuthing of her own, ending in the backwoods discovery of a few bones that may belong to the missing girl. More sleuthing turns up more bones - and questions of to whom they belong. Brennan gets lots of help from a local law enforcement guy (who's also pretty good in the eye candy department) and some from her own lab colleagues. But mostly, as usual, her headstrong personality demands that she follow the evidence - even if it leads to dangerous places and people and puts her own life in jeopardy.

I enjoyed this book, and, at just 320 pages, breezed through it in no time. I like the somewhat larger role given to Brennan's mother, and as usual, Brennan's sense of humor popped out here and there. And, I definitely didn't foresee the ending. Still, the whole thing seemed a bit on the "lightweight" side, with not quite as much emphasis on the forensics that never fails to grab and hold my attention. 

Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs (Bantam, July 2015); 320 pp.

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