‘BONES TO ASHES’ – A little bit about the book
The skeleton is that of a young girl, no more than fourteen years old – and forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan is struggling to keep her emotions in check.
A nagging in her subconscious won’t let up. A memory triggered, deep in her hindbrain – the disappearance of a childhood friend; no warning. no explanation.
Detective Andrew Ryan is working a series of parallel cases: three missing persons, three unidentified bodies – all female, all early-to-mid teens …. Could Tempe’s skeleton be yet another in this tragic line of young victims? Or is she over-reacting, making connections where none exist?
Working on instinct, Tempe takes matters into her own hands. But even she couldn’t have predicted the horrors this investigation would eventually uncover …. Can Tempe maintain a professional distance as the past catches up with her in this, her most deeply personal case yet?
Dr. KATHY REICHS – An author in the spotlight
From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, as one of only seventy-seven forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, Dr Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her mesmerising forensic thrillers. For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec.
Kathy Reichs has travelled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
Kathy Reichs has served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, and is currently a member of the National Police Services Advisory Board in Canada. She is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
A native of Chicago, she now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal. Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller, a Sunday Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. All eleven of her novels have been international bestsellers. She is also a producer of the chilling hit TV series Bones.
Catch up with all Kathy’s news at her website
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WORDS FROM THE BOOK
To this day, a phone ringing after midnight makes me shiver. Perhaps I am am alarmist. Or merely a realist. In my experience, late-night calls never bring good news.
‘BONES TO ASHES’ My thoughts about the book
“Babies die. People vanish. People die. Babies Vanish.”
As this was the first Temperance Brennan mystery I had read, it was good to find that the series didn’t obviously appear to need to be read in any chronological order and I found that this book stood alone as a great ‘one off’ story.
The plot, although sometimes disturbing, was racy and fast moving, with plenty of new twists and turns being thrown into the equation periodically, yet still not losing sight of the core storyline.
The tie-in between the present day investigation and Tempe’s childhood mystery, doesn’t just appear at the start and end of the book, leaving the reader wondering where it had disappeared to for the rest of the time; but is ever present, bubbling away under the surface and is a central part of the narrative.
The only thing that did irritate me slightly, was the introduction of Tempe’s sister into the story. Whilst I assumed she was there to strengthen the ties to Evangeline’s part in the mystery, I did feel that she was rather too simpering and a little surplus to requirements. The plot would have moved along just fine without her.
All the technical details of the story were explained clearly and in great detail. I almost felt as if I was leaning over Tempe’s shoulder, when she was in her lab, where she was describing and cataloguing the various stages of a corpses decomposition, putrefaction, autopsy and bone cleansing techniques …. I wondered if it was going to get a bit too technical at one point, but that definitely only added to the tension and interest, in my personal opinion and only provided information which was pertinent to the case.
Kathy also offered a concise, brief and interesting insight into the the life and culture of the Acadian community in Canada. It was just enough to whet my appetite, so that I went off and did quite a bit of extra research into the subject, which was fascinating reading.
Temperance herself, was quite a complex character, keeping her emotions well in check for most of the time, until just occasionally, the chinks in her armour showed for a brief, few moments … The memories of losing both a parent and sibling at a young age and the void that it created in her life. The inability of her mother to communicate with her, leaving her confused, secluded and alone. Finding a friend,of her own age, with whom she could be herself, no questions asked, no judgements made. Then that friend disappeared from her life, with no explanation, leaving her bereft for a second time…This had all impacted on her adult life, which was still in turmoil. However, when offered the chance to have closure on a long ago mystery, Tempe spotted the opportunity to turn things around.
The character of Temperance Brennan, was given great strength, yet with enough softness showing through, in the difficult and demanding task of having to carry out forensic examinations on children. Helping to track down and bring to justice, the perverted individuals, who had caused their suffering, was very cathartic for her. although knowing that to get too personally involved could colour her judgement and jeopardise the whole case.
As usual with many fictional detectives, Tempe had a private life and past history, which was very much there in the present and threatened to intrude on the objectivity needed to bring closure to this complex case. The author handled these relationship issues with just the right amount of even handed emotion, which enabled the pair to separate their private and professional lives, although you knew that the issues were only being side-lined for the time being and were very much an unresolved storyline for the future.
Would I read more books from the series … Very likely, although probably not all of them and definitely not those which came before ‘Bones To Ashes’.
Check out the opening lines from the book here
Read just a few more random teaser lines here
This book was taken from my personal library collection and was originally a charity shop purchase.
This in no way influenced any comments I may have expressed about the book, in any blog article I have posted. Any thoughts or comments are my own personal opinion and I am in no way being monetarily compensated for this, or any other article.
I personally do not agree with ‘rating’ a book, as the overall experience is all a matter of personal taste, which varies from reader to reader. However some review sites do demand a rating value, so when this review is posted to such a site, it will attract a 4 out of 5.