A great portion of this book was a step-backwards to the same old formula as the previous books, carefully dodging almost any character growth. MysterA great portion of this book was a step-backwards to the same old formula as the previous books, carefully dodging almost any character growth. Mystery bones are found. No one but Tempe cares. She investigates on her own. An out of town female friend/relative shows up unexpectedly to add distraction. She and Ryan are in some nether-relationship that they can't be bothered to talk about for five minutes. *yawn* With maybe 20% of the book remaining, suddenly it all takes off, except that this more "exciting" section required a number of characters (foremost amongst them the main character) to become so mind-boggling stupid that one has to wonder that they were capable of caring for themselves. At no point are any of the really blatantly obvious questions (with really obvious answers) asked until it's "too late" and the tension has been superficially ratcheted up for the sake of the story. A bitter disappointment in a series which already treads the line of quality and mediocrity....more
Another book illustrating the improvement of Reich's writing, the story and plot of this volume are only so-so. There is nothing intrinsically wrong wAnother book illustrating the improvement of Reich's writing, the story and plot of this volume are only so-so. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with it, but it is not as grabbing as some of the other tales....more
While helping identify massacre victims in Guatemala, Temperance Brennan gets sucked into helping the local police with what they think might be a serWhile helping identify massacre victims in Guatemala, Temperance Brennan gets sucked into helping the local police with what they think might be a serial killer.
The fifth Temperance Brennan book, Kathy Reichs' writing has definitely improved over the first few. She relies less on the technical science of forensics and leaves out the overly detailed descriptions of the food Tempe eats for tighter plotting and story. I still find the characterization a bit lacking, however. Tempe feels and bleeds for every death and victim she sees, but it feels way too over the top...I simply cannot imagine anyone as empathic as this character is made out to be succeeding at that job. The relationship between Tempe and Ryan is also unnaturally strained. It felt like Reichs' added conflict simply for the sake of plot tension.
In Fatal Voyage, Kathy Reichs is starting to hit her stride as a writer. I personally found it to be better than any of the previous Temperance BrennaIn Fatal Voyage, Kathy Reichs is starting to hit her stride as a writer. I personally found it to be better than any of the previous Temperance Brennan books. While the basic mystery/story may be no better (or worse) than the previous books (the story of this book revolves around a plane crash), the writing is quite a bit improved. Four things in particular jumped out at me, although I'm sure there were others. All of them fall into a broad category of toning down extremes in the writing.
The first major improvement is that the book is less reliant on unrealistic coincidences. The early books were overwhelmingly dependent on coincidence, not just to set up the story but also to drive the solution and latter parts of the plots. Coincidence is not absent from this book, but instead of driving the revelation, it sets up an early side-plot and allows Reichs to more easily bring some characters together who otherwise would not be present in this story.
The second improvement is in the detail of the science. One of the novelties of the series is the general accuracy of the forensic science. In the early books, this could be a bit over the top and I suspect the dryness of the technical explanations may have deterred some readers (I'm a biological scientist and personally found it interesting material, if not gripping reading). This book still has its fair share of scientific detail, but it's less of a focus.
The third improvement is that the main character, Tempe, no longer spends inordinate amounts of time in the book wallowing in mental horror over the crimes and violence perpetrated on the victims she's seeing. While what she observes is horrible, the mental anguish exhibited by the character in the early books was so over the top that it would pretty much prevent her from being mentally capable of performing her duties as a forensic anthropologist. Again, these anguishes are not absent from the book, but are a bit more subdued and better serve their purpose to humanize the main character.
The final improvement is that there is less obsession with food. This sounds silly, but every time anyone ate anything in the first three books, the specifics of the meals were overly (and overtly) detailed: it had the feel of advice from a creative writing class taken too far and occurred with enough regularity to be mentally jarring. As with the other issues, the details of the meals are toned down a bit and now work organically within the story rather than feeling like over-the-top color.
If this book is any indication, Reichs is maturing as a writer and hopefully the next few books will continue to be as good or even improve on this one....more
Better than the previous book, Deadly Decisions does not rely nearly as much on coincidence to resolve its mysteries. Coincidence does still abound; tBetter than the previous book, Deadly Decisions does not rely nearly as much on coincidence to resolve its mysteries. Coincidence does still abound; the ability of a forensic anthropologist's friends and family to get involved with suspects in cases she's working on is a bit too astounding. Overall, I am not finding these books to be particularly stunning mysteries; nor or they particularly thrillers since the "thriller" situations are too forced. Somehow I keep thinking there's something really good waiting to come out and if I keep reading maybe I'll find it....more
This book, the second by Kathy Reichs, was a mixed bag. I think the writing was better than in her first book, but the plot depended on a series of coThis book, the second by Kathy Reichs, was a mixed bag. I think the writing was better than in her first book, but the plot depended on a series of coincidences that went well past the boundary of absurd, draining any semblance of realism from the story....more
Probably the most technical murder mystery you might read, this is the first novel by forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs and the inspiration for theProbably the most technical murder mystery you might read, this is the first novel by forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs and the inspiration for the TV show Bones (there's virtually no similarity between the book and the show other than the name and occupation of the main character...the personality, setting, and other characters are completely different). The technical forensic detail is fascinating, but some readers may find it dry. In some sense, I found most of the secondary characters to be a bit flat, while the primary character, Temperance Brennan, seemed almost too flighty for her job. The book definitely shows signs of some inexperience in writing, but I suspect that her later books are probably more polished and smooth. A worthy first effort....more