Ashland Mystery Oregon's Reviews > Spider Bones

Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs
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Sep 11, 11

bookshelves: mystery-forensics
Read in September, 2011

Spider Bones is concerned with the identification of military personnel remains. It's a bit of a complicated plot that draws together a drowning in Quebec, the exhumation of a veteran buried in a North Carolina grave and shark attacks on a Honolulu beach. It's a good, fast read, just right for a flight between Medford, Oregon and Las Vegas, California.

It's been a while since I've read one of Kathy Reichs' masterful Temperance Brennan books. I love the series so, and it's always a let down when I'm caught up and theres no more to read until this hardworking writer produces another. So, as with many of my favorite writers, I wait for a body of work to be published and I can immerse myself again in their world and characters.

In the case of Kathy Reichs, the TV show Bones has been helpful, giving me some continuity in the series while I wait for more books, and giving Tempe a more concrete physical form, amazing eyes, a brilliant, inquisitive mind and a whole host of wonderful, supportive colleagues.

And then I read Spider Bones and realized how unlike the book Temperance Brennann is from the TV Temperance Brennan. They're two completely different animals. Duh.

The real meat of the book though is the identification of dead soldiers, the victims of war. Temperance is assigned to the Central Identification Laboratory in Hawaii, and with this we learn that 1,800 Americans were unaccounted for in the Vietnam War, 120 from the Cold War, 8,100 from yhe Korean War and 78,000 from WWII. The lab has about 700 active cases at any one time, and clears about 6 cases a month. Even as part of a fictional narrative, the documentation and process is impressive.

The methodology and science perfectly matches Brennan's interests and expertise, and she's well capable of managing the other parts of her life - daughter Katy, Ryan, Ryan's daughter Lily, Ryan's ex, Hawaii's beauty, good food, physical danger - without the asperger's that makes up the TV Tempe's character.

I'm glad to be re-acquainted with Kathy Reichs' writing, and more, to be reminded of the creative differences in media execution.

Duh.

--Ashland Mystery

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