Papercuts1's Reviews > Bones Are Forever

Bones Are Forever by Kathy Reichs
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Sep 24, 12

bookshelves: killer-thrillers
Read from August 31 to September 14, 2012

I love Tempe. I really do. But I need to be honest, even if it hurts.

BONES ARE FOREVER, while being an entertaining read, is going down the same path as other recent installments of the Tempe Brennan series: Everything is getting a bit old and - worse - the characters are running in circles, getting nowhere.

Yes, we have the forensic stuff. We have, as usual, corpses that need to have a name put to them. And - let's face it right away - the scenes with these little bodies are the best ones of the book. Heartbreaking, but spotlighting everything we love about Tempe. Her tenderness, her rage, her emotional investment feel authentic and human and professional at the same time. Here is a character who, after all these years, hasn't lost touch or abandoned her ethics and sense of justice.

So, Tempe goes on her crusade, and we love her for it. The case takes her to northern Canada, aboriginal country, where, along with Tempe, we learn about a drug war, about geology, about greed and the sad story of a mother who never should have become one. A guest character is added to the mix: A Canadian mountie Tempe once had a fling with. Of course, there is the awaited clash with Ryan, also accompanying Tempe on her trip north. And, of course, we have an intense finale with action and danger and a satisfying wrap-up of the murder case.

And yet, something is missing. The murder story, after a shocking start, isn't all that riveting. Side stories rather distract than add to the case. The numerous characters that come and go fail to make a lasting impression and are rather forgettable. Even the proverbial pissing contest between Ryan and the Mountie never reaches an interesting climax. Reichs just doesnt't make full use of the potential bombs she dropped in the beginning. And, for the finale, she re-uses a much employed actioon pattern for Tempe that is, indeed, getting a bit old. Will Tempe never learn?

And here we come to the biggest problem: One of the most attractive assets of the series was the rollercoaster relationship Tempe and Ryan had going. There was wit, snark, sexiness. There was a development. But now, these two have stalled and aren't getting anywhere. BONES ARE FOREVER, once again, has these two great characters stuck in an uncomfortable, unsatisfying status quo. I had rejoiced when I'd heard Ryan would be back. Turns out, he seems to have lost his mojo, and so does Tempe when it comes to him. The few flickers of mutual attraction between them just aren't enough to make Ryan's return worth it.

I refuse to believe that the series has passed its zenith. I do believe there is still a lot of potential in the characters, and that Reichs has many more interesting cases for Tempe to solve in store. But she needs to tap into that potential and make use of it. She needs to move things forward and come up with new twists. Pounding on familiar patterns while having the characters grind to a halt isn't going to do it for me.

The narrator:

Lisa Emond's voice certainly fits Tempe. She's great when it comes to bringing the irony, the passion and insecurity of Tempe's character across. Best, when it comes to inner monologues and silent commentary.
But during the dialogues, Emonds isn't always able to stay in character, making differentiation a bit of a problem sometimes. Which is a shame, since she does find distinctive voices for the characters, but she just isn't consistent with them.
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Reading Progress

09/06/2012
75.0% "So far, an agreeable Tempe novel with the familiar ingredients. Could be a bit more suspenseful, a bit more spicy. The theme (murdered infants) is a sad one and gives the story an overall somber touch. Curious about the finale now."

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