Thursday Review: Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs

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The Blurb: Following her most successful book to date, Kathy Reichs — international number one bestselling author, forensic anthropologist, and producer of the Fox television hit “Bones” — returns to Charlotte, North Carolina, where Temperance Brennan encounters a deadly mix of voodoo, Santeria, and devil worship in her quest to identify two young victims.In a house under renovation, a plumber uncovers a cellar no one knew about, and makes a rather grisly discovery — a decapitated chicken, animal bones, and cauldrons containing beads, feathers, and other relics of religious ceremonies. In the center of the shrine, there is the skull of a teenage girl. Meanwhile, on a nearby lakeshore, the headless body of a teenage boy is found by a man walking his dog.

Nothing is clear — neither when the deaths occurred, nor where. Was the skull brought to the cellar or was the girl murdered there? Why is the boy’s body remarkably well preserved? Led by a preacher turned politician, citizen vigilantes blame devil worshippers and Wiccans. They begin a witch hunt, intent on seeking revenge.

Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan — “five-five, feisty, and forty-plus” — is called in to investigate, and a complex and gripping tale unfolds in this, Kathy Reichs’s eleventh taut, always surprising, scientifically fascinating mystery.

With a popular series on Fox — now in its third season and in full syndication — Kathy Reichs has established herself as the dominant talent in forensic mystery writing. “Devil Bones” features Reichs’s signature blend of forensic descriptions that “chill to the bone” (“Entertainment Weekly”) and the surprising plot twists that have made her books phenomenal bestsellers in the United States and around the world.(

My thoughts:
Okay, so I’m officially moving on from free books picked up at book exchanges and sticking with books in genres I know I like. But the thing is, I thought I would like this one. I like mysteries, I like medical thrillers. This book seemed like it would be an awesome combination of both. It’s not that it’s not enough like the show Bones, it may not be, but I don’t watch that show so the disappointment couldn’t stem from that.

I just didn’t like the writing style. Entire conversations passed like this.

He asked me how it went. I told him. He said that’s too bad. I said I know.

Not “how did it go?”
“Meh, not so great,” I said bringing it up to speed.
“Too bad.” He shook his head and gave me a sympathetic look.

Nope, entire conversations told in summary that included what the characters said verbatim. Why? That doesn’t shorten anything. And it wasn’t just when she was catching up people on events. This happened to.

I picked up the phone and said hello. He sounded upset when he said hello. I asked what was wrong. He told me xyz had happened on the station. Oh, I responded. That is upsetting. We talked for a few more minutes before he said goodbye. I hung up the phone.

Arg! She has an eleven book contract (at least) in PRINT and a TV show. What?!

Every single chapter ended with a “If I’d only paid attention to xyz, I could have prevented so much pain.”

Seriously! That kind of “foreshadowing” is just lazy.

There was tons of “intro to xyz” info dumps. Whether it be aspects of forensics or the tenants of religions. Then the protagonist would have a conversation where she reiterated every single fact from the pages of info dumping. I would have rather just had the conversations. I’m glad she researched stuff, but I really didn’t feel the need for a wikipedia type entry on every single thing she looked up down to random bands. I also felt like it was hitting me over the head with morals. You know, I never considered Wiccan’s to be satanists before this book, but thanks for repeatedly assuming I’m a bigot. I would say that she trying to teach another character or make some self-discovery, but the protagonist never really seemed to think there was a link between Satan and wicca either and it was exposition not dialogue so who else could the writer be trying to convince. To see THAT type of mini-moral packed into a story well, I recommend reading Dime Store Magic by Kelley Armstrong.

Apparently this was book 11 in the series, so I guess one good thing is that I was able to pick up the book and make sense of it without the rest of the series. But I won’t be reading anymore by this author.

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