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The Bone Yard (Body Farm Novels) Paperback – March 27, 2012


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Product Details

  • Series: Body Farm Novels
  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (March 27, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061807044
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061807046
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 4.1 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #316,559 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In Bass's uneven sixth forensic procedural featuring Dr. Bill Brockton (after The Bone Thief), Brockton, who's in charge of the Body Farm, a Tennessee research facility where cadavers are left to decay for research purposes, agrees to help a visiting Florida forensic analyst, Angie St. Claire, with a personal tragedy. St. Claire's sister has died of a shotgun blast to the head in Georgia, a death ruled a suicide by the local authorities, but St. Claire suspects her brother-in-law killed her sister. Brockton's efforts to preserve evidence that could support St. Claire's theory ends up taking a backseat to another puzzle, based on events at an actual Florida reform school, where boys were routinely physically abused. Realistic descriptions of forensic work compensate only in part for less than convincing action sequences. Bass is the writing team of Bill Bass, the real-life model for Brockton, and Jon Jefferson. (Mar.)
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

At a friend's request, Dr. Bill Brockton is called away from the Body Farm—his human-decomposition research facility at the University of Tennessee—to help prove that a woman's suicide was, in fact, murder. But Brockton's quick consulting trip takes a harrowing detour through the Florida panhandle when two adolescent skulls are discovered near the ruins of a once-notorious juvenile detention facility, destroyed by fire more than four decades ago.

Local stories about the North Florida Boys' Reformatory are chilling: nightmarish tales of savage beatings, torture, and worse. Guided by the diary of a former "student," Brockton's team soon makes a grisly discovery: a cluster of shallow graves containing the bones of teenage boys, all of whom suffered violent deaths. But the search for answers becomes more perilous the closer Brockton comes to the truth—because unexpected skeletons reside in some surprisingly prominent closets . . . and summoning ghosts from the past can have devastating consequences in the present.


More About the Author

Jefferson Bass is the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Together, they wrote Death's Acre, a nonfiction account of the Body Farm, before tackling forensic under the pen name of Jefferson Bass. Their debut novel, Carved in Bone, reached # 25 on The New York Times Best Seller list and was followed by Flesh and Bone, The Devil's Bones, and a second nonfiction title, Beyond the Body Farm. Of the six Body Farm novels already in print, five have been New York Times bestsellers. Their seventh novel, "The Inquisitor's Key," comes out May 8, 2012.

Jefferson and Bass bring their own unique set of strengths to the partnership. Dr. Bass, the duo's scientific expert, is a legend in forensic circles. In 1980 he created the world's first laboratory devoted to human decomposition: the University of Tennessee's "Body Farm." Dr. Bass has authored or coauthored more than 200 scientific publications, most of them based on the research facility's work. During half a century in the classroom, Dr. Bass taught tens of thousands of students, including many of the foremost forensic anthropologists practicing in the United States today. He's been featured on numerous network television news programs, as well as in documentaries for National Geographic and the BBC. CBS was not exaggerating when it called Dr. Bass "America 's top forensic scientist."

Jon Jefferson, the "writer" half of Jefferson Bass, is a veteran journalist, science writer, and documentary filmmaker. His journalism credits include work for The New York Times, National Public Radio, Newsweek, and USA Today. Jefferson learned the art of combining scientific material with compelling human stories during a decade as a science writer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In the 1990s he began writing and producing television documentaries, mainly for the History Channel and the Arts and Entertainment Network, covering topics ranging from World War II fighter planes to ancient art treasures at the Vatican. While making a two-hour A&E special about the Vatican in 1998, Jefferson first visited Avignon; thirteen years later, he returned to Avignon to research the richly layered new Body Farm novel, The Inquisitor's Key. The Jefferson-Bass collaboration began in 2001, when Jefferson wrote and produced two National Geographic documentaries about the Body Farm--films that earned high rating around the world. The rest, as they say, is history--or, in this case, memoir and crime fiction!

Customer Reviews

Awesome, I love the Jefferson Bass books - its like Bones on tv, only better.
Catherine C Christensen
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, its plot, the forensic information, the characters were all very captivating.
m. smith
Dr. Bass, founder of The Body Farm in Knoxville, TN is a renowned expert in forensics.
Carolyn A. Swafford

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By L. Dean Murphy on March 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The titular yard on the Florida/Georgia border harbors human bones in seven unmarked graves. Canine Jasper brings home a human skull for his master, Winston Pettis. The only reason Dr. Bill ("Doctor Bill"!) Brockton leaves "The Body Farm" in Tennessee is that Florida forensic analyst Angie St. Claire is studying techniques with him when she is notified that her sister allegedly committed suicide just north of the Florida state line, outside her jurisdiction. Dr. Bill is enlisted as a forensic anthropologist to learn if Angie's hastily buried sister, Kate, could have offed herself with a shotgun.

Angie sets aside grief for her sister's death and drags Dr. Bill into a jurisdictional quagmire. When Jasper brings home another skull and then a femur from nightly forages, a GPS tracking collar is placed on the canine anthropologist wannabe. Only a sinister "big-bellied sheriff" wants this sleeping dog to lie quietly for eternity. The GPS collar disappears but had successfully transmitted the path of a nightly "bone run," which leads Dr. Bill and Angie to unmarked graves a short distance from a notorious juvenile reform school that had mysteriously burned down in the 1960s. Dr. Bill learns that a reform school guard, Seth Cochran (appropriately nicknamed Cockroach), viciously lashed out at boys in the school, but got his just deserts when he died in the fire.

You'd think Dr. Bill would have taken a highly venomous viper in the bathtub of his flea-bag motel as a hint that someone was trying to scare him off the case. But which one: the death of Angie's sister or the unmarked graves? Cherry-hued herrings abound. Then a hidden diary presumed to have been written by one of the reform school boys sheds light and clues as to what really happened---and details unimaginable horrors. Dr.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Luan Gaines HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Two things come to mind in this latest pairing of Dr. Bill Bass, forensic anthropologist, and Jon Jefferson, a veteran journalist, writing as Jefferson Bass. One, the remarkable advances in forensics and crime scene analysis is a growing source of information for curious lay people. The insider view provided by the protagonist, Dr. Bill Brockton of East Tennessee's Body Farm, argues for the implementation of forensic science in solving crimes. Two, the atrocities discovered at the North Florida Boy's Reformatory through Brockton's joint efforts with Angie St. Claire of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement document the abuses of the most vulnerable among us. With most of the relevant evidence destroyed in a 1967 fire at the reformatory, this particular case is a painful reminder of both past and present practices, legislated against, but enforced beyond the scrutiny of the public.

Brockton leaves his teaching facility in Tennessee when St Claire's sister dies under suspect circumstances and needs his help, arriving in Florida just as the long-buried skulls of adolescent children are discovered in a field by a foraging dog. The two events are piggy-backed in The Bone Yard, a possible crime of passion and the ongoing brutality to boys given over to the care of an institution. The scientific bent is relieved from time to time by Brockton's awkward puns, but emotions- even legitimate rage and grief- are an uneasy fit in a tale where science dominates the case resolution. Brockton and St. Claire commit to the methods and personal discipline required, moral outrage left to more peripheral characters, a fact that renders the story sterile in service to the greater good- solving the crimes. Drama is for the courtroom, Brocton intent on finding the monsters among us. Luan Gaines/2011.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on March 30, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Jefferson Bass is the pseudonym of Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. THE BONE YARD is their sixth book, and like the others, its landscape is the Body Farm, a real place in Tennessee where research is done on and with dead bodies. Dr. Bill Brockton, the hero of this series, is based on Bass, who founded the Body Farm 25 years ago.

THE BONE YARD is a startling expose of the Florida penal system as it applies to adolescents. Angie St. Claire, a forensic analyst with the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, asks Brockton to come to the Sunshine state, where she's trying to prove that her sister was murdered and the finding of suicide by the local medical examiner is wrong. While he's there, the skull of an adolescent male is uncovered by Jasper, a dog with a wide range to explore. Soon he brings a second skull to his master, and Brockton is convinced that the boys were victims of foul play. Angie and Special Agent Stu Vickery team up with Brockton, and the three of them explore the territory upon which Jasper probably wandered.

Another finding is the burnt-out remains of the reform school known as the North Florida Boy's Reformatory. On the grounds is an ad hoc graveyard with metal crosses fused together into that shape. No names are attached to the graves. But as they explore, they find other shallow graves in the vicinity of the school. Another important find they make is that of a diary buried in a tin that once held tobacco. Someone wrote long entries into the book, and even though the pages are fused together, a scientist is able to separate them over time. The words that the reader is privy to are bone-chilling and sad at the same time.

As the investigation expands, the group moves into the next county.
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