From Library Journal
A superb new writer introduces her intrepid heroine to crime fiction. Dr. Tempe Brennan, a trowel-packing forensic anthropologist from North Carolina, works in Montreal's Laboratoire de Medecine Legale examining recovered bodies to help police solve missing-persons cases and murders. It's clear to Tempe that the remains of several women killed and savagely mutilated point to a sadistic serial killer, but she can't convince the police. Determined to prevent more brutal deaths, she sleuths solo, tracking her quarry through Montreal's seedy underworld of hookers, where her anthropologist friend Gabby, doing her own scary research, is being stalked by a creep. Despite her ability to work among fetid, putrefying smells that "leap out and grab" and her "go-to-hell attitude" with seasoned cops, Tempe is as vulnerable as a soft Carolina morning. When a grinning skull is planted in her garden, her investigation turns personal and escalates to an intense and satisfying conclusion. Except for imparting an excess of lab information, Reichs, also a forensic anthropologist, drives the pace at a heady clip. A first-class writer, she dazzles readers with sensory imagery that is apt, fresh, and funny (e.g., "fingers felt cold and limp, like carrots kept too long in a cooler bin"). Recommended for all fiction collections, this read is sure to be in demand.-?Molly Gorman, San Marino, Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Temperance Brennan may not be competition for Kay Scarpetta, Patricia Cornwell's medical examiner, in the romance department, but she's just as stubborn and almost as astute when it comes to sleuthing. While investigating a grisly discovery for the Montreal coroner's office, Tempe finds herself remembering a similar investigation she conducted on the remains of a woman who was savagely dismembered and stuffed in garbage bags. When Tempe's concerns about a serial killer are dismissed by the police, she decides to pursue the matter herself--a course of action that both puts her career on the line and so effectively upsets the murderer's plan that he sets his sights on her. Montreal, with its French culture, is an enticing setting for Reichs' first mystery, and as a forensic anthropologist who spends part of her time working for the Province of Quebec, Reich knows the city well. She also contributes a wealth of authentic medical detail as she follows Tempe on her gripping, convoluted quest to catch a psychotic killer. A high-voltage thriller that readers won't want to put down. Reichs' novel generated great interest at the Frankfurt Book Fair and prompted a big-numbers rights auction. Stephanie Zvirin
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