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Devil Bones: A Novel (Temperance Brennan Novels) Hardcover


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Product Details

  • Series: Temperance Brennan Novels
  • Hardcover: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (August 26, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743294386
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743294386
  • Product Dimensions: 9.5 x 6.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #693,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review


Amazon.com Exclusive: Jeffery Deaver on Devil Bones
Jeffery Deaver is the bestselling author of The Broken Window, The Sleeping Doll, The Cold Moon, The Blue Nowhere, The Bone Collector, The Empty Chair, The Devil's Teardrop, and fifteen other suspense novels. His book A Maiden's Grave was made into an HBO movie starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and his novel The Bone Collector was made into a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington. He lives in North Carolina.

It's always a pleasure to see a new installment in the saga of Temperence Brennan, the forensic anthropologist who plies her trade in both Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal.

Devil Bones, set in the U S of A, opens with a grisly discovery that offers a very different take on This Old House. Tempe is pulled from staid academia to investigate the troubling and mystifying scene, which involves cauldrons, ceremonial religious artifacts and, most troubling, the severed head of a teenage girl.

Another torso is located nearby, and the story is off and running.

Tempe and Charlotte police department detective Erskine "Skinny" Slidell, follow leads that take them through the seamier and the chicer sides of North Carolina's largest city--the worlds of Santeria, voodoo, the Wiccan religion (any witches out there: I'm not lumping them together!), and male prostitution. Our heroine also locks horns with a crusading minister turned politician, and there's a reporter who manages to show up at all the wrong moments.

Reichs juggles the questions of who done it (and who's gonna get done next) until the very end with consummate skill. In series books, readers treat characters as friends and follow those storylines as ardently as the ones involving murder and mayhem. Not content to keep things simmering on low boil, Reichs dunks her protagonist into a pressure cooker, with plenty of turmoil stirred up by a former lover, a--possibly--current one and, most significantly for this reader, yet another ghost of life past, about which I'll say no more here. Trouble on campus also surfaces for Professor Brennan, with whom we experience one of the most harrowing moments in the book: a meeting of professors and department heads (university politics as weapon of mass destruction). Oh, and we can't forget some brief appearances by the ex, who is behaving just like, well, an ex.

It might have been my imagination but I believe too that I saw the bones, if you will, of a possible subplot involving Tempe's daughter, Katy, who's working in the public defender's office. I'm looking forward to seeing Reich confirm or deny this in the next installment.

In Devil Bones we get plenty of what we've come to expect in a Reichs novel: engrossing details on forensic anthropology and anatomical science. Her mastery, and love, of those subjects, which Reichs herself practices (in both Montreal and Charlotte, by the way), is evident in her writing. We're also treated to plenty of esoterica about non-mainstream religions and history (I mean, I live in North Carolina and didn't know Charlotte was named for a seventeen-year-old German duchess). The author deftly negotiates that fine line between using such information to enhance the experience of reading a novel and padding prose. She gives us what we need to know--to enrich plot, character or atmosphere--and then gets back to the story.

And speaking of which: As an author writing in the same genre, I was impressed with Reichs's ability to keep the roller coaster on track and speeding along, page after page. She's a true master of cliff hangers--a neglected skill in a field where far too many lazy authors end chapters with people leaving rooms, falling asleep or offering hand-tipping foreshadowings of what's to come. I call this the question-mark factor and when writing my thriller I actually tally up the number of scenes that end in a compelling, unresolved issue that drives the reader forward.

Reichs has question marks aplenty.

My one complaint: I read the novel in one sitting. But I'm hoping that while poor Tempe may want a break after everything that happens to her in Devil Bones, author Reichs isn't giving her any rest and is hard at work on number 12.

--Jeffery Deaver


From Publishers Weekly

Dr. Temperance Brennan's quest to identify two corpses pits her against citizen vigilantes intent on a witch-hunt in bestseller Reichs's exciting 11th thriller to feature the forensic anthropologist (after 2007's Bones to Ashes). While working in Charlotte, N.C., Brennan investigates remains unearthed during a housing renovation and discovers disturbing clues possibly pointing to voodoo or Santeria. She must determine if the bones, including the skull of a teenage girl, are linked to an unidentified headless torso found in a nearby lake. Intent on using the deaths as the cornerstone of his crusade against immorality, fundamentalist preacher turned politician Boyce Lingo claims that the bodies bear the mark of devil worshippers. With the help of Det. Erskine Skinny Slidell, Brennan unearths a tangled web of dirty politics, religious persecution and male prostitution. Reichs, whose work inspired the hit TV series Bones, once again expertly blends science and complex character development. (Aug.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."

More About the Author


Kathy Reichs, like her fictional creation, Temperance Brennan, is forensic anthropologist for the province of Quebec. She is Vice President of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, serves on the Canadian National Police Services Advisory Council, and is one of only fifty-six forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. A professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal. Deja Dead, her debut novel, brought her fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. In 2007 Break No Bones was short- listed for the Ellis Award for Best Novel. Kathy Reichs is the inspiration for the television drama Bones; her latest novel featuring Temperance Brennan is Devil Bones. Her newest release, 206 Bones, is due out in the summer of 2009

Customer Reviews

This book feels more like she's just going through the motions.
Barbara L. Lemaster
This author knows how to end chapters right when something starts to happen which helped keep me reading until I finished this book, but over all the novel was boring.
cicadanymph
Over all, this was a fast-paced and fun read, and one of the best books of the series.
Book Reviewer

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you are a long-time fan of this series, I've written this review for you. You can skip this book if you want to. In terms of series continuity, I'm sure Dr. Reichs will be able to put in two sentences near the start of the next book to handle what happens in this one.

If you haven't read any books in the series, don't start with this one. Start with Deja Dead, a much better book.

If you like mysteries that are hard to solve as a reader, you will like Devil Bones much better than most readers. That's also true if you are fascinated by pagan religions and cannot get enough information about dead bodies.

On the other hand, if you want an entertaining story that's an easy read, you will probably think this is a two-star book. The book also features an easy-to-hate politician who makes the story less appealing. If you like to see Dr. Tempe Brennan's love life get somewhere, this book is pretty close to a zero.

Let's face it. We all have bad days. Tempe seems to be having one throughout this book. That also makes the book more of a downer than it had to be.

Tempe is called out when an apparent root cellar turns out to contain a human skull, associated with what looks like some sort of pagan religious rite. Tracking down the rest of that body becomes the focus of much of the story in Devil Bones. Soon thereafter, a body is dumped that displays satanic signs. Are the two events connected? How?

The investigation has many unexpected twists and turns, most of which wouldn't have happened if Tempe had been a little sharper in assessing one of the clues. If you are quicker than Tempe, you'll unravel the mystery faster than she did. But you'll probably miss the real criminal until all is revealed unless you have ESP.

I learned way too much about pagan religions and medical details from this book, but I liked the mystery being difficult to solve. So I rounded up from two stars to three.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 31, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Temperance Brennan, the forty-plus forensic anthropologist, explores alternative religions in "Devil Bones," the latest Kathy Reichs thriller. An employee of the state of North Carolina, Tempe is under contract to Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. She examines "the burned, decomposed, mummified, mutilated, dismembered, and skeletal." This time around, she has a great deal on her plate. First, she is called to a "chamber of horrors" containing human and animal remains and various objects, including cauldrons, statues, candles, and dolls pierced with miniature swords. Was this the site of some sort of satanic ritual? Next, a dog walker finds a headless body near a lake. The victim's torso had been carved up with various markings that might also point to a ritualistic killing. These findings set off a firestorm, fueled by hysterical media coverage and the ranting of a grandstanding politician named Boyce Lingo, who decries "murderous devil worshippers" allowed to go unpunished. Tempe is livid not only about the leaks, but about Lingo's wild speculation and baseless accusations.

Tempe, who teams up with Erskine "Skinny" Slidell, an unkempt but hard-working and insightful homicide detective, is destined for much grief as she tries to make sense of these seemingly unrelated cases. Not only are they bashed by Lingo and disreputable reporters, but they are also frustrated by contradictory evidence, a lack of credible witnesses, and leads that go nowhere. In addition, Tempe's personal life is in turmoil, as she struggles to come to terms with her alcoholism, her ex's engagement, and her mixed feelings for Andrew Ryan, the Montreal detective who stole her heart and then proceeded to break it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By E. Durham on September 3, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have to come to expect so much more from the series than this book was able to offer. The historical background is dry and uninteresting, not the usual transfer of intriguing information by the author. It is not that the topic is not interesting to me as I am a practicing member of an earth-oriented religion. However the intellectual areas do not mesh with the interpersonal on a level I have come to expect from the author. The use of ending a paragraph negating all that was just written in terms of dire future events became annoying. Bringing an new romantic character and then not developing him at all was a letdown and the coming of Andrew Ryan into the storyline seem trite and contrived as if he was there as a useless appendage. His part was also never developed to satifaction. Lastly we have he ex-husband and dragging in all THAT involves with the half his age fiance' and again the developement was left undone. I think the book would have been better served to leave off so many personal demons, including the off the wagon drinking binge that happens and then is treated as if there were no physical effects and fewer mental ones. All in all it was an OK read, but not up to standards of the other Tempe Brennan novels.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Linda L. Plaskett on July 2, 2009
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Normally love Kathy Reich's books, but this was a real slog. Way TMI about Charlotte, and too much excruciating forensic detail. Half the book before the story picked up. Her normal wit and humor are almost totally absent, and the plot had an unbelievable number of coincidences to wind up the story. Hope her next book is back to her old standards.
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