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The Devil's Bones (Body Farm Novels) Paperback – January 27, 2009

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Product Details

  • Series: Body Farm Novels
  • Paperback: 306 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reprint edition (January 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060759909
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060759902
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 4.1 x 6.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (77 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #496,999 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The lack of a strong central plot undercuts the third forensic thriller by bestseller Bass, the team of Dr. Bill Bass, founder of Tennessee's world-renowned Body Farm, and journalist Jon Jefferson (after 2007's Flesh and Bone). Two cases occupy Dr. Bass's fictional alter ego, Dr. Bill Brockton—the death of Mary Latham, a 47-year-old Knoxville native, whose charred remains were found in a burned-out car, and a disreputable Georgia crematorium that simply dumped bodies on its grounds. These probes soon take a backseat to a cat-and-mouse game with the doctor's arch nemesis, Garland Hamilton, who tried to frame him for murder in Flesh and Bone. When Hamilton escapes from incarceration before going to trial, Brockton must keep looking over his shoulder. While a smattering of Bass's trademark authentic forensic detail lifts this main narrative thread, a more focused look at a single case might have made the novel a better read. (Feb.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


“[A] fine thriller...this third installment is the best of a steadily improving series, but it’s doubtful we’ve seen the finest moments yet.” (Booklist)

“A superb mystery—well-plotted, filled with memorable characters, based on accurate forensic science.” (Charlotte Observer)

“A superb mystery...written with more flair and literary sensibility than anything by John Grisham.” (Charlotte Observer, praise for CARVED IN BONE)

“A gripping murder mystery.” (Emily A. Craig, Ph.D., Kentucky State Forensic Anthropologist and author of Teasing Secrets from the Dead)

“[A] unique corpse, solid science, quirky humor and a lovable protagonist.” (USA Today)

“[F]ascinating...a delightful course in “how to examine a skeleton,” and the intrigues of the Tennessee moonshine backwoods!” (Michael M. Baden, M.D., author of Remains Silent and former Chief Medical Examiner, New York City)

“CARVED IN BONE introduces a captivating protagonist and is full of obscure, fascinating forensics. [A] fine new talent.” (Stephen White, New York Times bestselling author of MISSING PERSONS)

“Carved in Bone brims with terrific forensic detail . . . the real deal.” (Kathy Reichs, New York Times bestselling author, praise for CARVED IN BONE)

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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Mel Odom TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
THE DEVIL'S BONES by Jefferson Bass is the third novel in the Dr. Bill Brockton forensics series. Jefferson Bass is the pseudonym of Dr. Bill Bass, a forensics specialist that founded Tennessee's Body Farm, and Jon Jefferson, the journalist who co-wrote Dr. Bass's nonfiction books.

I enjoy the CSI world a lot, and I can differentiate between Hollywood DNA results (done while you wait) and real-world DNA results (six months waiting list), but I'm still a sucker for a well-told tale with plenty of hard science behind it. THE DEVIL'S BONES has a lot of both going for it.

I enjoyed Dr. Brockton's first-person "aw shucks" kind of down-to-earth storytelling quite a lot. I grew up in small towns where PHDs still wear cowboy books and haven't quite shaken the rural accents. I always looked up to those men and women (yes, there are women there who haven't gotten out of cowboy boots either) because they knew so much but hadn't gotten away from the lives they'd grown up in. To me, his character felt very natural and real.

However, I was constantly aware that this was a third novel in a series because I was reminded over and over again that I wasn't privy to the events in the preceding novels. To my way of thinking, there were simply too many ties to the last couple of novels to make this one easily picked up and absorbed by a new reader. I'm going to go back and read the other two books in order, because I was well entertained, but I really regretted not having read them before I read this one. So that's a caveat for new readers that might be interested in this. I think the series is well worth the investment, though.

There's also a lot going on in this novel. In the beginning, Dr.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. Bukowsky HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on April 13, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Dr. Bill Bass (founder of the famed Body Farm at the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility) and Jon Jefferson are back with the third installment in their series featuring professor and forensic anthropologist extraordinaire, Dr. Bill Brockton. Brockton has endured one tragedy after another; his wife, Karen, died of cancer, and medical examiner Dr. Jess Carter, with whom he had a close personal relationship, was the victim of a psychopathic killer who had a vendetta against Brockton. Although he has an attentive son, a kind daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren, Bill is often lonely and his work provides the welcome distraction that he needs.

With the capable assistance of his devoted research assistant, Miranda Lovelady (I am not making this name up), Bill investigates the suspicious death of forty-seven year old Mary Louise Latham, who apparently perished after smoking in a car and setting the surrounding grass on fire. Although Mary's husband, Stuart was in Las Vegas when his wife died, he had a plenty of motive for eliminating her. To get a better idea of the circumstances surrounding the possible crime, Bill and Miranda set fire to two sets of bones sitting in two wrecked cars and subsequently examine the remains. Observing the scene is Art Bohanan, the Knoxville Police Department's senior criminalist and Bill's good buddy. Later, when Bill takes a look at Mary's skeleton as well as the farm where she lived, he makes several significant discoveries that shed light on what may have happened.

Other matters that preoccupy Bill are a case involving the Trinity Crematorium (whose owner, Delbert Littlejohn, may be perpetuating a cruel fraud on his clueless clients) and his forthcoming testimony in the trial of Jess's alleged murderer.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on February 12, 2008
Format: Hardcover
In this third Body Farm novel, Dr. Bill Brockton takes on three bone chilling cases. The first involves establishing whether a woman was burned alive or her remains were incinerated at some later time to falsify the time of death. The second to find out whether the cremains of Dr. Brockton's former defense attorney's deceased Aunt Jean really are hers. The third, to find out if Dr. Brockton's nemesis, the former Knox County, Tennessee Medical Examiner and murderer of Brockton's love interest, really incinerated himself in a cabin fire after he escaped from jail.

The plots of all three are interwoven in authentically like real crime happens. Of course, we have some old favorites returning: Art Bohannon, the wise-cracking KPD fingerprint specialist; Miranda Lovelady, the gifted and hardworking grad student; Burt DeVriess, aka "Grease", the slick defense attorney; and Jim Conner, the new Sheriff from Cooke County, Tennessee. Of course, the forensics are topnotch, the tension doesn't let up, and there's just enough good-humored wisecracking to keep reader blood pressure from skyrocketing.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Jane Branam on February 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
I like the home town, down South flavor of this book. If you like forensics, the author has drawn on the real life case of the crematory in Georgia that did not actually cremate dozens of bodies. I believe the characters could have been developed a little more thoroughly, but I believe the CSI type information and realism makes up for it. It is obvious that the author knows what he is talking about. An enjoyable read, but it won't keep you on the edge of your seat.
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