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Grave Secrets Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2003

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Editorial Reviews Review

Temperance Brennan is helping her Guatemalan colleagues identify the remains of villagers who were "disappeared" 20 years ago when she's called in to consult on four more recent disappearances. Is there a serial killer loose in Guatemala City, or is the fate of the young women who've gone missing--including the daughter of the Canadian ambassador--connected to the murder of a human-rights investigator looking into the decades-old massacre? Brennan, the protagonist of Reichs's popular series, is literally hip-deep in intrigue, between the well in Chupan Ya where she unearths the bones of women and children slain in Guatemala's bloody civil war and the septic tank in the capital where the remains of one of the missing girls turn up. Tempe is a standout in crime fiction's crowded field of forensics experts--she's one of its more complex and interesting protagonists, dealing with intriguing cases that often cross national borders and a personal life that's rich in possibilities the author skillfully exploits. Tempe--and Reichs--just keep getting better. --Jane Adams --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Fans of the Temperance Brennan series will be pleased by forensic anthropologist Reichs's latest installment (after Fatal Voyage; Deadly Decisions; etc.). Grave Secrets finds Tempe plying her pathology trade in Guatemala, investigating a massacre site as a favor to a Guatemalan anthropology association. However, when her team is ambushed by gunmen, Tempe finds herself ensnared in a mesh of corruption and murder stretching from Guatemala City to Montreal, involving DAs, military thugs and kinky diplomats. Tempe finds herself drawn and trapped between the two cops investigating: her longtime Canadian suitor, Lt. Andrew Ryan, and her would-be Latin lover, agente Bartolom‚ Galiano. That the two men know each other and are friends doesn't help the situation. When a nosy reporter looking into the massacre is gunned down before Tempe's eyes, she realizes she herself is the next likely target. As has been said before, Reichs has much in common with Patricia Cornwell, though her language is more stripped down and there is less melodrama between autopsies. Devotees of medical procedurals will appreciate the detailed descriptions of bone formation and the mechanics of bodily decomposition within a septic tank; others may not. But the author keeps the twists coming, and by the novel's climax, she has skillfully interwoven her many subplots and red herrings into a satisfying puddle of sex, sleaze, greed and gore.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Series: Temperance Brennan Novels
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket Star (July 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671028383
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671028381
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (205 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #41,889 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Grave Secrets , the fifth Temperance Brennan novel, is another excellent addition to the series which has blasted Kathy Reichs to fame.
This time, Tempe is sent to Guatemala to recover the bodies of the dead (known as "the Disappeareds") massacred during that country's vile civil war. It is in the village of Chupan Ya that she uncovers 28 dead bodies, and on the way to the site, two other forensic scientists are attacked on the road, shot, and left for dead. It is the beginning of an investigation which will haunt Tempe in the coming weeks.
Shortly after, her help is sought by the local police. Four teenage girls have gone missing in Guatemala City, and one of them is the daughter of the Canadian Ambassador. Is there a serial killer at work? Soon after, a decomposing body is found in a septic tank of a local hotel, and the investigating begins in earnest.
Reichs' writing is sharp; the plotting tight and complex. Her characters are interesting, often drawn with only a few choice words, and her descriptions of the dead are brilliant. Reichs' books ring with authenticity, as she has been and done the same sorts of things as her main character. This fuels the writing with realism and a relentless compassion for the dead, which really comes out in the story. She never lets you forget that these people walked, breathed, laughed, talked...that they used to be us.
Her use of forensic detail is interesting, and the way she writes about science doesn't make you feel as if you're reading a textbook. (In this area, she is almost on a par with Cornwell.) However, with this book there is one too many plot lines, leading them to become confused in the mind of the reader. However, careful reading does tend to remedy this.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on July 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Between the years of 1962-1996, Guatemala was involved in a bloody civil war and many of the peasants who were thought to be rebels were killed or disappeared. In the present, the government is now sending in forensic teams to find and identify the victims so they can be given a proper burial. Dr. Temperance Brennan, a famous forensic anthropologist, is one of the members who are trying to sort out the body parts on the site of a massacre.

While doing her work, she is asked by an honest policeman to examine the body of a woman who was found in a septic tank. It seems that in the past few months, four young women have gone missing and the authorities fear they have a serial killer on their hands. While working the case, Temperance finds herself in danger from an unexpected source and only a miracle will save her life.

Kathy Reichs is a fantastic writer of crime thrillers and her latest work GRAVE SECRETS is even better than usual because of its locations. Based on facts and true events, readers get an inside look at a Central American country where genocide on the local people occurred for more than three decades. Temperance is the kind of heroine most women aspires to be.

Harriet Klausner
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Bull on July 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
We eagerly dived into this fifth book about forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, having thoroughly enjoyed the earlier four stories about her crime solving from a rather different perspective. From the study of bones, sometimes long buried skeletons, Tempe, as in real life does author Dr. Kathy Reichs, is usually able to determine age, race, and gender of the victim; often the means and manner of death; and sometimes even enough clues to pursue the perpetrator. While reminiscent of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta, the Montreal, North Carolina, and sometimes other settings, coupled with supporting characters in each location, plus the somewhat unique challenges of the analysis involved, lead to entertaining stories and characters we have come to enjoy.
In Grave Secrets, Tempe is stationed on assignment in Guatemala, where much of the book is devoted to first her unearthing, then her aiding in the identifying, of two dozen remains of executions of women and children from during the long, 34-year Guatemalan civil war. The atrocities described to us during that period darkened the whole book; presuming this is mostly if not completely fact based, surely a depressing recounting of human cruelty and suffering. Meanwhile, two other stories compete for Tempe's (and our) attention: the case of a skeleton found in a septic tank, and all the interesting technical feats involved in ID'ing the victim; and the disappearance of four missing young women.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gail Cooke HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 28, 2002
Format: Audio Cassette
With numerous film, television and stage appearances to her credit veteran actress Katherine Borowitz knows how to deliver - and deliver she does in her reading of
Kathy Reichs's fifth novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.
This time out we find Tempe in Guatemala where she is assisting in exhuming a mass grave, the final resting place of women and children who were raped and slain by soldiers during a 1982 attack on their village. No one knows for certain who is in the grave; no records were kept. To the families of those missing their loved ones have simply disappeared.
Meanwhile, in Guatemala City, where four young women have been reported missing recently, remains are found in a septic tank. Could those remains be the Canadian Ambassador's daughter? Tempe is asked for help by the Guatemalan police. But as she investigates further she finds herself almost trapped in a web of crime and coverup.
As always, Reichs, who is a forensic anthropologist herself, laces her suspenseful tale with authentic medical description. The author's expertise simply makes her stories more shudderingly real. Reichs tops the list in her genre.
- Gail Cooke
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