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The Bone Thief: A Body Farm Novel Mass Market Paperback – February 22, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

The latest Body Farm novel picks up not too long after the previous one, Bones of Betrayal (2009), ended. Isabella, the murderous seductress, still haunts Dr. Bill Brockton, forensic anthropologist and founder of Tennessee’s unique research facility known as the Body Farm (he’s loosely based on Dr. Bill Bass, the Body Farm’s real founder and one-half of the novel’s writing team). Isabella disappeared at the end of the previous novel, and Brockton is concerned she might not have gone too far. Current events, however, including a couple of cases of corpse-dismemberment, are helping him keep his mind off her—until he makes a shocking discovery that could turn his life upside down. The Body Farm novels get better with each new book; not only are they more compellingly plotted and more tightly written but Brockton also has become a more fully realized character, not merely a stand-in for his creator. A very good mystery, suitable not just for fans of the Brockton novels but also for readers who enjoy forensic thrillers by Kathy Reichs and Patricia Cornwell. --David Pitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

It seems a routine case for Dr. Bill Brockton, the exhumation of a body to obtain a bone sample for a DNA paternity test. But a shocking discovery awaits Brockton and his colleagues when the coffin is opened: the corpse inside has been horribly violated. The grisly find embroils the Body Farm's founder in a dangerous investigation into a flourishing black market in body parts, as Brockton is recruited for an FBI sting to bring down a postmortem chop shop—using corpses from the Body Farm as bait.

But as he descends deeper into a ghoulish empire on the trail of a ruthless grave robber, Brockton faces a devastating choice that could compromise the investigation and place him in even graver peril. And for the sake of a damaged friend—a medical examiner who has lost his hands—Brockton may be forced to risk his principles, his freedom . . . and even his life.

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Product Details

  • Series: Body Farm Novel (Book 5)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; Reprint edition (February 22, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062044885
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062044884
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,215,029 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By R. Kyle VINE VOICE on March 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Anytime Grease calls, Dr. Bill Brockton knows the case could be dicey. "Grease" is the nickname given to Burt DeVriess, a wealthy Knoxville defense attorney. DeVriess wants Dr. Brockton to exhume the body of a eight-year-old corpse in order to determine if the wealthy decedent fathered an illegitimate child with one of the city's most notorious madams.

But, the body in the coffin isn't intact. Someone's chopped up the decedent. As Dr. Brockton continues his investigation, he uncovers more of the Ivy Funeral Home's former clients with empty graves.

But why are dead bodies being stolen? Parts are big business. Some unscrupulous tissue firm is clearly paying for cadavers.

When the FBI get a lead on a firm, they ask Dr. Brockton to go undercover and offer to supply the group with donated cadavers from the Body Farm. The assignment goes against everything Dr. Brockton stands for, but if the law has any chance of catching the grave robbers, he's going to have to help.

"The Bone Thief" is my favorite of the Body Farm novels by the award-winning team of Dr. Bill Bass, the founder of the real Body Farm, and Jon Jefferson, his film and writing partner. It's the grittiest and tightest paced of their efforts so far. The book will literally have you up reading well past your bedtime.

Rebecca Kyle, March 2010
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Karen Joan VINE VOICE on April 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
THE BONE THIEF is the fifth installment in the Body Farm series by Jefferson Bass. And let me tell you, this book will take your mind off of all your troubles. I know. I had a 3 day case of stomach flu will reading this book. I couldn't eat, couldn't get out of bed, couldn't really do anything. All I could do was sleep...and read this novel. THE BONE THIEF helped me forget (at least temporarily) how really lousy I really felt. And that is a ringing endorsement!

Even though THE BONE THIEF is the 5th book in a series, it stands very well on its own. While there are important references to previous stories, they are well explained, and I never felt lost. With a multithreaded storyline based in the black marketeering of body parts, an FBI sting operation, the paternity of an unborn child, and the agony of a dear friend, THE BONE THIEF is a clear winner.

I zipped right through THE BONE THIEF, even in my dilapidated condition. The plot and pacing both worked well, with the science, the action, and multiple threads all blending seamlessly. The characters were likeable and well developed, and I felt that I had a good rapport with them, even the ones from earlier books. The characters truly felt real and very human in both their professional and personal foibles and woes. All in all, THE BONE THIEF is an excellent read, and I will definitely be reading more books in this series.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sandy Kay VINE VOICE on April 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is partly a continuation of Bones of Betrayal: A Body Farm Novel (Body Farm Novels); two fairly personal side stories to the main mystery in this book are directly related to the events in the earlier book. If you haven't read that book you should read it before reading this book, not because you need to have read "Bones of Betrayal" to understand this book but because reading this one will spoil the ending of the other one.

The main story in this book starts with what should be a routine exhumation, but the body is missing its arms and legs. The resulting investigation brings the FBI to Dr. Brockton with a request that he go undercover to help them get evidence against suppliers of black market body parts by appearing willing to sell bodies donated to the Body Farm for personal profit. The interesting aspect of this book is that it is not about Brockton solving a murder by studying the remains but instead about crimes involving the bodies. And Brockton's undercover work shows a different side to his personality. And there is thought-provoking information about the business of medical research and transplants. I thought the book was very enjoyable.

I also read the Kathy Reichs "Bones" book series and think if you enjoy that series, you will also enjoy this series. Brockton is a much different character than Temperance Brennan but they have the same professional background. And Brockton is the fictional counterpart of one of the authors -- the founder of the University of Tennessee's Body Farm.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Lynne E. TOP 100 REVIEWER on July 2, 2010
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"This book contains more medical detail than any of our prior books," say the authors in their Acknowledgments. This is (1) a good thing if you like learning about anatomy and forensics, but (2) a bad thing if you're a good visualizer and a bit squeamish about blood, surgical techniques, and decomposition. But decomposition details are what you expect from a "Body Farm" mystery, right?

The focus of this fifth entry in the intriguing series is illegal trafficking in cadaver body parts (used in organ transplants) and cadavers (used in surgical training). The cadaver trafficking problem is real--some readers will no doubt remember the headlines about the 2004 theft and sale of cancerous bones from Masterpiece Theater host Alistair Cooke's body for possible use in dental implants and orthopedic procedures. And if you thought that such body-snatching was rare, and unlikely to occur again soon, then this book will open your eyes by explaining how the laws of supply and demand make the human body parts business both lucrative and attractive for unscrupulous individuals.

Despite its grounding in reality, THE BONE THIEF is a well-plotted page-turner. Dr. Bill Brockton behaves true to form, doing the right thing even when that threatens to destroy his reputation and his professional relationships, and to land him in prison. Except for a brief chapter or two that includes the apparently obligatory scenes of the medical examiner or forensic investigator's being stalked by the killer or evil-doer, the story moves along swiftly, with many twists and turns that are both unpredictable and believable, and reaches a satisfying conclusion.

A sub-theme that will likely cause many readers to reflect on their own mortality is Dr.
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