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Cross Bones (Temperance Brennan) Hardcover – June 28, 2005

3.5 out of 5 stars 274 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance "Tempe" Brennan gets caught in mysteries past and present when she's called in to determine if illegal antiquities dealer Avram Ferris's gunshot death is murder or suicide. An acquaintance of Avram suggests the former: he hands Tempe a photograph of a skeleton, taken in Israel in 1963, and insists it's the reason Avram is dead. Tempe's longtime boyfriend, Quebecois detective Andrew Ryan, is also involved with the case, so the duo head to Israel where they attempt to solve the murder and a mystery revolving around a first-century tomb that may contain the remains of the family of Jesus Christ. This find threatens the worldwide Christian community, the Israeli and Jewish hierarchy and numerous illegal antiquity dealers, any of whom might be out to kill Tempe and Ryan. Not that Tempe notices. She has the habit of being oblivious to danger, which quickly becomes annoying, as does Reichs's tendency to end chapters with a heavy-handed cliffhanger ("His next words sent ice up my spine"). The plot is based on a number of real-life anthropological mysteries, and fans of such will have a good time, though thriller readers looking for chills and kills may not find the novel quite as satisfying.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

In the eighth entry in Reichs' popular mystery series, forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan spends more time contemplating biblical history than modern-day murder. A preface sets the stage, providing a bit of factual context for the puzzle that emerges when Tempe is given a photo of an articulated skeleton, which she is told is the key to the suspicious death of a slightly shady Orthodox Jewish merchant. The legend on the back of a photo leads to the bones themselves, 2,000-year-old remains that excite not only Tempe but also her friend Jake Drum, a biblical archaeologist, who suggests that the bones might even belong to Jesus himself! Unlike Tempe's previous forays into the world of crime, this episode isn't long on thrills. Instead, we get a fairly complicated lesson in biblical history, some radical theory to ponder, and the itch to read real-life religion professor James Tabor's upcoming book about Masada and ancient bones, The Jesus Dynasty, to which Reichs refers in an afterword. Yet another read-alike for Da Vinci Code fans. Stephanie Zvirin
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Series: Temperance Brennan (Book 8)
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; 1st edition (June 28, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743233484
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743233484
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1.1 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (274 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #138,900 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By N. Bonner on July 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I had read Kathy Reich's previous books and picked this one up not realizing the plot revolved around Orthodox Jews and Israel. As an Orthodox Jew who spent 10 years in Israel, I looked forward to seeing how Reich would deal with those topics. In her previous books, if she put a street in Montreal where it didn't belong, it didn't bother me because I didn't know any better. In this book, the constant barrage of factual errors was incredible. I can't believe that any of the folks she credits in the introduction actually read the final manuscript. Where to begin? An ultra-Orthodox man is killed under mysterious circumstances, which begins this investigation. Tempe Brennan gets a tip that he was killed because of something in an old photo--which turns out to be remains spirited away from the excavation at Masada in the 1960s. She and her boyfriend, Andy Ryan, then get to travel to Israel and run around trying to find out of these bones belonged to Jesus and/or his family members. I found the whole plot totally unbelievable. Throughout the book, Tempe and Ryan keep harping on the fact that Masada is a sacred place and claiming that Israelis would be upset if they knew that followers of Jesus had been up there. This is supposed to be the chief source of the book's tension. Baloney!

Masada is an important historical site with emotional value to secular Israelis as a symbol of Jewish survival, but it has no sacred status. The Nazarenes themselves were just another Jewish sect, no different from the many other sects that abounded at that time. They were just Jews who believed that Jesus was the messiah. Shortly before, there were Jews who believed that Bar Kochba was the messiah. Later, there would be Jews who thought Shabbatai Tzvi was the messiah.
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Format: Hardcover
I usually love Kathy Reichs books. This one I found incredibly boring, pedantic and uninteresting. The dialogue between Tempe and Ryan peculiar to say the least, staccato, juvenile and ridiculous. The storyline could have been told in 100 pages. Tempe came across as a know it all and lectured at every oportunity, half of which was incomprehensible to the layperson. Also some of the comments made couldn't be connected to the conversation. In actual fact had I been given the book without being told the author I would never have recognised it as being written by Kathy Reichs. Very disappointing.
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Format: Hardcover
Kathy Reichs latest thriller, "Cross Bones," features forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan, who divides her time between laboratories in North Carolina and Montreal. Tempe is currently in a committed relationship with hunky Canadian Detective Andrew Ryan (he of the Viking blue eyes), who is her partner both professionally and personally.

When the body of an Orthodox Jew named Avram Ferris turns up in a state of advanced putrefaction in Montreal, Tempe is called in to help determine the cause of death. Adding to the mystery, a stranger named Kessler passes Tempe a photograph, stating that it provides a clue as to why Ferris was killed. The photo shows a supine skeleton, and various elements in the picture indicate that it was taken at an archaeological dig. Tempe calls her pal, Jake Drum, a colleague at University of North Carolina-Charlotte and an expert in biblical archaeology, to shed some light on the photograph.

Jake believes that the picture was taken at Masada, Israel, in 1963. He further states that it may contain explosive evidence that Yigael Yadin, the archaeologist who excavated Masada, wanted to keep hidden from the world. Ferris' death and the puzzling photograph lead Tempe, Jake, and Ryan to Israel, where they encounter intrigue, violence, and ever more complex biblical conundrums involving skeletal remains.

The resemblance between "Cross Bones" and Dan Brown's "Da Vinci Code" is strictly intentional. In fact, Tempe mentions Brown's blockbuster bestseller more than once, with a wink to the reader, as if the Reichs is saying, "Sure, this is another 'Da Vinci Code' clone, but I'm putting my own spin on it." Unfortunately, Reichs doesn't quite pull it off.
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Format: Hardcover
This story is a change of pace for Temperance Brennan fans, who are used to a grimmer touch. While the present day mystery is real enough (the murder of an Orthodox Jewish importer who was apparently executed for his complicity in an antiquity smuggling business. But this story quickly takes second place when Brennan discovers that she might very well be performing an autopsy on the bones of Jesus Christ.

Years previous to these events in Montreal the archeological excavation at the fort of Masada in Isreal discovers a chamber with the bones of 25 individuals. Something about this discovery causes the archeologists to suppress the information (this actually happened). Somehow Avram Ferris, the victim, had gotten mixed up with as set of these bones and now it has cost him his lift.

But whose skeleton is it? Could is be a Christ who never actually died, one of the Jewish defenders of Masada, or a frightened Christian convert caught in the rush of the Roman effort to end the insurrection. And just to make things more convolute, when Temperance travels to Israel with Ryan, her lover, to investigate the crime, she is catapulted (literally) into a mystery that might very well be the Jesus family tomb.

This is an excellent intellectual thriller that has our forensic archaeologist and her detective lover trying to piece together both the current story and the events of 2000 years ago. Somehow the stories are related, and discovering how means solving the murder. Or dying if Temperance isn't careful. But prepare yourself for a delightful trip though history and modern Israeli politics with a story that is sometimes reminiscent of a Dan Brown novel and sometimes just hardboiled detection.
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