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Devil Bones: A Novel Audible – Abridged

4.1 out of 5 stars 286 customer reviews

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By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAME on September 4, 2008
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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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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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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Format: Hardcover
This book and the entire series has a good plot line, but Tempe could definitely use a few courses in diplomacy and anger management. How hard is it to follow your bosses order not to talk to the press, then Tempe goes head to head with a politician on TV. If you don't like your heroes making a fool of themselves in the extreme (and I don't) this book will drive you nuts. To be truthful I had to skip entire paragraphs because her actions were so stupid
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