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Devil Bones: A Novel (Temperance Brennan Novels) Hardcover – August 26, 2008
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Amazon.com Exclusive: Jeffery Deaver on Devil Bones
Jeffery Deaver is the bestselling author of The Broken Window, The Sleeping Doll, The Cold Moon, The Blue Nowhere, The Bone Collector, The Empty Chair, The Devil's Teardrop, and fifteen other suspense novels. His book A Maiden's Grave was made into an HBO movie starring James Garner and Marlee Matlin, and his novel The Bone Collector was made into a feature release from Universal Pictures, starring Denzel Washington. He lives in North Carolina.
It's always a pleasure to see a new installment in the saga of Temperence Brennan, the forensic anthropologist who plies her trade in both Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal.
Devil Bones, set in the U S of A, opens with a grisly discovery that offers a very different take on This Old House. Tempe is pulled from staid academia to investigate the troubling and mystifying scene, which involves cauldrons, ceremonial religious artifacts and, most troubling, the severed head of a teenage girl.
Another torso is located nearby, and the story is off and running.
Tempe and Charlotte police department detective Erskine "Skinny" Slidell, follow leads that take them through the seamier and the chicer sides of North Carolina's largest city--the worlds of Santeria, voodoo, the Wiccan religion (any witches out there: I'm not lumping them together!), and male prostitution. Our heroine also locks horns with a crusading minister turned politician, and there's a reporter who manages to show up at all the wrong moments.
Reichs juggles the questions of who done it (and who's gonna get done next) until the very end with consummate skill. In series books, readers treat characters as friends and follow those storylines as ardently as the ones involving murder and mayhem. Not content to keep things simmering on low boil, Reichs dunks her protagonist into a pressure cooker, with plenty of turmoil stirred up by a former lover, a--possibly--current one and, most significantly for this reader, yet another ghost of life past, about which I'll say no more here. Trouble on campus also surfaces for Professor Brennan, with whom we experience one of the most harrowing moments in the book: a meeting of professors and department heads (university politics as weapon of mass destruction). Oh, and we can't forget some brief appearances by the ex, who is behaving just like, well, an ex.
It might have been my imagination but I believe too that I saw the bones, if you will, of a possible subplot involving Tempe's daughter, Katy, who's working in the public defender's office. I'm looking forward to seeing Reich confirm or deny this in the next installment.
In Devil Bones we get plenty of what we've come to expect in a Reichs novel: engrossing details on forensic anthropology and anatomical science. Her mastery, and love, of those subjects, which Reichs herself practices (in both Montreal and Charlotte, by the way), is evident in her writing. We're also treated to plenty of esoterica about non-mainstream religions and history (I mean, I live in North Carolina and didn't know Charlotte was named for a seventeen-year-old German duchess). The author deftly negotiates that fine line between using such information to enhance the experience of reading a novel and padding prose. She gives us what we need to know--to enrich plot, character or atmosphere--and then gets back to the story.
And speaking of which: As an author writing in the same genre, I was impressed with Reichs's ability to keep the roller coaster on track and speeding along, page after page. She's a true master of cliff hangers--a neglected skill in a field where far too many lazy authors end chapters with people leaving rooms, falling asleep or offering hand-tipping foreshadowings of what's to come. I call this the question-mark factor and when writing my thriller I actually tally up the number of scenes that end in a compelling, unresolved issue that drives the reader forward.
Reichs has question marks aplenty.
My one complaint: I read the novel in one sitting. But I'm hoping that while poor Tempe may want a break after everything that happens to her in Devil Bones, author Reichs isn't giving her any rest and is hard at work on number 12.
From Publishers Weekly
Dr. Temperance Brennan's quest to identify two corpses pits her against citizen vigilantes intent on a witch-hunt in bestseller Reichs's exciting 11th thriller to feature the forensic anthropologist (after 2007's Bones to Ashes). While working in Charlotte, N.C., Brennan investigates remains unearthed during a housing renovation and discovers disturbing clues possibly pointing to voodoo or Santeria. She must determine if the bones, including the skull of a teenage girl, are linked to an unidentified headless torso found in a nearby lake. Intent on using the deaths as the cornerstone of his crusade against immorality, fundamentalist preacher turned politician Boyce Lingo claims that the bodies bear the mark of devil worshippers. With the help of Det. Erskine Skinny Slidell, Brennan unearths a tangled web of dirty politics, religious persecution and male prostitution. Reichs, whose work inspired the hit TV series Bones, once again expertly blends science and complex character development. (Aug.) ""
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved."
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Well, in this book, Temperance is having one of those days. And one of those cases -- or is it not one case, but more? And one of those days with her long-time boyfriend; well, maybe not -- they are broken up... or are they?
Couple that with exceedingly hot or extremely cold with her daughter, and you have Tempi's personal story during this book.
Did I mention that her daughter is trying to hook her up with one of her coworkers in the attorneys office in which she works?... And that Tempe had more than simply known him during her school days? And that she is also actively pursuing a meeting of Temperance with Summer, her father's fiance, nearly young enough to be her sister?
Yes, Temperance is having a slew of very, very bad days. And you'll feel every bit of emotion emitted from those days. And even laugh at how much her responses resemble those you had in similar circumstances.
And that's just the tip of the iceberg; let's not risk revealing anything that might be considered a spoiler.
And the cases... Bones found in strange configurations, suggesting stranger still religious practices, including devil worship. And, of course, the media latches onto that. Not just reporting, but nearly calling for vigilante organization against the immoral devil-worshippers infecting the community.
Will the bambling [Ok, not a real word: think rambling politician overflowing with self-promotion ideas (more aptly, ideals) with Billy Graham charisma, always at the right place at the wrong time (for everyone else, especially law enforcement), and hell-bent upon inciting a modern version of the Salem Witch Trials] politician succeed in inciting public wrath, leading to violent outcry and actions? Will the apparent reporter (who also appears at all the wrong times, in all the wrong places) finally break down her targets, gaining information intended to remain under wraps?...and whose career will she burn in the process?
And will the links between these cases -- apparent satanic ritual, apparent form of voodoo or witchcraft, murdered cop, possible murdered innocent -- ever surface, or will they prove to be disparate crimes linked merely by temporal proximity?
No answers here. But you'll be firmly gripped by the author as she leads you through the investigations and, finally, after trials and errors pulling you in all these directions, guides you through to the conclusion. And you'll enjoy every step of the process.
“Fear of women’s power runs like a subtext through most of today’s religions. Modern church doctrines are full of stories of sirens and witches and enchantresses under the full moon. Empowering male propaganda. “And it’s so ironic, because ancient artifacts suggest people first worshipped a female deity, a goddess or earth mother. Did you see the image over the coven house door?”
"I learned of the Law of Threefold Return, the belief that both good and bad deeds reflect back on the doer, and of the Eight Wiccan Virtues: mirth, reverence, honor, humility, strength, beauty, power, and compassion."
I may re-read this story and always look forward to other works by this author.
I find it difficult to pick up one of Kathy's books and remember that the book Temperance Brennan is quite different from the TV Temperance of which I have watched most of the episodes.
The book Temperance has a completely different set of characters surrounding her and I am not as familiar with them as I am with the TV Temperance since I have only read a few of the books. This is a small inconvenience though as I take each book as a separate entity and prefer to just jump right into the story and just go with it.
The story line revolves around Wicca, Voodoo and Santeria and the question of "Who did it?" always comes up as soon as the first body appears.
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