Review: Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs

7 Sep

Publisher: Simon and Schuster Canada
Release year: 2010
Genre:Adult, mystery, thriller, forensics
One sentence summary: A forensic “Who’s on first?”
Rating: 4 out of 5
Review copy from publisher

John Lowery was declared dead in 1968—the victim of a Huey crash in Vietnam, his body buried long ago in North Carolina. Four decades later, Temperance Brennan is called to the scene of a drowning in Hemmingford, Quebec. The victim appears to have died while in the midst of a bizarre sexual practice. The corpse is later identified as John Lowery. But how could Lowery have died twice, and how did an American soldier end up in Canada?

Tempe sets off for the answer, exhuming Lowery’s grave in North Carolina and taking the remains to Hawaii for reanalysis—to the headquarters of JPAC, the U.S. military’s Joint POW/ MIA Accounting Command, which strives to recover Americans who have died in past conflicts. In Hawaii, Tempe is joined by her colleague and ex-lover Detective Andrew Ryan (how “ex” is he?) and by her daughter, who is recovering from her own tragic loss. Soon another set of remains is located, with Lowery’s dog tags tangled among them. Three bodies—all identified as Lowery.

And then Tempe is contacted by Hadley Perry, Honolulu’s flamboyant medical examiner, who needs help identifying the remains of an adolescent boy found offshore. Was he the victim of a shark attack? Or something much more sinister?

From Simon and Schuster website.

CHARACTERS: Dr. Temperance Brennan is one of my favorite literary characters. I love how she is super smart yet still has moments of vulnerability and uncertainty, especially when it comes to detective Andrew Ryan and her daughter Katy.  In Spider Bones we see Brennan attempt to once again gain some balance and peace with Ryan. I think it’s great that so many books into the series, we still get to see new aspects of Brennan’s personality. We also get to see more of Ryan and Katy, which gave a nice counter-balance to the case.

PLOT: Okay Kathy Reichs is one of my favorite writers, period. But….well, I found this one mucho confusing and very hard to follow at times. I think the plot was ingenious and as always she pulled things together in a way I didn’t see coming, but with all the different Spiders and various long case numbers, I often couldn’t keep the dead bodies straight. During certain scenes it really did feel like a game of forensic “who’s on first” with me trying to keep everything straight.

WRITING: As always, Reichs presents the scientific stuff in a way that is easy to explain but without making the reader feel like a twit. Although there were some things explained that felt kind of forced. A couple of times I had to wonder if Brennan would really have needed to explain things to Ryan or others she was working with.

WHO I WOULD RECOMMEND SPIDER BONES TO: Even with the confusion with all the dead guys and the somewhat forced scientific talk, I really enjoyed Spider Bones. I think besides fans of her other books, anyone interested in forensic mysteries will like it.

Browse inside Spider Bones.

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One Response to “Review: Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs”

  1. slpmartin September 7, 2010 at 11:12 am #

    This sounds like one I might have to pickup soon…thanks for the review.

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