Books : reviews

Kathy Reichs.
Deja Dead.
Pocket. 1997

rating : 3.5 : worth reading
review : 25 August 2007

Dr Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist -- an expert in bones, and telling how well-rotted corpses died. She's that kind of fictional back room expert -- the kind that ends up investigating the murders, too: one of the actual detectives even makes a sarcastic reference to Jessica Fletcher (a reference that turns out to be strangely apt by the end). And, of course, she's divorced, a recovering alcoholic, a fish out of water, ...

The best bits are all the info-dumping on forensic anthropology -- preparing samples, estimating the age of a skeleton, investigating the kinds of cuts made by different saws, identifying toothmarks. The "action" scenes -- digging up corpses, chasing suspects, fighting off attacks -- are also well drawn and exciting. It's the bits in between I had trouble with -- the "descriptive" bits trying overly-hard to give a sense of place in Montreal, the really laboured similes ... and a forensic anthropologist questioning witnesses.

It's a good read, and I learned a lot about bones, but not enough to make me want to visit Tempe's world again.