All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Bones Are Forever – Kathy Reichs

on December 20, 2012

Bones Are Forever2Bones Are Forever
Kathy Reichs
Scribner
2012, 288p
Read from my local library

A woman who says her name is Amy Roberts attends a Montreal hospital complaining of vaginal bleeding. When she is examined, it looks as though she has recently given birth but she disappears before the doctor, who is then distracted by another emergency case, can investigate further. When the doctor finally does remember the situation and calls the police, they are sent to the address Roberts gave the hospital and discover bloody towels in the dumpster outside. Fearing the worst for both the woman (who has now disappeared) and the child, others are called to the scene.

Dr Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist finds the corpses of three tiny babies in the squalid flat – the one that has been recently birthed and two other almost mummified corpses. There’s no sign of Roberts but the police do find that she has been using several aliases. Although it’s too early to know the cause of death, three full term babies dying of natural causes is very unlikely and this becomes a homicide investigation but Amy Roberts has disappeared into thin air.

In charge of the investigation is homicide detective Lieutenant Andrew Ryan, Tempe’s former lover although relations have been somewhat strained between them in recent times. Normally Ryan would ask Tempe along, or keep her in the loop but this time she finds herself having to pry information out of Ryan and keep herself in the loop, even more so when some evidence comes in to suggest that Roberts has come from Edmonton, involving an even more distant lover of Tempe’s, Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer Sargeant Ollie Hasty. It was a long time ago but Ollie seems to be making noises that he wouldn’t mind a re-visit, despite Tempe’s lack of interest. This has not helped relations between Ryan and Tempe, or working relations between Ryan and Hasty for that matter and it’s a very tense threesome that undertake a journey first to Edmonton and then up to Yellowknife, a mining community in the Northwest Territories. Once in Yellowknife, the investigation takes a turn that no one could’ve possibly predicted.

Bones Are Forever is the fifteenth installment of the Temperance Brennan novels, which have been spun off into Fox Network’s Bones series. Although I’ve only seen a handful of episodes, the TV series bears little resemblance to the books other than the lead characters share the same name and the same job. I’ve always really enjoyed these books although the last couple seemed to have suffered quality wise and it seemed like Reich’s abrupt way of writing Tempe was getting ridiculously so which made it extremely difficult to read. The cooling off between Tempe and Ryan had also played a part in my decreased enjoyment of these because the chemistry they had in the earlier novels was awesome and kept me turning the pages. However Ryan had turned into a bit of non-entity in the last couple of novels and the chemistry between them had pretty much dipped into the minus.

So it was with a little apprehension that I began this one. Unfortunately I chose to open the novel while I sat down to eat my lunch, only to be confronted with descriptions of decomposing babies! I actually had to set the book aside until I’d finished eating and then pick it back up again. Naturally it was only the first 2 pages that contained the descriptions! Decomposing babies are a pretty punchy way to open a novel and Tempe doing what she does best, examining scenes, collecting evidence and noting markers for identification was a promising start. So was the fact that there was tension between Ryan and Tempe (albeit all on Ryan’s side, Tempe has actually no idea why he’s being like this and contemplates asking him several times throughout the book until he spills his guts why, but more on that later). It looked like I was going to enjoy this one and I was hopeful I’d find it as fun as the first dozen or so in this series.

Although it didn’t quite reach that height for me, it was still quite an improvement over the last two or so and I enjoyed the read. It did seem very short though, only 288p in large hardback form, well spaced. I seem to remember the earlier ones being longer and meatier than this story (Tempe’s life was really only threatened once which is pretty much an all-time low). I enjoyed the fact that Tempe, Ryan and Hasty managed to work together even with all the underlying tensions and the snark was at times, quite funny. I also enjoyed the mystery of Amy Roberts, etc and what happened with her and the babies, which wasn’t exactly what I thought it would be and I appreciated the extra depth to the mystery.

What was a bit lame was Ryan’s reason for being so abrupt with Tempe which I felt was extremely weak and just…really quite random. I’m actually extremely sick of both Ryan’s daughter Lily (who is rarely in this series but seems to penetrate every bloody book) and Tempe’s daughter Katy (ditto). They just detract from the actual story and both of them are extremely unlikable and provide no actual plot development or character development or anything interesting ever. Please can they both just GO AWAY now.

I’m also not sure that I agree with the action Ryan takes when Tempe witnesses something distressing. It has the potential to really stuff up her life and set her backwards with something she has struggled with and although I think he meant to help her it could’ve (and most likely would have in real life) set her on a very destructive path. I think it was glossed over and I know these books don’t really do deep and meaningful much but I think they should have talked about the fact that he made her do it and how wrong it could’ve gone.

7/10

Book #272 of 2012


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