Bones Never Lie (Temperance Brennan #17)
Bantam Books (Random House)
Read from my local library
Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is unexpectedly called in to the Charlotte PD’s Cold Case Unit. When Temperance sees the briefs, two murders thousands of miles apart but with the same MO, she knows why she’s there. They look to be connected to Anique Pomerleau, the one who ‘got away’ from Tempe and her then-partner, Detective Andrew Ryan. In Canada, Anique kidnapped, tortured and murdered girls and after escaping, vanished off the radar. The only photo they had of her was one from when she was 15 years old, which would be over 20 years ago. Now it seems that she has resurfaced in America and this time Tempe is determined to get her.
But to do that, they need Detective Andrew Ryan who has vanished, disappeared off the radar himself since the death of his daughter Lily. Those involved think that Tempe is the best person to draw Ryan out – if anyone can find him, bring him back and get him to help, it’s her. But Tempe has had only an email from Ryan and she has no idea where in the world he is. He could be anywhere. She gets help from a surprising source that allows her to find him but Ryan is reluctant to return with her. He’s left that life behind and he’s a shadow of his former self, a broken man.
The cases keep coming and Tempe has her hands full. There are several unsolved cases that fit the profile that were ignored for other reasons and eventually a pattern is recognised. These are definitely connected to Pomerleau and the disappearances in Canada and Tempe knows that this time, she has to solve them, get them justice. But she also has to get Ryan motivated, keep the various different bureaucracies from each other’s throats and deal with personal news that rocks her to the core.
Bones Never Lie is the 17th novel in the Temperance Brennan series and for me, this one is a pleasant return to form after a few that have been well, rather lacklustre. I think that for me, it’s really not hard to guess why I enjoyed this one more than some of the other recent books. For a start, we don’t have to deal with Tempe’s annoying-as-heck ex-husband Pete and his new partner/wife/whatever she is Summer and also, Tempe’s daughter Katy remains far away in Afghanistan. Thankfully Ryan returns in a proper capacity after just basically phoning it in the last couple of books as he dealt with personal issues and then dropped off the planet completely. He’s not the Detective Andrew Ryan of old but there were some glimpses. It’s kind of odd that everyone makes a huge deal about needing Ryan though, because once he actually does decide to go back with Tempe to help when she tracks him down, he really doesn’t do that much. It’s mostly Tempe who puts most, if not everything together with the help of her mother (yeah, what? I don’t know where that come from either). My belief in Tempe’s foray into crime solving was always tenuous at best but it did seem to work better with Ryan.
This book is connected to book number 7, Monday Mourning. I actually didn’t realise that when I started to read it – I knew it was referencing a previous book but I read a lot of the earlier books in 2010, so nearly 5 years and about 600 books ago. The details are fuzzy. Even after reading the blurb for Monday Mourning I still don’t really remember that much about it so I’d recommend anyone who hasn’t read that one in a while to revisit it before picking up this one. It would definitely help to remember the actual villain that they’re chasing. Bits and pieces came back to me as I read it but not enough. For some reason, Tempe’s mother plays a large role in researching the crimes in this book. I don’t know why Reichs always seems to find a way to shoehorn people who aren’t cops into investigations or if she’s trying to say something? But the fact that Tempe’s mother in some sort of “facility” is able to find out so much information and discover random things that end up being the “big bang” moment in the case, didn’t really ring true to me at all.
Despite my reservations about the involvement of Tempe’s mother, I did enjoy this one more than I have some of the other more recent ones. There’s lot of digging – they have to do a lot of work to connect the cases and prove that some of the other unsolved cases could also potentially be linked so you get a feel of how various people work on attempting to solve a cold case as well as a more recent one. There’s not as much scientific jargon in this one either, Tempe isn’t needed to explain things to people in great detail although she does kind of receive a lecture herself which makes a nice change. There’s no denying that Kathy Reichs must possess an extremely broad knowledge base and do lots of research for her books but sometimes those descriptions can make these books feel like they’re interspersed with chunks from a textbook.
The end of this one made the next one look quite interesting….I’m interested to see where things go for Ryan and Tempe after their hiatus. Their relationship has always been off/on but whenever it was off you always saw the way back for them. The last few made that very difficult to see so, I’m curious after Ryan’s seeming change of heart whether or not Reichs will honour the promise she seems to have made readers here.
Book #260 of 2014