I was swithering between three and four stars because Reichs continues to be one of my favourite authors. I guess it came down to the fact that by comparison with earlier books in this series this effort was just not quite up to par.
The title itself is a pun - some human remains are found amongst buried bear bones. Naturally, it is Brennan that discovers these bones (well, actually it's her dog) which is somewhat reminiscent of Jessica Fletcher never managing to leave her house without stumbling over a body. Also, in an apparent different storyline, a baby's bones have been found burnt in a stove - this particular crime has a connection to someone Tempe has worked with, yet another tired plot device.
The dry, black humour is there, interesting forensic information is patiently explained, red-herrings lead our faithful heroine in wrong directions and relationships are developed. Overall, it is a fairly exciting tale with loose ends tied up and we actually get to see Tempe interact with her daughter and even attempt to embark on a relationship. It continues the series nicely.
My problems with the novel are the various familiar plot devices reappearing - all the murders link into one another and, once again, the heroine winds up in a dangrous predicament and, once again, her life is placed at stake. Also, is it just me, or have the plots become a tad dumbed down? Another reviewer, discussing one of Reichs' later books, remarks that reading a Brennan novel used to be a challenge. I agree - I used to have to pay attention when I was reading them and at times, I felt like I was actually learning stuff. Even the characters' emotions - tensions between them, unspoken fears, etc, they too used to seem deeper, somehow. Yet, this depth and needing to be awake when reading - it was a good thing. This book seemed to be more of a light read. There were still scientific explanations but not of the same level. As a result, they seem less interesting. And it makes the series less unique. This could be any slightly-above-average-run-of-the-mill crime/thriller/mystery.
Don't get me wrong - she's still above average. But, this book wasn't gripping. Her first two or three were. And she stood out as an author. Bare Bones isn't bad - it's just not fantastic. Will I keep reading her novels? Definitely. But I'll wait til they come out in paperback in the supermarket. I will no longer pre-order the hardback.
Dr Brennan returns once more in `Bare Bones'. This time she is about to go on holiday; that is until three new cases come across her desk. One is to identify the two bodies found in a crashed plane, another is investigating a bag of bones found buried and the final case is that of a small child found burned. With all this workload Temp has no time to herself and her love life. If that was not bad enough its seems that one of her cases has ruffled a few feathers and she is getting threatening emails, can Dr Brennan solve all the cases?
`Bare Bones' was a decent enough mystery thriller that had an interesting central story, but a few narrative flaws that undermined it for me. The idea of three cases interlinking is a good one and it was impressive how Reich was able to keep you guessing as to which case was causing the threats. As usual Dr Brennan is a great character and her relationship with her friends and family really give the book further depth. These elements were excellent, but unfortunately a couple of things undermined them. Firstly the use of coincidence in the book, on more than one occasion a suspect or clue is found almost randomly with no attempt by Reichs to validate it. Secondly, the use of ominous warnings at the end of the chapters was a little over the top. Too many uses of - `I would soon find out' and the likes was detrimental to the story. Despite this `Bare Bones' remained a fun and easy read with Reichs' style giving a little more intelligence and depth than your average crime book.
"Decomps and floaters. My kind of cases." An eagerly awaited vacation is indefinitely on hold as the workload increases for forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. An incinerated baby. Mysterious remains in buried sacks. Grisly contents of a crashed plane. So much to investigate. Meanwhile her expert opinion is daily sought on other matters....
As in earlier novels, coincidences feature and there is a not entirely convincing go-it-alone climax. Also as in earlier novels, there is much to admire: authentic forensic procedures; succinct descriptions (fat slob colleague Skinny Slidell unlikely to be pleased by those about him); lively banter (especially when Andrew Ryan is around, their relationshipship entering a new phase). Temperance, as usual, narrates with a trenchant humour not found in her television "Bones" counterpart. (Both versions I greatly enjoy.)
The novels are firmly based on routine and procedures, which may irritate readers craving excitement on every page. This is surely in fact their strength, credibility tending to be tested when more adventurous aspects take over. Again writer Kathy Reichs has been motivated by a matter that appals her. This time it is the illegal trading of animals dead and alive - statistics provided that truly shock.
Although perhaps not as impressive as some in the series, "Bare Bones" proves an engrossing read and provokes thought.
As an avid reader of Reichs books I bought this one as soon as published but was not as impressed as previous ones. There are lots of story threads surrounded by snippets of details.KR has managed to cram so much in to this book that I felt although a great read I personally would have liked to have a bit more depth to all the strands...some of the strands such as the Email stalker could have made a book on their own. However as expected all the loose ends are tied up but I felt cheated that I had not really got in to the book as I can do with some others.
So here we have the 6th edition to Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan series. This time we join Tempe at home in Carolina as she prepares for a well needed vacation. Before hand though, she's invited by her daughter to a picnic to meet her daughter's new love interest. While enjoying the picnic Tempe and her dog Boyd stumble upon some bones (of course) and here we have the beginning of our mystery. Soon enough Tempe's vacation is called in and the discovered bones seem to be related to another case Tempe's investigating involving bones of a new born child burnt to death in an oven.
Now this is a good enough book, fast paced and enjoyable enough but it's all just so cliched. Tempe, once an enjoyable, realistic character to rival Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta, here becomes a tired template of the genre. It was somewhat annoying in the fact that all the clues and integral parts of the mystery seemed to just fall into Brennan's lap. And I'll agree with what some other reviewers have been saying that this seems a bit dumbed down. When I first started reading this series the books where in depth and actually took a bit of effort to read and keep track of the plot. But with this offering we have the key components of the plot handed to us on a big ol' platter. And just in case we missed them first time around we have them repeated a few times after for good measure. Now none of this is a bad thing, i'm still awarding it 3 stars and if you've been following the series or are even just a fan of the genre i'm sure you'll enjoy this one. However I know Reichs' is capable of better. And on a final note the ending is so rushed and abysmally unoriginal you'll be left wondering whether or not Kathy simply lost interest in the story.