Speaking In Bones


I was on NetGalley and saw the new Kathy Reichs pop up in the new titles. I've tried to read Reichs books before, they should be right up my street. I love a crime novel and have back catalogues of Kathryn Fox, Tess Gerritsen, Jeffrey Deaver and James Patterson, just to name a few. There is something about the style of her writing that I, and several other people I've spoken to, find difficult to get along with. I don't think I've read another author who writes like this. I wish I could put my finger on what I find so difficult about it, but the problem itself is a mystery.

Having never read a full book from the Brennan series before, I am jumping in at the deep end by reading number 18. Speaking to a friend I asked if some of the things I'd picked up on happened throughout the series. Tempe has a habit of explaining a process of investigation. I have no problem with this, it's all very interesting and well written... but it did raise the question... does she do this every time? The example that struck me was about finger-prints, this is surely in a lot of her novels, so do we have the same procedural explanations each time? The debate then began with my friend standing on one side saying they need to be stand alone books, and me on the other saying it's number 18 in the series, surely we're past that by now. [I would have said no one jumps into a series this far down the line... but I'm fully aware I just did that when I got the proof copy!]

While I'm not a fan of the style, and still found it a bit difficult to get into, there were some bits I did enjoy. Particularly near the beginning [chapter 3 I think... sorry my notes were appalling] where you really get a film noir feeling. The story itself obviously does have plot points that have been in the previous books, but you don't have to have read them to follow it. I don't know if this is the same for others in the series. [Just covering myself there so my friend isn't proved correct.]

The main storyline revolves around some previously found scraps of bone, websleuthing and a sort-of-missing person report. When an amateur detective comes to Tempe with a recording of a terrified girl, the investigation begins into the cold case that every one seems to have dismissed. As you go through the chapters there are bits of intrigue that have you doing your own home-sleuthing, and it introduces some interesting topics that if you're into researching further, would be fascinating. I'm never sure how to take religion when it's portrayed in novels, but it was done very well considering the topic. Nothing too gory which I know can bother some people.

Looking at just the storyline, I would give a 4.5 out of 5. It was interesting and well thought out and the ending wasn't completely unbelievable like some others I have read recently. I deducted half because while the ending was tied up nicely, there were a couple of bits that felt like they were put in to tie up loose ends on behind-the-scenes bits, and they came across a little last minute. [I don't want to have to call spoilers, so this'll be vague, there's a bit at the end that's like "BOOM, there, that's how that happened."] I always hesitate to recommend authors that I've had so much trouble with, but Speaking In Bones is well worth persevering with, as the story does deliver. I may well try the series again now that I know what to expect.

So that's the end of my commentary on the book. Of course this review wouldn't be complete without pointing out things to some of the "readers" out there whose reviews and comments I came across when I Googled for a comparison between Bones and the Temperance Brennan books. The books and the series are not the same... there, as always, are a significant amount of people who don't get that the books were written first. This is of course true for many converted books as I'm sure I mentioned when I finished Under The Dome. Some things don't work in both mediums if you use exactly the same storyline. Apart from her name, field of occupation and her working with law enforcement I don't think there are any other similarities. If you really can't handle the differences there is a TV tie-in book with the show's characters.

So in conclusion... book worth reading... don't feel like you have to read the whole series to "get it"... book and TV show different.

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