Kathy Reichs, Déjà Dead (1997)

This thriller is the first American Temperance Brennan story, set in Quebec.

My daughters have watched the TV series ´Bones´ for a long time so I was curious to see what all the fuss was about.

“Protruding from the leaves and soil was an arcade of ribs, their ends curving upward like the framework of an embryonic boat. I bent down for a closer look. Flies whined in protest, the sun iridescent on their blue-green bodies. When I cleared more debris I could see that the ribs were held in place by a segment of spinal column.”

This is what it is all about: decaying flesh, bones and curious bluebottles. And about Temperance Brennan, the engaged and hard-working Director of Forensic Anthropology in Quebec. A dedicated but also insecure woman who struggles to live up to her own sky-high expectations. Besides, she has to contend with the prejudices of the male police officers around her, prejudices and antagonism which tend to push her in the direction of the lone wolf.

Soon Brennan begins to suspect that this murderer has not only killed once. She thinks there are so many similarities between the damages of this skeleton and some others which have also been found in black garbage bags that it cannot be a coincidence, but it takes a lot to persuade the police to look at it from that angle.

This 500-page read was interesting for a reader who loves uncovering the skeletons in the cupboard and anywhere else. I bought the omnibus myself (and will try to get through the other 436 pages soon so I can move it off my TBR).

About Dorte Hummelshøj Jakobsen

I am a Danish teacher. In my spare time I read, write and review crime fiction.
This entry was posted in American, Kathy Reichs, review, review 2011. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Kathy Reichs, Déjà Dead (1997)

  1. I love the TV show bones. Mostly because of the chemistry between the characters. I have never read any of the books the show is based on. I’m always afraid it will alter my view of either the book or the show.

  2. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – I’m glad you liked this one. I very much liked the science involved in catching the killer. It’s so obvious that Reichs knows her stuff. And yet, I didn’t think that overwhelmed the story. I like Brennan’s character in this one and yes, lots of skeletons to uncover :-). Thanks for the fine review!

  3. Barbara says:

    I love the TV series, “Bones,” but had feared that I would be disappointed in the books or that the books would spoil the TV series for me. Maybe I should try one of the books to see for myself, eh?

  4. Clarissa: You may be right. My daughter read this omnibus, and she thinks the two Temperance Brennans are very different.

    Margot: I do like forensics so I knew I´d have to try this series before or later.

    Barbara: as I said to Clarissa, the books and the TV series are very different, but it is not often that I like the TV series more than the books. I don´t know about you so I am not sure I can advise you really 🙂

  5. Kelly says:

    I’ve heard of the author and the TV show, but never read or seen either. Is Temperance Brennan sort of a Canadian version of Kay Scarpetta?

  6. Maxine says:

    I read this a good few years ago – I quite liked it but there were also things I didn’t like – can’t quite remember, but it seemed very slow and the protagonist a bit of an oversensitive pain? I read a couple more but I found them so slow/detailed, and the plots not that exciting. Not sure why her books are quite as popular as they are, frankly. (I haven’t seen the TV series but I hear it is quite different from the books.)

  7. Bill Selnes says:

    I am glad you enjoyed Reichs. She does an excellent job of portraying Montreal in her books. I enjoy the books focused on Monreal the best in the series.

  8. Kelly: I think one could say so, but after one volume it is probably too early to say.

    Maxine: 500 pages may not be necessary, but on the whole ´slow´ is not something that bothers me if I like the police work.

    Bill: yes, the setting was a great part of the attration.

  9. Pingback: X is for XL | djskrimiblog

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