Kathy Reichs, Death du Jour (1999)

One of my holiday goals was to do something about my toppling TBR. I have, and reading the second story of the Reichs omnibus on the shelf seemed like the next, logical step (five centimetress off the shelf in one fell swoop – I can assure you that made a difference).

“If the bodies were there, I couldn´t find them. Outside, the wind howled. Inside the old church, just the scrape of my trowel and the hum of a portable generator and heater echoed eerily in the huge space. High above, branches scratched against boarded windows, gnarled fingers on plywood blackboards.”

This is the second Temperance Brennan story, written by an American, but set in Canada. Tempe begins by searching for the remains of a nun about to be consecrated, but in her usual fashion she dashes off to a violent fire (presumably arson) the following day. Here she finds the body of three adult, but unfortunately that is not the end of the carnage because two small children are also missing.

On the whole I like reading about the minutiae of the forensic process, but five pages (didn´t count them but that was what it felt like) about which insects were found in a body and their various stages of development was almost too much, even for me. So to quote Norman, a blog friend, “…like a lot of current novels it was about 100 pages too long”.

Basically, it seems to me that Reichs has created a good series with a protagonist I like, but I think I have found it too late. There are too many details, and it would be too much trouble to read fourteen books to be up to date with what has happened to Temperance in this millennium.

I bought the book myself.


A couple of links

Wow, the first review of “The Cosy Knave” is already up!

Today I am visiting Elizabeth Spann Craig of Mystery Writing is Murder.

And please visit Judith today when she receives The Cosy Knave Baton.

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.

14 Responses to Kathy Reichs, Death du Jour (1999)

  1. Bernadette says:

    to be honest you don’t need to read all 14, I think she tanked mid-way through the series though I haven’t even bothered with the last 2 or 3. Very disappointing when an author stops trying.

  2. Bernadette: yes, I have heard she didn´t keep it up. But I was curious to try it because I am a bit of a forensic nerd. And I´m NOT going back to Scarpetta – that series has grown downright ridiculous.

  3. Margot Kinberg says:

    Dorte – I’ve read a few (admittedly not nearly all) of the books in this series and you really don’t have to read them to get a sense of the series. The plots started out to be pretty good, but I agree with you about the un-necessary length. I agree 100% with Bernadette’s comment about authors who just seem to stop trying.

  4. Kelly says:

    This does sound interesting, but…. I don’t want to start another lengthy series, especially if it goes downhill. Being overly lengthy doesn’t help, either.

    I remember getting totally bored with the Scarpetta books and giving up on them. It’s been awhile, but it seems they veered from the actual crime stories to more personal plots.

  5. Patti Abbott says:

    I think I have read one of her books and that was enough for me. Been there, done that with Patricia Cornwell and a million TV shows. Too formulaic for my taste. I wish publishers would not encourage series so driven by one aspect of crime.

  6. Bill Selnes says:

    Dorte: I believe you can enjoy more books in the series. In looking at my reading I see I have not read her more recent books. The books I had read up to the mid-2000’s I had enjoyed. I have a couple of the more recent books to be read. I will have to read one to see if I notice a drop off in quality.

  7. Barbara says:

    “. . . one fell swoop” reminds me of my father. He always (on purpose) said “one fell swoop.” I was his best audience, so I would never fail to laugh at him.

    It’s a shame so many series run out of inspiration after a few books. And yet they continue to sell because we keep hoping. For this one, though, I think I’ll just stick to the TV series. At least the characters on TV have chemistry together.

  8. Norman says:

    Dorte, thanks for credit. ;o) I admit I got a a bit bored with the Kathy Reichs books after reading the first few.

  9. Maxine says:

    I stopped reading them after a couple or three. Slow, turgid and endless angst – as well as autopsy descriptions which don’t interest me in the least (even when they are of very old bodies or bodies in peculiar situations). The romance theme is also painfully slow, i could not even remember the situation from book to book.

  10. Margot: I may try her again one day when I need me another doorstopper…
    Kelly: it´s okay, but I am sure you can live without this series.
    Patti: it´s far better than the latest Scarpetta stories I´ve read, but I do admit that occasionally she is too thorough for my taste.
    Bill: I think most people agree that her early books are the best so if I decide to give her another chance, I´ll continue with vol. 3.
    Barbara: exactly the kind of ´typo´ I´d make – and it´s funny to think of that this Brennan is supposed to be the same person as the one on TV.
    Norman: I´m very happy to quote my learned friends 😉
    Maxine: on the whole I like old bones & autopsies, but even I can see this book would have been better if she had snipped & tucked it a bit. And what romance? You must excuse me, I´ve only read two books 😉

  11. I haven’t read any of her books but I sure do enjoy the TV show Bones.
    I’m ready for the relay tomorrow.

  12. Ann Best says:

    Hi. I just left a comment over at Elizabeth Craig’s. Your cosy mystery intrigues me. I love murder mysteries. Though I have to cut down for a while on my book buying, this is one I want to get this month.

    I’m also impressed with your blog. I see you picked the same WordPress blog I did. I still link from my old Blogger blog to my WP one because I don’t want to lose my Blogger friends, many of whom bought my memoir. But I love the flexibility of WordPress though I only know the basics and had to get help setting mine up. Your background is stunning. I see from your archives you’ve been blogging for quite some time. It will take me a while to browse through them, but I’m definitely interested in keeping in touch.

  13. Clarissa: my daughters watch the TV series (meaning that I often see parts of it), but I find it quite difficult to recognize the character and the settings when I read her books.

    Ann: it´s really nice to meet you, and I am glad you like my blog.
    And I know all about that threatening TBR, but one small ebook has never harmed anyone, has it? 😉

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