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Bones of the Lost (Temperance Brennan Series #16)

Bones of the Lost (Temperance Brennan Series #16)

4.1 75
by Kathy Reichs

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#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her sixteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan, whose examination of a young girl killed in a hit and run in North Carolina triggers an investigation into international human trafficking.

#1 New York Times bestselling author and


#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her sixteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan, whose examination of a young girl killed in a hit and run in North Carolina triggers an investigation into international human trafficking.

#1 New York Times bestselling author and producer of the Fox hit series Bones, Kathy Reichs returns with an unforgettable new novel featuring forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan, whose examination of a mysterious hit-and-run victim triggers an investigation into human trafficking.

When Charlotte police discover the body of a teenage girl along a desolate stretch of two-lane highway, Temperance Brennan fears the worst. The girl’s body shows signs of foul play. Inside her purse, police find an airline club card bearing the name of prominent local businessman John-Henry Story, who died in a horrific fire months earlier. How did Story and the girl know each other? Was she an illegal immigrant turning tricks? Was she murdered? Was he?

Tempe must also examine a bundle of Peruvian dog mummies confiscated by U.S. Customs. A Desert Storm veteran named Dominick Rockett stands accused of smuggling the objects into the country. Could there be some connection between the trafficking of antiquities and the trafficking of humans?

As the complications pile on, Tempe must also grapple with personal turmoil. Her daughter, Katy, grieving the death of her boyfriend in Afghanistan, impulsively enlists in the army. Meanwhile, Katy’s father, Pete, is growing frustrated by Tempe’s reluctance to finalize their divorce. As pressure mounts from all corners, Tempe soon finds herself at the center of a conspiracy that extends all the way from South America to Afghanistan and right to the center of Charlotte.

A tour de force of imagination, Bones of the Lost is a roller coaster of plot twists, punctuated by Tempe’s fierce wit and forensic know-how. “A genius at building suspense” (New York Daily News), Kathy Reichs is at her brilliant best in this sixteenth installment of the Temperance Brennan series. With the Fox series Bones in its ninth season, Kathy Reichs has reached new heights in suspenseful storytelling.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Bestseller Reichs draws on her experiences touring with the USO in Afghanistan for her captivating 16th novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (after 2012’s Bones Are Forever). At home in Charlotte, N.C., the bone expert concludes that the death of an unidentified girl, 14 or 15 years old, was caused by foul play rather than a hit-and-run, as was previously suspected. The outraged Brennan urges homicide detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell to investigate, knowing Slidell believes the girl to have been an undocumented immigrant, as well as possibly being a junkie and prostitute. Later in Afghanistan, Brennan oversees the exhumation of two unarmed Afghan villagers killed by a U.S. Marine to determine whether the victims were shot in the back or head-on. The two cases—and a third involving mummified dogs from Peru—give Reichs ample opportunity to provide detailed descriptions of forensic examinations, but it’s Brennan’s passionate and personal involvement that provides the excitement in this masterful tale. 6-city author tour. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh, William Morris Endeavor. (Aug.)
"The forensic procedures take center stage, as they always do, in this cleverly plotted and expertly maintained series."

"Reichs always delivers a pulse-pounding story."

Associated Press Staff
“Reichs knows what her readers like.”
"This is a return to form for Reichs, who keeps the story moving at a brisk clip but never forgets that, ultimately, we’re here to see Dr. Brennan."
New York Times Book Review
"The forensic procedures take center stage, as they always do, in this cleverly plotted and expertly maintained series."
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“When it comes to technical detail and local color, Reichs knows her stuff.”
Library Journal
In her latest outing (after Bones Are Forever), forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan has been called to help with several new cases. First, she must examine some potential Peruvian dog mummies confiscated by U.S. Customs to verify that they contain no human remains. A hit-and-run victim in Charlotte, NC, is next on Dr. Brennan’s dance card. No one steps forward to identify this young girl, who appears to be an illegal immigrant. While this case turns up no leads, Brennan’s soon-to-be ex-husband asks for her forensic help on behalf of an old Marine friend. This takes Brennan to Afghanistan to examine exhumed bodies of locals to determine how they were killed. Uneasiness prevails during her stay in Afghanistan, and it accompanies Brennan back to her testimony stateside, where the pieces start falling into place in unexpected ways.

Verdict This quick-moving and suspenseful narrative by a very popular author will delight mystery readers with surprising plot twists that keep them guessing. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/13.]—Kristen Stewart, Pearland Lib., Brazoria Cty. Lib. Syst., TX
(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Kirkus Reviews
A three-course banquet of old bones, and some not so old, for forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan (Bones Are Forever, 2012, etc.). The grab bag begins--if you don't count a shrill, miscalculated flash-forward prologue--with some mummified bones the Customs Service has confiscated from hideously disfigured Desert Storm vet Dominick Rockett. He maintains that he's legitimately imported the antique dog bones from Peru; Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent Luther Dew smells smuggling or worse. Before Tempe can file her report, however, her attention is demanded by some much more recent remains. A Jane Doe the police found dead along the highway shows every signs of a sorry life--prostitution, drugs, violent death--that ended, according to Tempe's examination, at age 15. What can she tell behemoth Detective Erskine "Skinny" Slidell, of the Charlotte PD, that might help identify the victim or her killer? Despite a pair of cryptic anonymous phone calls about the young woman, this second case languishes long enough for Tempe to pick up a third. Second Lt. John Gross, whose uncle is an old friend of Tempe's all-but-ex Janis "Pete" Peterson, has been accused of shooting unarmed Afghani villagers in the back. If Tempe will only drop everything and travel to Afghanistan to take part in the official inquiry, Pete tells her, she'll get to see Katy, Tempe's daughter who reacted to her boyfriend's death there by enlisting herself and shipping out. Tempe can't help feeling that at least one of these cases involves sex trafficking, though Slidell warns her, "Smuggling dead dogs is one thing. Smuggling kids is a mighty big leap." Reichs, never one to stint on complications, deals them out mostly seriatim instead of intermingling them, and it'll be a canny reader who sees the thread that runs through all the cases and binds them together.

Product Details

Publication date:
Temperance Brennan Series , #16
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.30(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.30(d)

Read an Excerpt

Bones of the Lost


HEART POUNDING, I CRAWLED TOWARD the brick angling down to form the edge of the recess. Craned out.

More footfalls. Then heavy boots appeared at the top of the stairs, beside them a pair of small feet, one bare, the other in a platform pump.

The feet started to descend, the small ones wobbly, their owner somehow impaired. The lower legs angled oddly, suggesting the knees bore little weight.

Anger burned hot in my chest. The woman was drugged. The bastard was dragging her.

Four treads lower, the man and woman crossed an arrow of moonlight. Not a woman, a girl. Her hair was long, her arms and legs refugee thin. I could see a triangle of white tee below the man’s chin. A pistol grip jutting from his waistband.

The pair again passed into darkness. Their tightly pressed bodies formed a two-headed black silhouette.

Stepping from the bottom tread, the man started muscling the girl toward the loading-dock door, pushing her, a hand clamping her neck. She stumbled. He yanked her up. Her head flopped like a Bobblehead doll’s.

The girl took a few more staggering steps. Then her chin lifted and her body bucked. A cry broke the stillness, animal shrill.

The man’s free arm shot out. The silhouette recongealed. I heard a scream of pain, then the girl pitched forward onto the concrete.

The man dropped to one knee. His elbow pumped as he pummeled the inert little body.

“Fight me, you little bitch?”

The man punched and punched until his breath grew ragged.

Rage flamed white-hot in my brain, overriding any instinct for personal safety.

I scuttled over and grabbed the Beretta. Checked the safety, thankful for the practice I’d put in at the range.

Satisfied with the gun, I reached for my phone. It wasn’t with the flashlight.

I searched my other pocket. No phone.

Had I dropped it? In my frenzied dash, had I left it at home?

The panic was almost overwhelming. I was off the grid. What to do?

A tiny voice advised caution. Remain hidden. Wait. Slidell knows where you are.

“You are so dead.” The voice boomed, cruel and malicious.

I whipped around.

The man was wrenching the girl up by her hair.

Holding the Beretta two-handed in front of me, I darted from the alcove. The man froze at the sound of movement. I stopped five yards from him. Using a pillar for cover, I spread my feet and leveled the barrel.

“Let her go.” My shout reverberated off brick and concrete.

The man maintained his grasp on the girl’s hair. His back was to me.

“Hands up.”

He let go and straightened. His palms slowly rose to the level of his ears.

“Turn around.”

As the man rotated, another fragment of light caught him. For a second I saw his face with total clarity.

On spotting his foe, the man’s hands dipped slightly. Sensing he could see me better than I could see him, I squeezed further behind the pillar.

“The fucking slut lives.”

You’ll die, too, fucking slut.

“Takes balls to send threats by e-mail.” My voice sounded much more confident than I felt. “To bully defenseless little girls.”

“Debt to pay? You know the rules.”

“Your debt-collecting days are over, you sick sonofabitch.”

“Says who?”

“Says a dozen cops racing here now.”

The man cupped an upraised hand to one ear. “I don’t hear no sirens.”

“Move away from the girl,” I ordered.

He took a token step.

“Move,” I snarled. The guy’s fuck-you attitude was making me want to smash the Beretta across his skull.

“Or what? You’re gonna shoot me?”

“Yeah.” Cold steel. “I’m gonna shoot you.”

Would I? I’d never fired at a human being.

Where the hell was Slidell? I knew my bluff was being sustained by coffee and adrenaline. Knew both would eventually wear off.

The girl groaned.

In that split second I lost the advantage that might have allowed him to live.

I looked down.

He lunged.

Fresh adrenaline blasted through me.

I raised the gun.

He closed in.

I sighted on the white triangle.


The explosion echoed brutally loud. The concussion knocked my hands up, but I held position.

The man dropped.

In the murky gloom I saw the triangle go dark. Knew crimson was spreading across it. A perfect hit. The Triangle of Death.

Silence, but for my own rasping breath.

Then my higher centers caught up with my brain stem.

I’d killed a man.

My hands shook. Bile filled my throat.

I swallowed. Steadied the gun and stole forward.

The girl lay motionless. I crouched and placed trembling fingers on her throat. Felt a pulse, faint but steady.

I swiveled. Gazed at the man’s mute, malevolent eyes.

Suddenly I was exhausted. Revolted by what I’d just done.

I wondered. In my state, could I make good decisions? Carry through? My phone was back at the house.

I wanted to sit, hold my head in my hands, and let the tears flow.

Instead I drew a few steadying breaths, rose, and crossed what seemed a thousand miles of darkness. Climbed the stairs on rubbery legs.

A single passage cut right at the top. I followed it to the only closed door.

Gun tight in one clammy hand, I reached out and turned the knob with the other.

The door swung in.

I stared into pure horror.

Meet the Author

Kathy Reichs is the author of more than twenty New York Times bestselling novels featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, including her most recent The Bone Collection. Like her protagonist, Reichs is a forensic anthropologist—one of fewer than one hundred ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. A professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she is a former vice president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and serves on the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. Reichs’s own life, as much as her novels, is the basis for the TV show Bones, one of the longest-running series in the history of the FOX network.

Brief Biography

Charlotte, North Carolina and Montreal, Québec
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
B.A., American University, 1971; M.A., Ph.D., Northwestern University

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Bones of the Lost 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 75 reviews.
lmh1205 More than 1 year ago
Fairly good read but failed to keep my attention as other of her books have.
Plankter More than 1 year ago
This book takes Temperance to Afghanistan to help clarify the role of a US serviceman in the death of two Afghani locals. But of course, it comes home to roost in classic Reichs fashion. In other news, which way will Temperance's love life go? And how's her daughter doing these days? Catch up on all the newest from the lab of our favorite forensic anthropologist. Great writing, great story, great heavens, go read it!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kathy Reichs books are always informative and leaves you wanting more right away. I'm glad she has kept Temperance Brenan Series going, they are really enjoyable to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is more about an almost irrelevent trip to the Mid East and the character getting deeply involved in an investigation with a detective (seems unrealistic), than it is about human trafficking. About 2/3 through the book I thought to myself, "this is ridiculous..this deep involvement of hers in the investigation surely wouldn't be allowed.". After reading the author's comments, my feeling that this was more about her personal experiences was confirmed. If you have nothing else to read...hey go for it. But it should be one of those $2.99 and under selections.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Kathy Reichs' Tempe books and this one is no exception. Very good read, a real pageturner. A great mystery/thriller. The science is written so anyone can understand. Even my CSI son loves these books for the forensic aspect. Best to read the books in order so that you can follow her personal life.
WritermomHB More than 1 year ago
Although Bones of the Lost is not what I expected, I enjoyed it very much. I thought it would be similar to the Bones television series, but it’s not. Only one character is the same, and that is Tempe herself. The plot has so many branches, the reader may think it’s several different stories, but it’s not. At the end, all those branches come together in a surprise conclusion. There are some dark issues in this story, as well as lots of adventure. Tempe does some things one would not expect from a forensic anthropologist. I think if you enjoy mystery/thriller stories, especially ones that are up to date, you will enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoy all of her books. This was no exception.
Dragon49 More than 1 year ago
In Bones of the Lost, Kathy Reichs has done it again. Love all her books and can't wait for another one with Temperance Brennan. Her writing style connects you with the characters as if they are alive. It will hold you in suspense right up to the end.
kopsahl More than 1 year ago
Temperance Brennan is tasked with discovering the identity of a female body that was found on a stretch of highway and might very well have a connection to John-Henry Story, who died in a fire months before. Most of the police have written this body off as an illegal immigrant and don’t want to waste their resources on her. Tempe must also look into a bundle of Peruvian dog mummies that were confiscated. And to top it all off she is also asked to head to Afghanistan to exhume some bodies and figure out how they were shot. With this much going on in her life, Tempe has her plate full. Her personal life is extremely complicated also. Her daughter has decided to join the military and has been sent to Afghanistan (which is why when Brennan gets the chance to go, she does) and her soon to be ex-husband, Pete, is pushing for her to finalize the divorce because he is ready to remarry. Her on-again off-again lover, Ryan, isn’t returning her calls. With all the different plot lines running it was a lot to keep straight considering it has been awhile since I have gotten to enjoy a Brennan novel. I felt that Reichs was using this novel to bring to light the horrors of human trafficking. Though a very good topic to bring up, at times it felt too heavy with all the explanations and I was noticing that I would skim though some of it. Even with that being said, it was still an enjoyable mystery to read. There was non-stop action and the typical bluntness that I love in Brennan. The audio format that I listen to featured Linda Emond who did an amazing job considering how much medical jargon is infused into Reichs novels. She is known for her roles as Dr. Emily Sopher on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and currently as Dr. Candace Reed from Elementary. I wouldn’t be opposed to listening to another audio by her.
jgoss825 More than 1 year ago
I have yet to be disappointed by Reichs' writing and Bones of the Lost is no exception to that theory. This book was solidly written and contemporary in its inclusion of military life in Afghanistan. I would highly recommend it to anyone who has like previous Brennan books or someone who is looking to get into Reichs' writing for the first time.
linnylou More than 1 year ago
There hasn't been a Kathy Reichs book yet that I have not liked. She deals with relavent topics, and some which you would never think were issues. I was amazed how she handled the topic of human trafficking. She explains the medical technology in terms a regular non-medical person like me can understand. It is so interesting and I learn something with each book I read. The added information at the end about her daughter and the work she does. The story was good, read quickly and the surprise twist near the end. As always, A great job Temperance Brennan --- & Kathy Reichs! And, as always, I await the next Bones book.
mishmish More than 1 year ago
What a great book! Can't wait for the next one to come out.
Bruce200 More than 1 year ago
I liked it very much because Tempe got much more involved with trying to solve the case. I dont like the idea of her and Pete getting back together. I love Ryan and felt so bad for him at the end of the book. I hope the next book they connect up with each ohter again. ll in all it was a great book. I have read all her books.
LindaCAPA More than 1 year ago
Once you read a Kathy Reich's novel, you are hooked and want to read all of her novels. Loved this one with her descriptions of Afghanistan.
anglicat More than 1 year ago
Thought I did this once, but enjoyed it, it moves fast, and like the character, smart and determined to find answers.
TobyCA More than 1 year ago
once again, Tempe is caught in family and a different type of case problems. Love it when she becomes involved in "military" law. Glad she has family problems, like the rest of us :-(
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Not her best effort, but, as usual, interesting & entertaining!
cloggiedownunder More than 1 year ago
Bones of the Lost is the sixteenth full-length novel in the popular Temperance Brennan series by forensic anthropologist and author, Kathy Reichs. After putting her heroine into an embarrassing situation in the first chapter (thereby establishing, once again, her fallibility and humanity), Reichs goes on to involve Tempe in examining illegally imported Peruvian dog bones, an unidentified teenage hit-and-run victim, a skull found in embedded in excrement and the year-old, exhumed bones of gunshot victims. Tempe, beyond her usual remit, is determined to identify the teen and find her killer, but before she can get far with that, her ex, Pete, stirs her sense of fairness on behalf of a marine accused of murder, and she finds herself in Afghanistan.  Back in Charlotte, Tempe and Slidell continue to investigate until, finally, Tempe once again jumps in without back-up and almost gets herself killed. Fans of Andrew Ryan will be disappointed in this instalment as he makes only the briefest of appearances. Pete, on the other hand, despite his looming wedding to Summer, seems to be a constant presence in Tempe’s life. The plot is clever, but has a few barely credible twists, though the developing character and dialogue of Skinny Slidell, and Tempe’s dry inner monologue, compensate. As always, Reichs includes some interesting facts: the effect of desert burial on bones; the effect of bullets on bone structure; the difference between ivory and bone; the results of a vehicular impact on the body; and human trafficking and sex slavery. Definitely a page-turner.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If Brennan wants to be a cop, she should join the force. Otherwise, she should try doing her own job and butt out of other oeoples.' With each book, she gets more unrealistically involved in things that are absolutely none of her business, and would be allowed by no police department in the world. I' m tired of it. I find forensic anthropology fascinating. Blundering amateur detectives, not so much. Go back to your roots, Reichs. You didn't start off with the ridiculous premises of the Tv show, and I'm sorry you decided to adopt them. What makes entertaining TV makes for a specious book.
SharonRedfern More than 1 year ago
Bones of the Lost opens with Tempe Brennan in the middle of rescuing a young girl being brutalized by an unnamed man. The story then switches to Tempe having to examine the remains of presumed to be centuries old dog skeletons from Peru. Before she knows it, Tempe is in the middle of a smuggling ring, a murder and a military court martial in Afghanistan. One thing long time readers of Kathy Reich’s books learn is that no detail is unimportant. No matter how the story goes from here to there, everything is integral to the story. In this latest book, Tempe is on an emotional tightrope, concerned for her daughter who is a soldier in Afghanistan, worried because she hasn’t heard from Ryan in quite some time, and wondering how her latest case of a young girl literally run over by a car and killed ended up that way. She is juggling so many emotional balls that it doesn’t seem possible that she will keep them all in the air. When she is asked to go to Afghanistan to assist in the defense of a Marine accused of murder, she jumps at the chance to see her daughter while there. While this trip seems on the surface to be unconnected to her other issues, it becomes relevant in a way that will leave the reader totally shocked. I started reading this book and couldn’t put it down as the story was so fast paced I just wanted to keep going. I am always amazed how Ms. Reichs manages to write her book about a current issue, make it interesting and impart so much information at the same time. In her personal life, Tempe continues to struggle with her feelings towards Ryan and her maybe ex-husband Pete. Fans of one man over the other may be a little disappointed with this outing because things get a little more complicated between them all. There is enough backstory in the book for new readers not to feel lost but not to the point that older readers will be bored. As usual, at the end of the book, I am ready for the next one and wishing there was less time between books!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The books by Kathy Reichs are fascinating to read and learn something about forensic anthropolgy. This is also about human traffiking and this ugliness happens all around us, all the time. Another masterfull story of crime scene evidence, forensic and anthropological evidence and a story that is thought provoking and a learning experience! Well done.
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PATTI7417 More than 1 year ago
If you like Bones you will like this book even better. I have read all the books and it is easy to read and comfortable.