Bones to Ashes (Temperance Brennan Series #10)

Bones to Ashes (Temperance Brennan Series #10)

4.2 120
by Kathy Reichs
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

In Kathy Reichs's tenth bestselling novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, the discovery of a young girl's skeleton in Acadia, Canada might be connected to the disappearance of Tempe's childhood friend.

For Tempe Brennan, the discovery of a young girl's skeleton in Acadia, Canada, is more than just another case. Evangeline, Tempe's

Overview

In Kathy Reichs's tenth bestselling novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, the discovery of a young girl's skeleton in Acadia, Canada might be connected to the disappearance of Tempe's childhood friend.

For Tempe Brennan, the discovery of a young girl's skeleton in Acadia, Canada, is more than just another case. Evangeline, Tempe's childhood best friend, was also from Acadia. Named for the character in the Longfellow poem, Evangeline was the most exotic person in Tempe's eight-year-old world. When Evangeline disappeared, Tempe was warned not to search for her, that the girl was "dangerous."

Thirty years later, flooded with memories, Tempe cannot help wondering if this skeleton could be the friend she had lost so many years ago. And what is the meaning of the strange skeletal lesions found on the bones of the young girl?

Meanwhile, Tempe's beau, Ryan, investigates a series of cold cases. Two girls dead. Three missing. Could the New Brunswick skeleton be part of the pattern? As Tempe draws on the latest advances in forensic anthropology to penetrate the past, Ryan hunts down a serial predator.

Editorial Reviews

Marilyn Stasio
A deft hand at balancing the emotional light with the dark, Reichs links the enchanting Evangeline and her Acadian heritage to the unsolved cases of dead and missing girls that have stumped the police for years. And even now, 10 books into the series, Tempe's strung-out affair with Detective-Lieutenant Andrew Ryan still hangs on the tensions that confound lovers in an atmosphere of violent death.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

Linda Emons brings the same high level of expertise to Reichs's 10th Temperance Brennan forensic thriller as its author does to the series. Both women understand instinctively that simply rattling off details of DNA matches and other scientific data isn't enough: it's making listeners believe in the people collecting that data. The cold case of a missing Quebec girl becomes a very personal quest for Brennan when she discovers that the bones in question probably belong to a childhood friend-a figure of fascination and sophistication who suddenly disappeared from Brennan's life at the age of 15. Emons brings both Tempe and her friend Évangéline Landry to vivid life. She's equally good in briefer scenes with Brennan's lover, Ryan, who investigates the dead girl's link to a predator who might still be active. Reichs, who might be the legitimate heiress to Patricia Cornwell's throne, has a winning partnership with Emons. Simultaneous release with the Scribner hardcover (Reviews, June 4). (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
Kirkus Reviews
In her Montreal office, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan stares down at the old bones on her desk. Are they the bones of an old friend?Temperance Brennan (Monday Mourning, 2004, etc.) was eight when she met ten-year-old Evangeline Landry, who for the next four years was her closest friend. Both had been lonely girls, strangers in a strange land. Tempe had been transplanted from Chicago to Charlotte, Evangeline from Acadia, Canada. Abruptly, without a trace, Evangeline vanished, but Tempe has never been able to forget her. Thirty years later, a female skeleton is plaguing her with painful questions. How old is old? Was the death violent? Is it absurd to think what she's thinking just because the bones were found in Acadia? Answers are hard to come by, in part because Tempe's plate is piled even higher than usual. Detective Lieutenant Andy Ryan is handling the scary new case of five girls in their late teens to early 20s, three missing, two dead. Have they fallen victim to a serial killer? And of course there's Ryan himself, a lover acting uncomfortably cool. Tempe, beset and brilliant as always, buckles down to find answers, only some of which will be rooted in the death sciences. A bit of a jumble at the end-Reichs is a committed over-plotter-but Tempe is both deeper and funnier than she's ever been, making this her best outing to date.
From the Publisher
"Gripping, full of twists and turns." — Ottawa Citizen

"Tempe is both deeper and funnier than she's ever been, making this her best outing to date." — Kirkus Reviews

"Dr. Brennan is rock solid and this book is easily one of the series' best." — The Globe and Mail

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781416544913
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
08/28/2007
Series:
Temperance Brennan Series , #10
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
14,035
File size:
5 MB

Read an Excerpt


Chapter One

Babies die. People vanish. People die. Babies vanish.

I was hammered early by those truths. Sure, I had a kid's understanding that mortal life ends. At school, the nuns talked of heaven, purgatory, limbo, and hell. I knew my elders would "pass." That's how my family skirted the subject. People passed. Went to be with God. Rested in peace. So I accepted, in some ill-formed way, that earthly life was temporary. Nevertheless, the deaths of my father and baby brother slammed me hard.

And Évangéline Landry's disappearance simply had no explanation.

But I jump ahead.

It happened like this.

As a little girl, I lived on Chicago's South Side, in the less fashionable outer spiral of a neighborhood called Beverly. Developed as a country retreat for the city's elite following the Great Fire of 1871, the hood featured wide lawns and large elms, and Irish Catholic clans whose family trees had more branches than the elms. A bit down-at-the-heels then, Beverly would later be gentrified by boomers seeking greenery within proximity of the Loop.

A farmhouse by birth, our home predated all its neighbors. Green-shuttered white frame, it had a wraparound porch, an old pump in back, and a garage that once housed horses and cows.

My memories of that time and place are happy. In cold weather, neighborhood kids skated on a rink created with garden hoses on an empty lot. Daddy would steady me on my double blades, clean slush from my snowsuit when I took a header. In summer, we played kick ball, tag, or Red Rover in the street. My sister, Harry, and I trapped fireflies in jars with hole-punched lids.

During the endless Midwestern winters, countless Brennan aunts and uncles gathered for cards in our eclectically shabby parlor. The routine never varied. After supper, Mama would take small tables from the hall closet, dust the tops, and unfold the legs. Harry would drape the white linen cloths, and I would center the decks, napkins, and peanut bowls.

With the arrival of spring, card tables were abandoned for front porch rockers, and conversation replaced canasta and bridge. I didn't understand much of it. Warren Commission. Gulf of Tonkin. Khrushchev. Kosygin. I didn't care. The banding together of those bearing my own double helices assured me of well-being, like the rattle of coins in the Beverly Hillbillies bank on my bedroom dresser. The world was predictable, peopled with relatives, teachers, kids like me from households similar to mine. Life was St. Margaret's school, Brownie Scouts, Mass on Sunday, day camp in summer.

Then Kevin died, and my six-year-old universe fragmented into shards of doubt and uncertainty. In my sense of world order, death took the old, great-aunts with gnarled blue veins and translucent skin. Not baby boys with fat red cheeks.

I recall little of Kevin's illness. Less of his funeral. Harry fidgeting in the pew beside me. A spot on my black patent leather shoe. From what? It seemed important to know. I stared at the small gray splotch. Stared away from the reality unfolding around me.

The family gathered, of course, voices hushed, faces wooden. Mama's side came from North Carolina. Neighbors. Parishioners. Men from Daddy's law firm. Strangers. They stroked my head. Mumbled of heaven and angels.

The house overflowed with casseroles and bakery wrapped in tinfoil and plastic. Normally, I loved sandwiches with the crusts cut off. Not for the tuna or egg salad between the bread. For the sheer decadence of that frivolous waste. Not that day. Never since. Funny the things that affect you.

Kevin's death changed more than my view of sandwiches. It altered the whole stage on which I'd lived my life. My mother's eyes, always kind and often mirthful, were perpetually wrong. Dark-circled and deep in their sockets. My child's brain was unable to translate her look, other than to sense sadness. Years later I saw a photo of a Kosovo woman, her husband and son lying in makeshift coffins. I felt a spark of recollection. Could I know her? Impossible. Then realization. I was recognizing the same defeat and hopelessness I'd seen in Mama's gaze.

But it wasn't just Mama's appearance that changed. She and Daddy no longer shared a pre-supper cocktail, or lingered at the table talking over coffee. They no longer watched television when the dishes were cleared and Harry and I were in our PJs. They'd enjoyed the comedy shows, eyes meeting when Lucy or Gomer did something amusing. Daddy would take Mama's hand and they'd laugh.

All laughter fled when leukemia conquered Kevin.

My father also took flight. He didn't withdraw into quiet self-pity, as Mama eventually did. Michael Terrence Brennan, litigator, connoisseur, and irrepressible bon vivant, withdrew directly into a bottle of good Irish whiskey. Many bottles, actually.

I didn't notice Daddy's absences at first. Like a pain that builds so gradually you're unable to pinpoint its origin, I realized one day that Daddy just wasn't around that much. Dinners without him grew more frequent. His arrival home grew later, until he seemed little more than a phantom presence in my life. Some nights I'd hear unsteady footfalls on the steps, a door banged too hard against a wall. A toilet flushed. Then silence. Or muffled voices from my parents' bedroom, the cadence conveying accusations and resentment.

To this day, a phone ringing after midnight makes me shiver. Perhaps I am an alarmist. Or merely a realist. In my experience, late-night calls never bring good news. There's been an accident. An arrest. A fight.

Mama's call came a long eighteen months after Kevin's death. Phones gave honest rings back then. Not polyphonic clips of "Grillz" or "Sukie in the Graveyard." I awoke at the first resonating peal. Heard a second. A fragment of a third. Then a soft sound, half scream, half moan, then the clunk of a receiver striking wood. Frightened, I pulled the covers up to my eyes. No one came to my bed.

There was an accident, Mama said the next day. Daddy's car was forced off the road. She never spoke of the police report, the blood alcohol level of 0.27. I overheard those details on my own. Eavesdropping is instinctual at age seven.

I remember Daddy's funeral even less than I remember Kevin's. A bronze coffin topped with a spray of white flowers. Endless eulogies. Muffled crying. Mama supported by two of the aunts. Psychotically green cemetery grass.

Mama's relatives made the trek in even larger numbers this time. Daessees. Lees. Cousins whose names I didn't remember. More covert listening revealed threads of their plan. Mama must move back home with her children.

The summer after Daddy died was one of the hottest in Illinois history, with temperatures holding in the nineties for weeks. Though weather forecasters talked of Lake Michigan's cooling effect, we were far from the water, blocked by too many buildings and too much cement. No lacustrine breezes for us. In Beverly, we plugged in fans, opened windows, and sweated. Harry and I slept on cots on the screened porch.

Through June and into July, Grandma Lee maintained a "return to Dixie" phone campaign. Brennan relatives continued appearing at the house, but solo now, or in sets of two, men with sweat-looped armpits, women in cotton dresses limp on their bodies. Conversation was guarded, Mama nervous and always on the verge of tears. An aunt or uncle would pat her hand. Do what's best for you and the girls, Daisy.

In some child's way I sensed a new restlessness in these familial calls. A growing impatience that grieving end and life resume. The visits had become vigils, uncomfortable but obligatory because Michael Terrence had been one of their own, and the matter of the widow and the children needed to be settled in proper fashion.

Death also wrought change in my own social nexus. Kids I'd known all my life avoided me now. When chance brought us together they'd stare at their feet. Embarrassed? Confused? Fearful of contamination? Most found it easier to stay away.

Mama hadn't enrolled us in day camp, so Harry and I spent the long, steamy days by ourselves. I read her stories. We played board games, choreographed puppet shows, or walked to the Woolworth's on Ninety-fifth Street for comics and vanilla Cokes.

Throughout those weeks, a small pharmacy took shape on Mama's bedside table. When she was downstairs I'd examine the little vials with their ridged white caps and neatly typed labels. Shake them. Peer through the yellow and brown plastic. The tiny capsules caused something to flutter in my chest.

Mama made her decision in mid-July. Or perhaps Grandma Lee made it for her. I listened as she told Daddy's brothers and sisters. They patted her hand. Perhaps it's best, they said, sounding, what? Relieved? What does a seven-year-old know of nuance?

Gran arrived the same day a sign went up in our yard. In the kaleidoscope of my memory I see her exiting the taxi, an old woman, scarecrow thin, hands knobby and lizard dry. She was fifty-six that summer.

Within a week we were packed into the Chrysler Newport that Daddy had purchased before Kevin's diagnosis. Gran drove. Mama rode shotgun. Harry and I were in back, a midline barrier of crayons and games demarcating territorial boundaries.

Two days later we arrived at Gran's house in Charlotte. Harry and I were given the upstairs bedroom with the green-striped wallpaper. The closet smelled of mothballs and lavender. Harry and I watched Mama hang our dresses on rods. Winter dresses for parties and church.

How long are we staying, Mama?

We'll see. The hangers clicked softly.

Will we go to school here?

We'll see.

At breakfast the next morning Gran asked if we'd like to spend the rest of the summer at the beach. Harry and I gazed at her over our Rice Krispies, shell-shocked by the thundering changes rolling over our lives.

'Course you would, she said.

How do you know what I would or wouldn't like? I thought. You're not me. She was right, of course. Gran usually was. But that wasn't the point. Another decision had been made and I was powerless to change it.

Two days after hitting Charlotte, our little party again settled itself in the Chrysler, Gran at the wheel. Mama slept, waking only when the whining of our tires announced we were crossing the causeway.

Mama's head rose from the seat back. She didn't turn to us. Didn't smile and sing out, "Pawleys Island, here we come!" as she had in happier times. She merely slumped back.

Gran patted Mama's hand, a carbon copy of the gesture employed by the Brennans. "We're going to be fine," she cooed, in a drawl identical to that of her daughter. "Trust me, Daisy darlin'. We're going to be fine."

And fine I was, once I met Évangéline Landry.

And for the next four years.

Until Évangéline vanished.

Copyright © 2007 by Temperance Brennan, L.P.

Meet the Author

Kathy Reichs is the author of eighteen New York Times bestselling novels featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. 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

Hometown:
Charlotte, North Carolina and Montreal, Québec
Place of Birth:
Chicago, Illinois
Education:
B.A., American University, 1971; M.A., Ph.D., Northwestern University
Website:
http://kathyreichs.com/

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Bones to Ashes (Temperance Brennan Series #10) 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 118 reviews.
ldailey More than 1 year ago
This book is almost impossible to put down! There are so many twists and turns, yet it is extremely easy to follow! I recommend this to anyone who enjoys the shows CSI or Bones! I also Recommend the entire Tempe Brennan series by Kathy Reichs... they are all amazing! Best of all, you dont have to read them in order to enjoy the book, yes they give you more details if you read them in order, but they also stand alone very well!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dr. Reichs gave me an insight into a culture I had only heard of, but knew little about, the Acadiens of New Brunswick. As a French speaker myself, I liked the occasional use of the 'Chiac' dialect, which looks little like French. FROM BONES TO ASHES offered gripping suspense from the beginning to the end. The book successfully weaves the story of unidentified dead girls with missing persons, Dr. Brennan's long lost childhood friend from the Acadie region of Canada, and the stigma of a now treatable disease into a moving read. I would highly reccommend this book to fans of history, anthropology, forensic science, and mystery.
tiger-100 More than 1 year ago
really got into this one, read all of it in 2 days!!! had to plug NOOK in so I could keep reading it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is another amazing story from Kathy Reichs... I love all of her Temperance Brennan novels, and this one is a definite must-read! Fantastic inclusion of information about other fields of study (such as history and linguistics), and as always, excellent and interesting information about forensic anthropology!!! Great plot, with unexpected twists and turns right up until the end!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Reichs included pages of mind numbing details that had nothing to do with the plot or character development. Speaking of the plot, it was the most ridiculous, convoluted, unbelievable mish-mash I've ever read. It was as if the author had a dozen pieces of nonsense rattling around in her brain, and then just squished them all together and called it an ending. My husband bought the book for me because I enjoy the television series 'Bones,' and I kept reading even though it was a dreadful disappointment. I wasted my time he wasted his money.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story line was good and it was something that I had never read about in a novel before but I was disappointed with the ending of the book. It leaves Tempe's personal life turned upside down and it gives you nothing to anticipate, after reading Break No Bones I was hoping this novel would shed some light on things but it didn't and actually just left her life more screwed up then what it was.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan needs a diversion as her love life seems to be collapsing with her relationship with Detective Andrew Ryan, shaky at its optimistic best. Thus, when she is asked to look at the remains of a cold case in New Brunswick, Canada, she leaps at the opportunity. The skeleton is that of a a teenage girl, which leads Tempe to believe that the bones are the remains of Evangeline Landry. Three decades ago when Tempe was eight, her fifteen year old friend Evangeline vanished without a trace. Looking back Tempe vaguely remembers being told to forget Evangeline ever lived.--------------- As she recalls the warning from her youth, Tempe wonders what caused the lesions on the bone structure. At the same time Ryan investigates three cold cases involving missing teenage girls eventually found dead with the same scenario as that of the Jane Doe that Tempe feels is Evangeline. Both think their cases are the result of the same serial killer and share the fear factor that this predator still operates freely after all these years. ------------- Tempe¿s tenth forensic whodunit is a superb investigative thriller that hooks the audience from the first moment that the heroine begins her inquiry. The fast-paced story line is action-packed with the two subplots tied together as much by the investigations as it is the relationship. No one plays with Bones better than Kathy Reichs does as the latest Temperance Brennan cold case mysteries retains the series trademark of fresh suspense enhanced by the latest forensic breakthroughs.-------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago