Cut to the Bone (Body Farm Series #8)

Cut to the Bone (Body Farm Series #8)

4.1 72
by Jefferson Bass

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In the summer of 1992, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton and Tennessee senator Al Gore begin their long-shot campaign to win the White House. On a sweltering hillside in Knoxville, Dr. Bill Brockton, the bright, ambitious young head of the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Department, launches an unusual—some would call it macabre—research

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In the summer of 1992, Arkansas governor Bill Clinton and Tennessee senator Al Gore begin their long-shot campaign to win the White House. On a sweltering hillside in Knoxville, Dr. Bill Brockton, the bright, ambitious young head of the University of Tennessee’s Anthropology Department, launches an unusual—some would call it macabre—research facility, unlike any other in existence. Brockton is determined to revolutionize the study of forensics to help law enforcement solve homicides. But his plans are derailed by a chilling murder that leaves the scientist r­eeling from a sense of déjà vu. Followed by another. And then ­another: bodies that bear eerie resemblances to cases from Brockton’s past.

The police chalk up the first corpse to coincidence. But as the body count rises, the victims’ fatal injuries grow more and more distinctive—a spiral of death that holds dark implications for Brockton himself. If the killer isn’t found quickly, the death toll could be staggering. And the list of victims could include Brockton . . . and everyone he holds dear.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The serviceable eighth Body Farm novel (after 2012's The Bones of Avignon) from the writing team of Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson is a prequel. Forensic anthropologist Bass created the world's first facility to study the decomposition of human corpses, and his fictional alter ego, Dr. William Brockton, is about to do the same in 1992 in Tennessee. Brockton, who's been frustrated by his inability to help law-enforcement pinpoint the time of death, believes that analysis of exactly how long it takes cadavers to disintegrate by using "bugs like a time-since-death stopwatch" can do just that. Meanwhile, a sadist named Satterfield is severing the limbs of his female victims, an m.o. that matches that of a murderer Brockton pursued two years earlier in Alaska. The writing sometimes gets away from the authors ("the razor-tipped arrow penetrated his chest, and his heart opened in a bloom of crimson to receive its thrust"), and plot surprises are the exception rather than the rule, but series fans will be pleased. Agent: Giles Anderson, Anderson Literary Agency. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
Having explored the mysteries surrounding the Shroud of Turin in The Inquisitor's Key (2012), the seventh book in his Body Farm series, Bass is back on home turf, tracing the origins of forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton's research facility. It's the summer of 1992. Brockton is the young head of the anthropology department at the University of Tennessee. When prostitutes start turning up dead, all killed by similar means, their bodies deposited in the countryside, he becomes aware of the possibility that the killings resonate with a case from his past. The brainy murderer, Satterfield, who provides his own narration, favors particular cutting tools and likes to slice off fingers. With each horrendous crime, he takes a step closer to Brockton's family. This book takes its time in the early parts, filling us in on each of the victims' lives before they unknowingly climb into Satterfield's vehicle. Brockton also gets opportunities to discuss the future of forensics with his assistant, explaining how studying insects removed from corpses will enable investigators to determine exact time of death. But if the pace of this prequel is sometimes leisurely, Bass (forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass and science writer Jon Jefferson) is better than most at making the subject compelling. And when it comes time to turn up the intensity, he does that with satisfying efficiency, spreading the tension among a solid cast of supporting characters. There's nothing especially original about the plot, but Bass is more comfortable working in his own backyard than he is chasing exotic secrets on foreign soil.

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Body Farm Series, #8
Product dimensions:
5.90(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.30(d)

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Cut to the Bone 4.1 out of 5 based on 4 ratings. 72 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ah, I wish these guys could write faster. This latest in the Body Farm Series does not disappoint. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson are great story tellers. There are no pretensions here; their style is self-effacing, humorous, and down to earth; their forensic science is low-tech (bones and bugs, for goodness sake)and believeable. I made a list of their books by publication date and my husband and I have enjoyed our way through the entire list. HEY BILL, JON - - WRITE FASTER!
beckybh More than 1 year ago
CUT TO THE BONE is a suspenseful, entertaining prequel to the successful BODY FARM MYSTERY SERIES written by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Bass is the real-life forensic anthropologist, Anthropology Department chairman, and Body Farm director upon whom the book's protagonist, Dr. Bill Brockton, is based. CUT TO THE BONE tells a fictional story of the vision and development of the real Body Farm at the University of Tennessee (UT) and parallels a suspenseful serial murder mystery. Though the story is told in several points of views, chapter and segment headings make the story easy to follow and assists in building suspense. The mystery involves a serial murderer to whom the reader is introduced early in the story. Reading in the killer's point of view gives the reader insight into why he kills, how he picks his murder weapons, and who he chooses as his victims, and the FBI profiler characters help Brockton understand what kind of killer he's facing. If learning a little about forensic anthropology is a draw, loads of body identification techniques and scene forensics are explained in the story. Brockton describes to local authorities how studying a body's bones can uncover the skeleton's gender, age and possible trauma suffered before death and what to look for in time-of-death and post-death trauma. The story also describes the specific and sometimes boring research needed to build a strong, fact-based database which can be accessed by medical and law officials to help solve crimes. Humor, a common emotional release for forensic anthropologists and anyone else mired in the business of death, is scattered throughout the book. The bantering and conversations between Brockton and his grad assistant are totally believable, and several of their interactions with local rural county officials are funny and pretty authentic. I particularly enjoy Brockton's phone calls with his new, already beleaguered secretary and with the chatty dispatcher at the Morgan County sheriff's office. I also like that the settings' details pull the reader right into the scenes and that the authors made sure to include other senses (touch, sound, smell and taste) to enhance the visual descriptions. I have a slight advantage in imagining where the story takes place, as I grew up in Knoxville. I also spent a lot of time in the Anthropology Department as an undergrad and for a short time as a grad student during Bass's tenure as department chair. I remember the room layout in Neyland Stadium and the unpleasant odors that bombarded me when opening the door to the department's hallway. (But CUT TO THE BONE's detailed descriptions also bring up memories of good times in the labs and classrooms there.) All in all, I would recommend CUT TO THE BONE to anyone who enjoys suspenseful murder mysteries, forensic science, anthropology and archaeology, or just good, entertaining storytelling. The book is fine as a stand-alone, but if this is your first time reading a Body Farm Mystery, then CUT TO THE BONE is definitely a good place to start if you want to continue this interesting series. Just make sure to take a big chunk of time to read. If you're like me, you'll want to read this story at one sitting. If You Like This, You May Also Like --- Other BODY FARM MYSTERIES by Jefferson Bass, DEATH'S ACRE and BEYOND THE BODY FARM (both nonfiction, related to the real Body Farm) by Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson, TEMPERANCE BRENNAN MYSTERIES by Kathy Reichs, SCARPETTA MYSTERIES by Patricia Cornwell, DIANE FALLON FORENSIC MYSTERIES by Beverly Connor * Read my other reviews on the Blue Moon Mystery Saloon blog. ** An ARC was provided by William Morrow and Edelweiss for an honest review.
jgoss825 More than 1 year ago
At first I did not think I would like this book as much as others by Bass, particularly because it jumped around from viewpoint to viewpoint. Although I like books from Brockton's viewpoint the best, the plot of this novel was engaging and made up for the different approach. In the future, I hope Bass sticks to the first hand accounts by Brockton that I have come to enjoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jefferson Bass is the best ever. Their books are a thrill to read plus I always learn from them. I love the way they keep you turning the pages because you never know what is coming, always a surprise. Keep them coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a super read! I have been a fan of this series for several years; I am mesmerized by the details of forensic investigation. I usually don't care for "prequels" to book series, but this book was exceptional. A little bit slow at first,but then kicks right into the familiar shock effect we've come to expect from this series. Loaded with tension and suspense, graphic murder and investigative details. Absolutely read this if you are familiar with the series! If not, read it anyway...but make sure you can handle maggots-- hundreds and hundreds of them ~ ~~ ~ Reviewed by Helen...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Once again Jefferson Bass has hit it out of the park! Loved every one of their books and this was no exception. Fast reading can't put it down! Although it was long anticipated and I wish they would write more this was well worth the wait.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great read. Once I started could not put it down.
nateMD More than 1 year ago
once again dr bass and jefferson delivered. I love this series and i couldnt put the book down and didn't want it to end. The book is a little predictable but other than that it is excellent as always. This is one of the more underappreciated crime/forensic series.  
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! Glad they went back to the premise of the Body Farm Series (I really did not like the last book - The Inquisitor's Key). I have read the whole series and am a huge fan. The only fault I saw with this one was I couldn't believe the whole group of law enforcement could miss a major detail.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
great mystery, as always
SCEmpress More than 1 year ago
This bone by Jefferson and Bass relates the beginnings of Dr. Bass career and creation of the Bone Yard. It's a fascinating telling but not for the squeamish, some of the details are a bit grim and TMI. But I'm thoroughly enjoying the entire tale.
jujuthomas More than 1 year ago
I am a huge fan of forensic mysteries, and the fact that these are based - however loosely - on real cases makes them even more fascinating. I was on the edge of my seat during the climax of the story. I plan to pick up the rest of this series.
WMV More than 1 year ago
Interesting forensic scientific insight on (serial killer) autopsies.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A fan of this series-sit on the edge of your seat story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book had about 330 pages. I have read about Four of Mr Bass books and so far this one is the best. It was hard to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book. Glad the authors went back to the roots of the storyline. It filled in the missing pieces a bit. A fabulous read. Finished it in two days.
MisfitGeek More than 1 year ago
This is the first book of the series I have read. I will definitely be reading more in this series. Although it is technically the eighth book in the series it is being marketed as the prequel. I thought maybe this would be a good starting place for me. I found the writing to be superb and I was easily pulled into the story. It was told in multiple points of view, which I often find distracting but it was handled very well. I found the characters to be well rounded and most were very likeable. I look forward to seeing members of the forensics team, in particular, in future books. The story line rocked in this. That along with the background of how the Body Farm got its start made for a riveting read. This book is very well written and I would recommend it highly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love these books
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mamahound More than 1 year ago
A very good read that involves the beginning of the "Body Farm" in Tennessee. Love the way the book is written, giving each character a voice of their own. I will be reading the other bone books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written, but way too gorey for me! Couldn't finish it, but gave it 4 stars for its' well writtenness.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do love this series. Chronologically, this book happens before the 1st seven. This one focuses on how the Body Farm started. I was also happy to meet Bill Brockton's wife, who has passed away in the 1st 7 books. Bill always spoke highly of her after she was gone so it was sweet to meet her. The story takes place in 1992 with Jeff Brockton still in high school. Alas, no Miranda Lovelady in this one but I am certain she will return in the future.