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Deadly Decisions (Temperance Brennan Series #3)
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Deadly Decisions (Temperance Brennan Series #3)

4.1 241
by Kathy Reichs

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"Fans of TV's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation should be in heaven" (People) stepping into the world of forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan, star of Kathy Reichs' electrifyingly authentic bestsellers.

When innocent blood is spilled, she deciphers the shattering truth it holds.

Nine-year-old Emily Anne Toussaint is


"Fans of TV's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation should be in heaven" (People) stepping into the world of forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan, star of Kathy Reichs' electrifyingly authentic bestsellers.

When innocent blood is spilled, she deciphers the shattering truth it holds.

Nine-year-old Emily Anne Toussaint is fatally shot on a Montreal street. A North Carolina teenager disappears from her home, and parts of her skeleton are found hundreds of miles away. The shocking deaths propel Tempe Brennan from north to south, and deep into a shattering investigation inside the bizarre culture of outlaw motorcycle gangs — where one misstep could bring disaster for herself or someone she loves.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Reminiscent of Patricia Cornwell at the top of her game. . . . Moves along like a Harley-Davidson leading the pack." — The San Francisco Examiner

"The forensic details are fascinating." — The Orlando Sentinel (FL)

"A high-octane forensic thriller." — People

Our Review
Cornwell Fans Should Hitch This Ride
Biker wars, buried secrets, and an ever-rising body count -- forensic anthropologist Dr. Tempe Brennan is back in Deadly Décisions, a bloody new thriller that's sure to keep your heart pumping. In a tale that hits Brennan close to home, Kathy Reichs, international bestselling author of Déjà Dead and Death du Jour, is nothing short of dead-on.

Rival outlaw motorcycle gangs, the Heathens and the Vipers, are embroiled in a -- quite literally -- explosive battle for control of the drug trade in the streets of Montreal, and Tempe Brennan is left to sort out the remains of les motards who are targeted in the outbreak of bombings and shootings. The pompous officers she's working with, Quickwater and Claudel, are no picnic, and her love life is in a blowout, as well -- Andrew Ryan, the homicide detective she's been seeing, has just been busted on drug charges. But when a nine-year-old girl, Emily Anne Toussant, is caught in the crossfire, Brennan puts her personal troubles aside making it her mission to find the murderers and bring an end to the killing.

The case takes a dark turn, however, when a grave on Viper turf turns up not only murdered bikers but also the partial remains of a teenage girl missing for years from North Carolina as well. And while Tempe's investigation has her face splashed across the front pages of the Montreal newspapers, she soon discovers that someone sinister is watching her even more closely; she knows that if she doesn't step carefully, her body may be next on the table.

Kathy Reichs's own expertise as a forensic anthropologist is invaluable, for as always, her latest shines with razor-sharp scientific authenticity. Whether combing the soil for bodies with a radar that detects disturbances in the earth's density, comparing bone samples for growth defects, or running DNA sequencing on skeletons that have been hidden in the earth for more than a decade, Brennan is not only an authoritative medical expert, she's downright fascinating. And while the tale outside the office is a deeply moving one, Reichs pulls no punches in the autopsy room, where death is a reality, and with bodies that are more often than not sorted out in plastic bags -- well, it ain't always pretty.

She won't be giving you nightmares, however, because you won't be able to put this one down long enough to sleep. Brennan is smart-mouthed, sarcastic, and street-savvy -- but with every step she's treading deeper and deeper into the dark underworld of the outlaw bikers, and the stakes couldn't be higher. Reichs handles the narrative magnificently, with short chapters that keep the story cruising and hairpin plot turns that keep the suspense roaring like a Harley. Taking you from Quebec to North Carolina and back again, Deadly Décisions is Kathy Reichs at her most bone-chilling, and it's a guaranteed thrill ride.

--Elise Vogel

Elise Vogel is a freelance writer living in New York City.

Barnes & Noble Guide to New Fiction
From best-selling author Reichs comes another "detailed and knowledgeable" forensic suspense thriller focusing on "biker society." "A blatant rip-off of Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta." "Not for the fainthearted." Some readers found it "too graphic" and "uneven." Ultimately, "a good read between Scarpetta books."
Library Journal
Crime writer Reichs is amazing! Once again, readers will be eager to learn the grisly details of how her forensic anthropologist heroine, Dr. Tempe Brennan, teases information from the bones of mutilated, decomposed, often animal-gnawed human bodies. Here, Tempe is outraged at the death of a child in a war among bikers vying for the Quebec province drug trade, and she joins the investigation. Tension mounts as she becomes embroiled in the rivalries of outlaw motorcycle gangs, "the mafia of the new millennium." The case becomes more complex as another biker is killed and the death and dismemberment of a teenage girl years before in North Carolina are linked to the Quebec biker mayhem. Then Tempe's Harley-riding nephew from Houston gets involved, revving up the plot as the tale speeds across the finish line to a satisfying conclusion. The author of the best-selling D j Dead, Reichs roots her skillful storytelling in her own experience as forensic anthropologist in both Montreal and North Carolina. Highly recommended for all public library fiction collections. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/1/00.]--Molly Gorman, San Marino, CA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Tempe Brennan becomes involved when two motorcycle gangs declare war, plot revenge, and leave an innocent child caught in the crossfire. Tempe sorts out new and old murders, ties together clues in Montreal and North Carolina, and worries that her visiting nephew is becoming involved with the gangs. Competent young adult readers will enjoy the information on motorcycles and will relate to the nephew. However, there are many characters, victims, and police organizations to keep straight. Reichs explains the latter in context, but then refers to them with abbreviations. Abounding in grisly details, this novel is sure to please Reichs's fans.-Claudia Moore, W. T. Woodson High School, Fairfax, VA Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Ann Prichard
Deadly Decisions, has an ambitious plot…
USA Today
Kirkus Reviews
Beautiful, cosmopolitan Montréal has the distinction of hosting the last active biker war in North America. Consulting forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan, brought up once more from North Carolina to help separate the bodies of a pair of identical twin Heathens blown up by their own bomb, is on hand when a Viper informant leads the Sûreté to a field where two much older bodies are buried—together with the skull and leg bones of Savannah Osprey, a hydrocephalic teen who disappeared from North Carolina in 1984, and whose body has long since been laid to rest back home. What are her missing parts doing in Pointe-St-Charles, and how is she connected to the slain bikers? As Tempe (Death du Jour, 1999, etc.) applies her customary expertise to these problems, problems are piling up on the home front as well. Her main squeeze, Lt. Andrew Ryan, has been arrested for dealing drugs, and her visiting nephew, Kit Howard, is infatuated with two equally unsuitable role models: the bikers whose equipment he's fascinated by, and Lyle Crease, the smarmy newscaster who's using him to get to Tempe. By the end, the body count has risen so high that it scarcely registers—replaced by forensic examinations of body parts, blood spatters, and old photos as centers of dramatic interest—and the mystery itself (whodunit, when, how, and why?) is shapeless in all but its broadest contours. Still, fans will be hooked by those ghoulish stints in the lab, the penny-dreadful chapter endings, and the endless flow of acronyms that prove what a tough cookie Tempe is. (Author tour)

Product Details

Pocket Star
Publication date:
Temperance Brennan Series , #3
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Her name was Emily Anne. She was nine years old, with black ringlets, long lashes, and caramel-colored skin. Her ears were pierced with tiny gold loops. Her forehead was pierced by two slugs from a Cobra 9-mm semiautomatic.

It was a Saturday, and I was working by special request of my boss, Pierre LaManche. I'd been at the lab for four hours, sorting badly mangled tissue, when the door to the large autopsy room opened and Sergeant-Detective Luc Claudel came striding in.

Claudel and I had worked together in the past, and though he'd come to tolerate, perhaps even appreciate me, one would not infer that from his brusque manner.

"Where's LaManche?" he demanded, glancing at the gurney in front of me, then quickly away.

I said nothing. When Claudel was in one of his moods, I ignored him.

"Has Dr. LaManche arrived?" The detective avoided looking at my greasy gloves.

"It's Saturday, Monsieur Claudel. He doesn't wo — "

At that moment Michel Charbonneau stuck his head into the room. Through the opening I could hear the whir and clank of the electric door at the back of the building.

"Le cadavre est arrivé," Charbonneau told his partner.

What cadaver? Why were two homicide detectives at the morgue on a Saturday afternoon?

Charbonneau greeted me in English. He was a large man, with spiky hair that resembled a hedgehog's.

"Hey, Doc."

"What's going on?" I asked, pulling off my gloves and lowering my mask.

Claudel answered, his face tense, his eyes cheerless in the harsh fluorescent light.

"Dr. LaManche will be here shortly. He can explain."

Already sweat glistened on his forehead, and his mouth was compressed into a thin, tight line. Claudel detested autopsies and avoided the morgue as much as possible. Without another word he pulled the door wide and brushed past his partner. Charbonneau watched him walk down the corridor, then turned back to me.

"This is hard for him. He has kids."

"Kids?" I felt something cold in my chest.

"The Heathens struck this morning. Ever hear of Richard Marcotte?"

The name was vaguely familiar.

"Maybe you know him as Araignée. Spider." He curled his fingers like a child doing the waterspout rhyme. "Great guy. And an elected official in the outlaw biker set. Spider is the Vipers sergeant at arms, but he had a real bad day today. When he set out for the gym around eight this morning the Heathens blasted him in a drive-by while his ole lady dove for cover in a lilac bush."

Charbonneau ran a hand backward through his hair, swallowed.

I waited.

"In the process they also killed a child."

"Oh, God." My fingers tightened around the gloves.

"A little girl. They took her to the Montréal Children's Hospital, but she didn't make it. They're bringing her here now. Marcotte was DOA. He's out back."

"LaManche is coming in?"

Charbonneau nodded.

The five pathologists at the lab take turns being on call. Rarely does it happen, but if an off-hours autopsy or visit to a death scene is deemed necessary, someone is always available. Today that was LaManche.

A child. I could feel the familiar surge of emotions and needed to get away.

My watch said twelve-forty. I tore off my plastic apron, balled it together with the mask and latex gloves, and threw everything into a biological waste container. Then I washed my hands and rode the elevator to the twelfth floor.

I don't know how long I sat in my office, staring at the St. Lawrence and ignoring my carton of yogurt. At one point I thought I heard LaManche's door, then the swish of the glass security doors that separate portions of our wing.

Being a forensic anthropologist, I've developed some immunity to violent death. Since the medical examiner turns to me to derive information from the bones of the mutilated, burned, or decomposed, I've seen the worst. My workplaces are the morgue and autopsy room, so I know how a corpse looks and smells, how it feels when handled or cut with a scalpel. I'm accustomed to bloody clothing drying on racks, to the sound of a Stryker saw cutting through bone, to the sight of organs floating in numbered specimen jars.

But I have always been unsettled by the sight of dead children. The shaken baby, the battered toddler, the emaciated child of religious zealots, the preteen victim of a violent pedophile. The violation of young innocents has never failed to agitate and distress me.

Not long ago I had worked a case involving infants, twin boys killed and mutilated. It had been one of the most difficult encounters of my career, and I didn't want to reboard that emotional merry-go-round.

Then again that case had been a source of satisfaction. When the fanatic responsible was locked up and could order no more executions, I felt a genuine sense of having accomplished something good.

I peeled back the cover and stirred the yogurt.

Images of those babies hovered in my mind. I remembered my feelings in the morgue that day, the flashbacks to my infant daughter.

Dear God, why such insanity? The mutilated men I had left downstairs had also died as a result of the current biker war.

Don't get despondent, Brennan. Get angry. Get coldly, resolutely angry. Then apply your science to help nail the bastards.

"Yep," I agreed with myself aloud.

I finished the yogurt, drained my drink, and headed downstairs.

Charbonneau was in the anteroom of one of the small autopsy suites, flipping pages in a spiral notebook. His large frame overflowed a vinyl chair opposite the desk. Claudel was nowhere to be seen.

"What's her name?" I asked.

"Emily Anne Toussaint. She was on her way to dance class."


"Verdun." He tipped his head toward the adjoining room. "LaManche has begun the post."

I slipped past the detective into the autopsy room.

A photographer was taking pictures while the pathologist made notes and shot Polaroid backups.

I watched LaManche grasp a camera by its side handles, then raise and lower it above the body. As the lens moved in and out of focus a small dot blurred then condensed over one of the wounds in the child's forehead. When the perimeter of the dot grew sharp, LaManche depressed the shutter release. A white square slid out and he pulled it free and added it to a collection on the side counter.

Emily Anne's body bore evidence of the intensive effort to save her life. Her head was partly bandaged, but I could see a clear tube protruding from her scalp, inserted to monitor intracranial pressure. An endotracheal tube ran down her throat and into her trachea and esophagus, placed in order to oxygenate the lungs and to block regurgitation from the stomach. Catheters for IV infusion remained in her subclavian, inguinal, and femoral vessels, and the circular white patches for EKG electrodes were still pasted to her chest.

Such a frantic intervention, almost like an assault. I closed my eyes and felt tears burn the backs of my lids.

I dragged my eyes back to the small body. Emily Anne wore nothing but a plastic hospital bracelet. Next to her lay a pale green hospital gown, bundled clothing, a pink backpack, and a pair of high-top red sneakers.

The harsh fluorescent light. The shining steel and tile. The cold, sterile surgical instruments. A little girl did not belong here.

When I looked up, LaManche's sad eyes met mine. Though neither of us made reference to what lay on the stainless steel, I knew his thoughts. Another child. Another autopsy in this same room.

Putting a choke hold on my emotions, I described the progress I was making with my own cases, reassembling the corpses of two bikers who'd been blown apart by their own folly, and asked when antemortem medical records would be available. LaManche told me that the files had been requested and should arrive on Monday.

I thanked him and went to resume my own grim task. As I sorted tissue, I remembered my previous day's conversation with LaManche, and wished I were still in the Virginia woods. Was it only yesterday LaManche had called me there? Emily Anne was alive then.

So much can change in twenty-four hours.

Copyright © 2000 by Temperance Brennan, L.P.

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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Deadly Decisions (Temperance Brennan Series #3) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 241 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kathy Reichs is an amazing author! First she stunned us all with Deja Dead, then made us all do double takes with Death Du Jour, and now has amazed us all with Deadly Decisions. You learn an extreme amount about Biker Gang Warfare and again one of Tempe's relatives is involved. So if I were you I'd read this series because it is EXCELLENT!!! Happy Reading!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Her book is an amazing book that gets you hooked and you never want to put it down... EVER! Its a great thriller and things that you never suspected to hapen actually happen. I only have one word: WOW! It was a perfect story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was a very intense book and kept you spell bound till the very end. Great reading.l Enjoy all of Kathy Reichs books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the third Tempe book I have read, and the first two of the series were well done. Now it seems that we are getting to the level where the author, Kathy Reichs is "churning them out". This is more of a travel guide to Montreal and Quebec than a mystery novel. This is more than descriptive background to bring the locale in focus. This is filler.pages and pages of filler. Based on this book of the series, I will not read anymore even though I love the TV series on which they are based. My money would be more well spent on a street map of Montreal.
ecole More than 1 year ago
Tempe is at her best and worst. There is never a dull moment.
NEB1 More than 1 year ago
Good storyteller, but a little too long winded at times on details. I have read many of her books and this one was just okay.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was great it had tons of suspense and keeps you on your toes, wants to make you read up on gangs and other events.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ms. Reichs does it again, I couldn't put it down. IN short this book is just a great read and if you liked any of her other books you won't be dissapointed!!! I can't wait for the next book to see what Tempe will run into next!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ThePolyBlog More than 1 year ago
PLOT OR PREMISE: In this third installment in the Dr. Temperance Brennan series, there are biker gangs in Montreal, and they are killing each other. Most of it happens in Montreal, which is an improvement over the bopping around in previous books. . WHAT I LIKED: The story is interesting, and Reichs is still above average. . WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE: Some of the characters are fast becoming clichés. And if you don't figure out a sub-plot (spoiler alert!) about her love interest being a dirty cop, you need to take Mystery Fiction 101 again. Temperance also gets to play Mommy again, this time to a nephew, but it isn't particularly exciting. More of a Scarpetta rip-off. Again, too, Reichs plays fast and loose with a couple of clues that make Brennan look like an idiot to any intelligent reader and really detracts from the story. The final ending is almost surreal, and reads more like a script for an action TV-series than reliable fiction. . BOTTOM-LINE: Not up to the standards of the first book . DISCLOSURE: I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow her on social media.
2beacon More than 1 year ago
I love the author's humor every now and then. The main character is really devoted to her job and does not mind the long hours of work in the lab. However, for this particular book, there are too many characters and bike groups to remember that I got lost. I don't particularly like the setting being in Quebec and the French words. But Reichs is a very entertaining author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A captivating read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its ok. Doesn't keep my attention.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Unpleasant and grafic for me and i dont care for her or her friends or family however for some reason i do like the tv series in the series she is a genius but autisic she can not relate emotionaly to people which adds to the humor and pathos. This is not in the books where everyone and thing is unpleasant in the tv the staff are all interesting and while humor is often black it is funny.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love a good Kathy Reichs novel, but the biker subject material of the novel did not appeal to me as much as some of her stories. Still great writing and definitely worth a read for anyone invested in the overall plot of the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good and loved the fact that it was motorcycle gangs.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how we get to meet Kit, he adds a nice element to the story. The only downside is the lack of Ryan! He's my favorite character in this series.
tiger-100 More than 1 year ago
really enjoy Brennan series. have just added 5 more to my NOOK. am reading Bones to Ashes now and it wonderful. love the tenacity of Brennan when she is working on a set of bones.
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