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Linda Emond's crisp and dry vocal interpretation of Reichs's Temperance Brennan, crime fiction's second most popular forensic expert, is on target. The cool approach works fine when the "5'5", feisty and 40-plus" heroine describes stumbling into a dark basement and finding a witches' brew of pagan artifacts and human and animal remains. It lets Temperance and the listener calmly contemplate her jumbled, alcohol-prone, romantically impaired life. And it helps in sorting out the clues for several gruesome killings that may or may not be connected and may or may not involve what one character describes as a "murderous devil conspiracy." But even Emond can't make Reichs's endless side trips into North Carolina history, geographical key notes and descriptions of the roots of voodoo and the Wicca religion sound anything but academic. Spare us the lectures; there's more than enough plot without the unnecessary digressions. A Scribner hardcover (Reviews, June 9). (Sept.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.