From the Publisher
"Loved it! I'm amazed by how seamlessly Reichs makes the transition from forensic jargon to snappy, funny dialogue -- scientist to great storyteller. What's not to admire and envy?" -- Sandra Brown, author of Play Dirty
"Reichs is a standout...[with] a formidable way of incorporating science with character and plot.... Her expertise is snappily and entertainingly delivered." -- Booklist
"Fascinating." -- Entertainment Weekly
"The lab lady most likely to dethrone Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta." -- USA Today
"Reichs keeps the roller coaster on track and speeding along, page after page." -- Jeffery Deaver
"Her expertise is snappily and entertainingly delivered." -- Booklist
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.
"Reichs is a standout...[with] a formidable way of incorporating science with character and plot.... Her expertise is snappily and entertainingly delivered."
Several troubling cases await forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan (Bones to Ashes, 2007, etc.) back home in Charlotte, N.C. Tempe Brennan's personal life is in tatters. Her love, a Montreal cop called Ryan, has gone back to his lover in hopes of stabilizing their troubled daughter; Tempe's ex is about to marry a much younger woman; and her daughter Katy is utterly bored with her job. A call to examine a skull found in a hidden floor space plunges Tempe into a case that may involve ritual murder. The skull and some kettles containing bones and various fetishes suggesting Santer'a or some other alternative religion may tie in with two headless bodies, one found floating in a river and another marked with Satanic symbols. Furious when a local politician uses the cases as an excuse to whip up hostility against little-understood religions, Tempe is far from convinced that the Wiccan who is arrested is guilty. When Rinaldi, one of the detectives she's working with, is killed in a drive-by, Tempe falls off the wagon but soldiers on, mortified, until she finally makes the connections between the crimes that lead to a close call with death and a startling conclusion. Not Reichs's best, but a meticulously laid-out case that offers a deeper look into her heroine's personal life. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh/William Morris Agency
Read an Excerpt
My name is Temperance Deassee Brennan. I'm five-five, feisty, and forty-plus. Multidegreed. Overworked. Underpaid.
Slashing lines through that bit of literary inspiration, I penned another opening.
I'm a forensic anthropologist. I know death. Now it stalks me. This is my story.
Merciful God. Jack Webb and Dragnet reincarnate.
I glanced at the clock. Two thirty-five.
Abandoning the incipient autobiography, I began to doodle. Circles inside circles. The clock face. The conference room. The UNCC campus. Charlotte. North Carolina. North America. Earth. The Milky Way.
Around me, my colleagues argued minutiae with all the passion of religious zealots. The current debate concerned wording within a subsection of the departmental self-study. The room was stifling, the topic poke-me-in-the-eye dull. We'd been in session for over two hours, and time was not flying.
I added spiral arms to the outermost of my concentric circles. Began filling spaces with dots. Four hundred billion stars in the galaxy. I wished I could put my chair into hyperdrive to any one of them.
Anthropology is a broad discipline, comprised of linked subspecialties. Physical. Cultural. Archaeological. Linguistic. Our department has the full quartet. Members of each group were feeling a need to have their say.
George Petrella is a linguist who researches myth as a narrative of individual and collective identity. Occasionally he says something I understand.
At the moment, Petrella was objecting to the wording "reducible to" four distinct fields. He was proposing substitution of the phrase "divisible into."
Cheresa Bickham, a Southwestern archaeologist, and Jennifer Roberts, a specialist in cross-cultural belief systems, were holding firm for "reducible to."
Tiring of my galactic pointillism, and not able to reduce or divide my ennui into any matters of interest, I switched to calligraphy.
Temperance. The trait of avoiding excess.
Double order, please. Side of restraint. Hold the ego.
The verbiage flowed on.
At 3:10 a vote was taken. "Divisible into" carried the day.
Evander Doe, department chair for over a decade, was presiding. Though roughly my age, Doe looks like someone out of a Grant Wood painting. Bald. Owlish wire-rims. Pachyderm ears.
Most who know Doe consider him dour. Not me. I've seen the man smile at least two or three times.
Having put "divisible into" behind him, Doe proceeded to the next burning issue. I halted my swirly lettering to listen.
Should the department's mission statement stress historical ties to the humanities and critical theory, or should it emphasize the emerging role of the natural sciences and empirical observation?
My aborted autobiography had been smack on. I would die of boredom before this meeting adjourned.
Sudden mental image. The infamous sensory deprivation experiments of the 1950s. I pictured volunteers wearing opaque goggles and padded hand muffs, lying on cots in white-noise chambers.
I listed their symptoms and compared them to my present state.
Anxiety. Depression. Antisocial behavior. Hallucination.
I crossed out the fourth item. Though stressed and irritable, I wasn't hallucinating. Yet. Not that I'd mind. A vivid vision would have provided diversion.
Don't get me wrong. I've not grown cynical about teaching. I love being a professor. I regret that my interaction with students seems more limited each year.
Why so little classroom time? Back to the subdiscipline thing.
Ever try to see just a doctor? Forget it. Cardiologist. Dermatologist. Endocrinologist. Gastroenterologist....