Monday Mourning (Temperance Brennan Series #7)

Monday Mourning (Temperance Brennan Series #7)

4.1 148
by Kathy Reichs
     
 

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Internationally acclaimed forensic anthropologist and New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs explores the Stockholm syndrome—the psychology of a captive submitting to the ideology of a captor—in this mesmerizing new thriller.

Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist for both North Carolina and Quebec, has come from Charlotte to

Overview

Internationally acclaimed forensic anthropologist and New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs explores the Stockholm syndrome—the psychology of a captive submitting to the ideology of a captor—in this mesmerizing new thriller.

Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist for both North Carolina and Quebec, has come from Charlotte to Montreal during the bleak days of December to testify as an expert witness at a murder trial.

She should be going over her notes, but instead she’s digging in the basement of a pizza parlor. Not fun. Freezing cold. Crawling rats. And now, the skeletonized remains of three young women. How did they get there? When did they die?

Homicide detective Luc Claudel, never Tempe’s greatest fan, believes the bones are historic. Not his case, not his concern. The pizza parlor owner found nineteenth-century buttons in the cellar with the skeletons. Claudel takes them as an indicator of the bones’ antiquity.

But something doesn’t make sense. Tempe examines the bones in her lab and establishes approximate age with Carbon-14. Further study of tooth enamel tells her where the women were born. If she’s right, Claudel has three recent murders on his hands. Definitely his case.

Detective Andrew Ryan, meanwhile, is acting mysteriously. What are those private phone calls he takes in the other room, and why does he suddenly disappear just when Tempe is beginning to hope he might be a permanent part of her life? Looks like more lonely nights for Tempe and Birdie, her cat.

As Tempe searches for answers in both her personal and professional lives, she finds herself drawn deep into a web of evil from which there may be no escape. Women have disappeared, never to return...Tempe may be next.

With its powerful mix of nail-biting suspense and cutting-edge forensic science, Monday Mourning is the best yet from this superbly gifted, megastar author who, as New York Newsday says, is “the real thing.”

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Forensic scientist Tempe Brennan isn't happy: it's freezing in Montreal, her detective boyfriend is giving her the cold shoulder and her macho colleagues won't take her seriously. When Reichs's heroine is called in to examine three skeletons discovered in the basement of a pizza parlor at the start of the seventh installment in this popular series, her instincts tell her a crime was recently committed. Chauvinistic homicide detective Luc Claudel doesn't agree, but Tempe forges ahead and soon discovers that the victims are young women, probably teenagers killed sometime in the 1980s. Already feeling vulnerable because she's left her beloved daughter, Katy, back home in North Carolina, Tempe is further troubled by the indifference of formerly avid lover Andrew Ryan (another Montreal detective). Meanwhile, new developments lead Tempe and her reluctant colleagues to suspect a creepy former pawn store owner of serial kidnappings, torture and grisly murder. What's best about Reichs, and often unappreciated in reviews, is not the informative detail that she brings to Tempe's forensic sleuthing, though that's certainly engrossing. It's the same well-observed detail and incisive analysis applied to other aspects of the story. Tempe deconstructs Ryan's every evasive gesture and casual comment and describes an ominously darkened room, the glow from a UV light and an armada of snow plows with vivid precision. Here, as previously, readers will be as invested in Tempe's life as in her case. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. (June 15) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Ever had a bad Monday? Forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan's Mondays bring bodies that shouldn't be dead. Most recently her Monday begins in a muddy pizza parlor cellar, where she unearths bones that belong to three young girls and lead Tempe into yet another frightful case. By following the trail through frozen Montreal, Tempe enters a nightmare world of kidnapping and torture at odds with the Christmas scenes around her. Tempe's focus is never far from the girls, but she is distracted by her lover's unexplained remoteness and an old friend's marital woes. Michelle Pawk is an excellent reader; her elastic voice stretches with Tempe's continually shifting moods-from confident to anxious, from angry to gentle. Pawk's Southern and French accents are charming; she is even able to bring some warmth into the usually frozen Detective Claudel, Tempe's ongoing antagonist. Recommended for most mystery collections.-Juleigh Muirhead Clark, John D. Rockefeller Jr. Lib., Colonial Williamsburg Fdn., VA Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The freezing Montreal winter turns even colder when blue-eyed cop Andrew Ryan is too busy mounting a sting operation and squiring a fetching youngster around to pay much attention to the forensic anthropologist who's his sometime squeeze. Temperance Brennan can't even turn to her chum Anne for much solace because Anne, on a leave of absence from her marriage, is needy herself. Work is no consolation either, since Tempe is facing a riddle she can't solve. How old are the girls' bones discovered under a pizza shop? Maybe a hundred years, maybe less. Homicide cops Claudel and Charbonneau have more pressing matters to deal with-that sting, for instance. So Tempe goes a-hunting, determined to identify whose bones they are and what their history was. She uncovers a possible link to Montreal Mafioso Nick "The Knife" Cataneo and even stronger ties to a smarmy pawnbroker and his terrified girlfriend. But it is 21st-century forensic wizardry that leads Tempe to stomach-churning confrontations in which many are revealed to have been tortured, one more dies, Anne is concussed, and Tempe herself is practically incinerated. Knowledgeable and brave enough to outgore Patricia Cornwell, Reichs (Bare Bones, 2003, etc.) still can't balance her love of science-think carbon-dating for dummies-with her passion for Grand Guignol. Some sassy repartee, but mostly lots and lots of bodies. Agent: Jennifer Rudolph Walsh/William Morris
From the Publisher
"Fans of TV's CSI: Crime Scene Investigation should be in heaven."

People

"Fans of Patricia Cornwell will relish the forensic detail...Fast-paced...suspenseful."

Booklist

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743272025
Publisher:
Scribner
Publication date:
07/12/2004
Series:
A Temperance Brennan Novel , #7
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
320
Sales rank:
19,047
File size:
4 MB

Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

Monday, Monday...

Can't trust that day...


As the tune played inside my head, gunfire exploded in the cramped underground space around me.

My eyes flew up as muscle, bone, and guts splattered against rock just three feet from me.

The mangled body seemed glued for a moment, then slid downward, leaving a smear of blood and hair.

I felt warm droplets on my cheek, backhanded them with a gloved hand.

Still squatting, I swiveled.

"Assez!" Enough!

Sergeant-détective Luc Claudel's brows plunged into a V. He lowered but did not holster his nine-millimeter.

"Rats. They are the devil's spawn." Claudel's French was clipped and nasal, reflecting his upriver roots.

"Throw rocks," I snapped.

"That bastard was big enough to throw them back."

Hours of squatting in the cold and damp on a December Monday in Montreal had taken a toll. My knees protested as I rose to a standing position.

"Where is Charbonneau?" I asked, rotating one booted foot, then the other.

"Questioning the owner. I wish him luck. Moron has the IQ of pea soup."

"The owner discovered this?" I flapped a hand at the ground behind me.

"Non. Le plombier."

"What was a plumber doing in the cellar?"

"Genius spotted a trapdoor beside the commode, decided to do some underground exploration to acquaint himself with the sewage pipes."

Remembering my own descent down the rickety staircase, I wondered why anyone would take the risk.

"The bones were lying on the surface?"

"Says he tripped on something sticking out of the ground. There." Claudel cocked his chin at a shallow pit where the south wall met the dirt floor. "Pulled it loose. Showed the owner. Together they checked out the local library's anatomy collection to see if the bone was human. Picked a book with nice color pictures since they probably can't read."

I was about to ask a follow-up question when something clicked above us. Claudel and I looked up, expecting his partner.

Instead of Charbonneau, we saw a scarecrow man in a knee-length sweater, baggy jeans, and dirty blue Nikes. Pigtails wormed from the lower edge of a red bandanna wrapped his head.

The man was crouched in the doorway, pointing a throwaway Kodak in my direction.

Claudel's V narrowed and his parrot nose went a deeper red. "Tabernac!"

Two more clicks, then bandanna man scrabbled sideways.

Holstering his weapon, Claudel grabbed the wooden railing. "Until SIJ returns, throw rocks."

SIJ -- Section d'Identité Judiciaire. The Quebec equivalent of Crime Scene Recovery.

I watched Claudel's perfectly fitted buttocks disappear through the small rectangular opening. Though tempted, I pegged not a single rock.

Upstairs, muted voices, the clump of boots. Downstairs, just the hum of the generator for the portable lights.

Breath suspended, I listened to the shadows around me.

No squeaking. No scratching. No scurrying feet.

Quick scan.

No beady eyes. No naked, scaly tails.

The little buggers were probably regrouping for another offensive.

Though I disagreed with Claudel's approach to the problem, I was with him on one thing: I could do without the rodents.

Satisfied that I was alone for the moment, I refocused on the moldy crate at my feet. Dr. Energy's Power Tonic. Dead tired? Dr. Energy's makes your bones want to get up and dance.

Not these bones, Doc.

I gazed at the crate's grisly contents.

Though most of the skeleton remained caked, dirt had been brushed from some bones. Their outer surfaces looked chestnut under the harsh illumination of the portable lights. A clavicle. Ribs. A pelvis.

A human skull.

Damn.

Though I'd said it a half dozen times, reiteration couldn't hurt. I'd come from Charlotte to Montreal a day early to prepare for court on Tuesday. A man had been accused of killing and dismembering his wife. I'd be testifying on the saw mark analysis I'd done on her skeleton. It was complicated material and I'd wanted to review my case file. Instead, I was freezing my ass digging up the basement of a pizza parlor.

Pierre LaManche had visited my office early this morning. I'd recognized the look, correctly guessed what was coming as soon as I saw him.

Bones had been found in the cellar of a pizza-by-the-slice joint, my boss had told me. The owner had called the police. The police had called the coroner. The coroner had called the medicolegal lab.

LaManche wanted me to check it out.

"Today?"

"S'il vous plaît."

"I'm on the stand tomorrow."

"The Pétit trial?"

I nodded.

"The remains are probably those of animals," LaManche said in his precise, Parisian French. "It should not take you long."

"Where?" I reached for a tablet.

LaManche read the address from a paper in his hand. Rue Ste-Catherine, a few blocks east of Centre-ville.

CUM turf.

Claudel.

The thought of working with Claudel had triggered the morning's first "damn."

There are some small-town departments around the island city of Montreal, but the two main players in law enforcement are the SQ and the CUM. La Sûreté du Québec is the provincial force. The SQ rules in the boonies, and in towns lacking municipal departments. The Police de la Communauté Urbaine de Montréal, or CUM, are the city cops. The island belongs to the CUM.

Luc Claudel and Michel Charbonneau are detectives with the Major Crimes Division of the CUM. As forensic anthropologist for the province of Quebec, I've worked with both over the years. With Charbonneau, the experience is always a pleasure. With his partner, the experience is always an experience. Though a good cop, Luc Claudel has the patience of a firecracker, the sensitivity of Vlad the Impaler, and a persistent skepticism as to the value of forensic anthropology.ar

Snappy dresser, though.

Dr. Energy's crate had already been loaded with loose bones when I'd arrived in the basement two hours earlier. Though Claudel had yet to provide many details, I assumed the bone collecting had been done by the owner, perhaps with the assistance of the hapless plumber. My job had been to determine if the remains were human.

They were.

That finding had generated the morning's second "damn."

My next task had been to determine whether anyone else lay in repose beneath the surface of the cellar. I'd started with three exploratory techniques.

Side lighting the floor with a flashlight beam had shown depressions in the dirt. Probing had located resistance below each depression, suggesting the presence of subsurface objects. Test trenching had produced human bones.

Bad news for a leisurely review of the Pétit file.

When I'd rendered my opinion, Claudel and Charbonneau had contributed to "damn"s three through five. A few quebecois expletives had been added for emphasis.

SIJ had been called. The crime scene unit routine had begun. Lights had been set up. Pictures had been taken. While Claudel and Charbonneau questioned the owner and his assistant, a ground penetrating radar unit had been dragged around the cellar. The GPR showed subsurface disturbances beginning four inches down in each depression. Otherwise, the basement was clean.

Claudel and his semiautomatic manned rat patrol while the SIJ techs took a break and I laid out two simple four-square grids. I was attaching the last string to the last stake when Claudel enjoyed his Rambo moment with the rats.

Now what? Wait for the SIJ techs to return?

Right.

Using SIJ equipment, I shot prints and video. Then I rubbed circulation into my hands, replaced my gloves, folded into a squat, and began troweling soil from square 1-A.

As I dug, I felt the usual crime scene rush. The quickened senses. The intense curiosity. What if it's nothing? What if it's something?

The anxiety.

What if I smash a critically important section to hell?

I thought of other excavations. Other deaths. A wannabe saint in a burned-out church. A decapitated teen at a biker crib. Bullet-riddled dopers in a streamside grave.

I don't know how long I'd been digging when the SIJ team returned, the taller of the two carrying a Styrofoam cup. I searched my memory for his name.

Root. Racine. Tall and thin like a root. The mnemonic worked.

René Racine. New guy. We'd processed a handful of scenes. His shorter counterpart was Pierre Gilbert. I'd known him a decade.

Sipping tepid coffee, I explained what I'd done in their absence. Then I asked Gilbert to film and haul dirt, Racine to screen.

Back to the grid.

When I'd taken square 1-A down three inches, I moved on to 1-B. Then 1-C and 1-D.

Nothing but dirt.

OK. The GPR showed a discrepancy beginning four inches below the surface.

I kept digging.

My fingers and toes numbed. My bone marrow chilled. I lost track of time.

Gilbert carried buckets of dirt from my grid to the screen. Racine sifted. Now and then Gilbert shot a pic. When all of grid one was down a level three inches, I went back to square 1-A. At a depth of six inches I shifted squares as I had before.

I'd taken two swipes at square 1-B when I noticed a change in soil color. I asked Gilbert to reposition a light.

One glance and my diastolic ratcheted up.

"Bingo."

Gilbert squatted by my side. Racine joined him.

"Quoi?" Gilbert asked. What?

I ran the tip of my trowel around the outer edge of the blob seeping into 1-B.

"The dirt's darker," Racine observed.

"Staining indicates decomposition," I explained.

Both techs looked at me.

I pointed to squares 1-C and 1-D. "Someone or something's going south under there."

"Alert Claudel?" Gilbert asked.

"Make his day."

Four hours later all my digits were ice. Though I'd tuqued my head and scarved my neck, I was shivering inside my one-hundred-percent-microporous-polyurethane-polymerized-coated-nylon-guaranteed-to-forty-below-Celsius Kanuk parka.

Gilbert was moving around the cellar, snapping and filming from various angles. Racine was watching, gloved hands thrust into his armpits for warmth. Both looked comfy in their arctic jumpsuits.

The two homicide cops, Claudel and Charbonneau, stood side by side, feet spread, hands clasped in front of their genitals. Each wore a black woolen overcoat and black leather gloves. Neither wore a happy face.

Eight dead rats adorned the base of the walls.

The plumber's pit and the two depressions were open to a depth of two feet. The former had yielded a few scattered bones left behind by the plumber and owner. The depression trenches were a different story.

The skeleton under grid one lay in a fetal curl. It was unclothed, and not a single artifact had turned up in the screen.

The individual under grid two had been bundled before burial. The parts we could see looked fully skeletal.

Flicking the last particles of dirt from the second burial, I set aside my paintbrush, stood, and stomped my feet to warm them.

"That a blanket?" Charbonneau's voice sounded husky from the cold.

"Looks more like leather," I said.

He jabbed a thumb at Dr. Energy's crate.

"This the rest of the dude in the box?"

Sergeant-détective Michel Charbonneau was born in Chicoutimi, six hours up the St. Lawrence from Montreal, in a region known as the Saguenay. Before entering the CUM, he'd spent several years working in the West Texas oil fields. Proud of his cowboy youth, Charbonneau always addressed me in my mother tongue. His English was good, though "de"s replaced "the"s, syllables were often inappropriately accented, and his phrasing used enough slang to fill a ten-gallon hat.

"Let's hope so."

"You hope so?" A small vapor cloud puffed from Claudel's mouth.

"Yes, Monsieur Claudel. I hope so."

Claudel's lips tucked in, but he said nothing.

When Gilbert finished shooting the bundled burial, I dropped to my knees and tugged at a corner of the leather. It tore.

Changing from my warm woolies to surgical gloves, I leaned in and began teasing free an edge, gingerly separating, lifting, then rolling the leather backward onto itself.

With the outer layer fully peeled to the left, I began on the inner. At places, fibers adhered to the skeleton. Hands shaking from cold and nervousness, I scalpeled rotten leather from underlying bone.

"What's that white stuff?" Racine asked.

"Adipocere."

"Adipocere," he repeated.

"Grave wax," I said, not in the mood for a chemistry lesson. "Fatty acids and calcium soaps from muscle or fat undergoing chemical changes, usually after long burial or immersion in water."

"Why's it not on the other skeleton?"

"I don't know."

I heard Claudel puff air through his lips. I ignored him.

Fifteen minutes later I'd detached the inner layer and laid back the shroud, fully exposing the skeleton.

Though damaged, the skull was clearly present.

"Three heads, three people." Charbonneau stated the obvious.

"Tabernouche," Claudel said.

"Damn," I said.

Gilbert and Racine remained mute.

"Any idea what we've got here, Doc?" Charbonneau asked.

I creaked to my feet. Eight eyes followed me to Dr. Energy's crate.

One by one I removed and observed the two pelvic halves, then the skull.

Crossing to the first trench, I knelt, extricated, and inspected the same skeletal elements.

Dear God.

Replacing those bones, I crawled to the second trench, leaned in, and studied the skull fragments.

No. Not again. The universal victims.

I teased free the right demi-pelvis.

Breath billowed in front of five faces.

Sitting back on my heels, I cleaned dirt from the pubic symphysis.

And felt something go cold in my chest.

Three women. Barely past girl.

Copyright © 2004 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/

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Monday Mourning (Temperance Brennan Series #7) 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 148 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished Monday Mourning and enjoyed this book very much.When you have the same people from previous books you more or less knw how they will react.I recommend this book highly.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ok
WaitingDC More than 1 year ago
I was only 50 pages into the book before I was thoroughly tired of Temperance's constant emotional trauma that she had to share with the reader in great detail. Perhaps this was meant to be character development. It might have been useful in a romance novel but not in a crime novel. The crime and the following investigation were somewhat interesting but not worthy of novel. This should have been a novella with the personal life left out.
SGW53 More than 1 year ago
This was the worst Kathy Reichs book I ever read. I could not understand her Tempe character and how she acted at all. It was boring and an effort to finish it. Horrible. Almost like it was written by someone else.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Go to zeph res 1
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tiger-100 More than 1 year ago
as I go through the series they get better and better. of course, Brennan does do some silly stuff and gets into trouble.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her books always keep me entertained.
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