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The Inquisitor's Key (Body Farm Series #7)

The Inquisitor's Key (Body Farm Series #7)

3.7 62
by Jefferson Bass

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The most riveting and ambitious novel to date in Jefferson Bass’ New York Times bestselling Body Farm mystery series, The Inquisitor’s Key takes forensic investigator Dr. Bill Brockton to Avignon, France, and embroils him in a deadly religious mystery that could shake the Vatican itself to its very foundations.  Another sterling


The most riveting and ambitious novel to date in Jefferson Bass’ New York Times bestselling Body Farm mystery series, The Inquisitor’s Key takes forensic investigator Dr. Bill Brockton to Avignon, France, and embroils him in a deadly religious mystery that could shake the Vatican itself to its very foundations.  Another sterling crime novel in the vein of Patricia Cornwell, Kathy Reichs, and Karin Slaughter, as well as TV’s C.S.I., The Inquisitor’s Key adds a touch of James Rollins and The Da Vinci Code to the typically acclaimed Jefferson Bass mix of suspense, surprise, and finely detailed forensic investigation.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Dr. Bill Brockton too often acts like a cookie-cutter action hero in the pseudonymous Bass’s seventh novel featuring the Tennessee bone expert (after 2011’s The Bone Yard), an awkward blend of a conspiratorial religious thriller and a forensic procedural. Brockton drops his work on a dead undercover DEA agent to rush to France after hearing that his assistant and budding love interest, Miranda Lovelady, is about to be operated on. To his surprise, and to the detriment of some plausibility, he learns on arrival that the message was a hoax to bring him to Europe to tackle the mother of all forensic anthropological exams—determining whether a skeleton is, in fact, that of Jesus Christ himself. While Brockton’s exam and his related analysis of the evidence concerning the provenance of the Shroud of Turin fascinate, a mélange of assassination attempts and hostage-taking distracts from the science. Bass is the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass, a forensic anthropologist, and journalist Jon Jefferson. Agent: Giles Anderson, Anderson Literary Agency.(May)
USA Today
“Carved in Bone has a unique corpse, solid science, quirky humor and a loveable protagonist. That a novel like this can be described as charming is a tribute to the team that created some very human, down-to-earth characters.”
“This series . . . just keeps getting better. [Bones of Betrayal] features both the most compelling story and the best portrayal yet of Brockton, who has completed the transition from fictional representation of coauthor Bass to fully realized protagonist.”
Charlotte Observer
“A superb mystery novel—well-plotted, filled with memorable characters, based on accurate forensic science and written with more flair and literary sensibility than anything by John Grisham. The novel, in fact, is in Cornwell’s league, high praise indeed.”
Charlotte Observer on The Devil's Bones
“A superb mystery novel—well-plotted, filled with memorable characters, based on accurate forensic science and written with more flair and literary sensibility than anything by John Grisham. The novel, in fact, is in Cornwell’s league, high praise indeed.”
Katherine Ramsland
“The Sherlock Holmes for bones has arrived. . . . A privileged glimpse into the world of a ground-breaking pioneer.”
Kirkus Reviews
Can the ancient bones discovered in a stone chest in Avignon, France, possibly be the remains of Jesus of Nazareth? Urgently summoned from the scene of a more mundane horrible killing in Tennessee to find out, forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton investigates with the Vatican and a religious zealot bearing down on him. The latest installment in the Body Farm series (Carved in Bone, 2006, etc.) explores the mysteries surrounding the Shroud of Turin. Brockton and Miranda Lovelady, his protégé and the object of his unstated romantic desires, determine from a forensic reconstruction of its face that the ancient skull may indeed have been the basis for the faded image on the Shroud. When lab tests on a tooth from the skull reveal the bones are 2,000 years old, all bets are on. The investigation takes Brockton and Miranda from France to Italy to Switzerland, each stop more dangerous than the last. Their French associate, Stefan, who has a thing for Miranda himself, has hidden motives. René Descartes, the French investigator who arrives on the scene after a gruesome murder (he claims to be a descendent of the philosopher), proves to be untrustworthy. And a madman calling himself Reverend Jonah kidnaps Miranda. Bass (the team of noted forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Bass and science writer Jon Jefferson) is a solid storyteller who inspires credibility with scientific expertise. The book also reveals a keen interest in art and history in scenes set in 14th century Avignon, where intrigue surrounds the painter Simone Martini's discovery of Christ's remains, which were hidden by Pope Benedict, and the death portrait of Jesus he commits to a piece of fabric. But as competent as this book is, it lacks the swirling dramatic intensity of The Da Vinci Code, which Brockton mentions in passing, and the suspense is less than gripping. This novel isn't better than average as a thriller, but it provides plenty of food for thought about religious artifacts and their role in people's lives.

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Body Farm Series , #7
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File size:
3 MB


What People are Saying About This

Katherine Ramsland
“The Sherlock Holmes for bones has arrived. . . . A privileged glimpse into the world of a ground-breaking pioneer.”

Meet the Author

Jefferson Bass is the writing team of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass. Dr. Bass, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, is the creator of the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility, widely known as the Body Farm. He is the author or coauthor of more than two hundred scientific publications, as well as a critically acclaimed memoir about his career at the Body Farm, Death's Acre. Dr. Bass is also a dedicated teacher, honored as U.S. Professor of the Year by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. Jon Jefferson is a veteran journalist, writer, and documentary filmmaker. His writings have been published in the New York Times, Newsweek, USA Today, and Popular Science and broadcast on National Public Radio. The coauthor of Death's Acre, he is also the writer and producer of two highly rated National Geographic documentaries about the Body Farm.

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The Inquisitor's Key 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 62 reviews.
ABookAWeekES More than 1 year ago
It is no secret that the ancient Catholic Church saw years of corrupt leaders, cover-ups and conspiracies. For modern mystery and thriller authors, this storied past has provided inspiration for countless gripping tales. In The Inquisitor's Key, the latest installment in the Body Farm series by duo author Jefferson Bass, the past of the church mixes with present day themes to form a unique take on the modern thriller. Dr. Bill Brockton is no stranger to death. He works at the Body Farm, a Tennessee based institution devoted to the study of the human anatomy, and serves as a consultant on murder cases, providing his expert analyses of human remains. As he comes to the latest crime scene, where the burned remains of a presumed drug runner lie, he can't help but miss the companionship of his usual assistant/student Miranda Lovelady, who is assisting with an excavation in Avignon, France. As he begins to study the charred remains, he notices that gas is still leaking. With barely enough time to react, the building is enveloped in flames, and Brockton narrowly escapes the same death as the poor soul he was meant to be examining. It is all but apparent that whoever created this crime scene intends for Brockton to be his next victim. On top of this, Brockton is summoned by Miranda to come to France to assist with the excavation. When he arrives to the site, The Palace of Popes, he is faced with an extremely puzzling case. The bones that have been discovered in a subterranean chamber contain wounds that resemble those depicted in the story of the crucifixion of Jesus of Nazareth. Despite being skeptical of this, evidence points that the age of the bones are from the same time period as the life of Christ. When a composite reconstruction from the skull eerily matches the shadowy face engrained in the Shroud of Turin, said to be the burial cloth of Christ, Brockton and Miranda become caught in an international war for the ownership of the remains. Although the sub-genre of "religious thrillers" has grown in recent years (thanks in large part to the best-selling DaVinci Code), few novels have managed to come up with a truly original story. The Inquisitor's Key finds the perfect balance between historical fact, intriguing speculation, and compelling characters. Altogether, these elements make a highly entertaining, original thriller. Even in the historical flashbacks, the authors managed to maintain the quick pace and accessible language of the "present day" sections, avoiding the pitfalls that many "historical fiction" authors find themselves in. The relationship between Brockton and Miranda comes off as completely genuine, and even the less important characters are written with enough sincerity to keep them from becoming one-dimensional. Overall, I found this novel impossible to put down and enjoyed the story to the very end. Although this was my first encounter with the Body Farm series, I was immediately drawn to the characters and their story. I highly recommend this novel to all fans of mysteries, thrillers, and historically speculative fiction.
Twink More than 1 year ago
actaully written by two authors - Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass. Bass is the founder of the Body Farm - a ground breaking forensic anthropology site. The crime novels from this pair have always had the ring of truth and excellent detail behind them. In the seventh and latest offering, The Inquisitor's Key, protagonist Dr. Bill Brockton (who is a forensic anthropologist, of course) heads to Avignon, France. His young assitant Miranda Lovelady has been working on a dig that has uncovered bones that may be of unimaginable importance and they need his expertise. I really like this series, but have to honestly say that this book fell flat for me. The plot is nothing new and brings to mind a Dan Brown or Steve Berry novel. The history presented was interesting and well researched, though. But it just stretched the imagination a little too far - the Vatican is after the bones as well as American zealots bent on using the bones' DNA to bring about The Second Coming. I just found it a stretch that a prof from Tennessee would be involved in something like this. The authors have always tried to insert a love interest for Dr. Bill. (They don't seem to last long) Dr. Bill has now turned his attention to his assistant Miranda. Insert ick factor here - this just doesn't work for me. The audio version of the book is read by Tom Stechschulte, who has a wonderful voice. It's very rich and expressive and does bring to mind the mental image I've created of Dr. Bill. But, his French accent wasn't the best and by the end was really quite annoying. Really, all I want or expect from Dr. Bill is a good ole down home who dunnit. This one was just too far removed from the roots.
Demert More than 1 year ago
I have LOVED all the Body Farm novels but this one is my least favorite. It is a good read but a little confusing the way it jumps from past to present.
andre40 More than 1 year ago
Loved the other books but this one was too much history and jumped around between 6 centuries.....stopped reading after 175 pages
Heart2Heart More than 1 year ago
What would you consider the greatest archaeological find? The cup of Jesus from the last supper, the nails from His crucifixion? The crown of thorns from his head? The true Ark of the Covenant? What if you discovered what appeared to be the actual bones from Jesus Christ? How would that impact the world if proof could be given, that they were real? What if they actually held supernatural powers? Such is the premise behind the latest novel from Jefferson Bass, The Inquisitor's Key, when a trio of experts, Dr. Bill Brockton, a forensic anthropologist, Miranda Lovejoy, his assistant, and Stefan Beauvoir, a colleague of Miranda's happen upon a discovery beneath the Palace of the Popes in Avignon, France and uncover what appears to be the bones of what could be Jesus Christ. The identifying marks on the wrist bones, ankles and ribs appear to coincide with what we know of his death. What would the impact be on the world if in fact these could be proven to be genuine? What would some people do to ensure that this discovery remains buried beneath the earth? This is the 7th novel in the Body Farm series and a first for me when I read this one. The story line toggles between present time and in the 14th century as the reader begins to unravel clues to determine what relevance this new find of buried bones will do for the world. Could it be that a great hoax has been created as a way to move forward certain religious teachings? What would the implications be if this was discovered and shared with the world? I guess you'll have to pick up this novel and find out for yourself. I received The Inquisitor's Key compliments of William Morrow, a division of Harper Collins Publishers for my honest review. Being a huge history fan as well as a follower of Jesus, I had mixed interests in seeing where this one might be headed, but it does cause you to wonder just what makes us believe certain artifacts may be real or have some been a huge lie all along. I was interested in where this was headed and some points of the novel drag on a bit without an apparent reason for the delay. However, if you can endure this one to the end, I don't think you'll be disappointed. I think the author researches their history well and this book is really geared for that fan base over a mystery genre. I would rate this one a 3.5 out of 5 stars and really kept me guessing along with the characters just what they would ultimately discover in the end.
sgt358 More than 1 year ago
Read all of Jefferson Bass books, enjoyed every one. The Inquisitor's Key was excellent a little different from the others, a little history was involved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This series is about the "Body Farm" at the University of Tennessee. Where the study of decomposed bodies is done to assist law enforcement and coroners solve crimes and with identification. Very well written and addictive I hope you enjoy reading this series as much as I have.
ChickenSS More than 1 year ago
Entertaining and full of mystery and intrigue. I could borough it down.
ngs723 More than 1 year ago
A very well thought out and well written book. Not the usual types of things Dr. Brockton gets into! A very interesting take on the Shroud of Turin and other things. A definite thumbs up.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Can't wait for the next one!
trishcTN More than 1 year ago
love all the other books. very, very disappointed with this one. too much back and forth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all his books and they are great. This one.....not even near as good. I could not even finish it. Too bad i did not read the free chapters befor i bought it or i would not have.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the characters. Story moves fast. Good plot. Can't wait for more.
KaYe_BO More than 1 year ago
This book brings the Bone Detective, Dr. Bill Brockton, across the globe! He is involved in a controversial quest to determine whether the bones in France belong to none other than Jesus Christ himself. You would think that there would be a major conflict of religious organizations here, but the characters are well-balanced and used very effectively. I love this new addition to The Body Farm Novels! I know you will too! Don't miss this great book, it is a MUST read!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wow. Just wow! Don't see how you will ever top this one.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Real page turner!!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book in the series as it was very different than all the previous books. However, the jumping back and forth between medieval and modern times was distracting.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love his books
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this series. Something surprising happens in every novel. I have bought them all and will continue to do so. You won't be disappointed. Even the one with so-so reviews was one of my favorites. Enjoy