Flesh and Bone (Body Farm Series #2)

Flesh and Bone (Body Farm Series #2)

by Jefferson Bass

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Anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton founded Tennessee's world-famous Body Farm—a small piece of land where corpses are left to decay in order to gain important forensic information. Now, in the wake of a shocking crime in nearby Chattanooga, he's called upon by Jess Carter—the rising star of the state's medical examiners—to help her unravel a murderous puzzle. But afterre-creating the death scene at the Body Farm, Brockton discovers his career, reputation, and life are in dire jeopardy when a second, unexplained corpse appears in the grisly setting.

Accused of a horrific crime—transformed overnight from a respected professor to a hated and feared pariah—Bill Brockton will need every ounce of his formidable forensic skills to escape the ingeniously woven net that's tightening around him . . . and to prove the seemingly impossible: his own innocence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062277374
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/28/2013
Series: Body Farm Series , #2
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 128,982
Product dimensions: 4.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.20(d)

About 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.

Read an Excerpt

Flesh and Bone

Chapter One

The chain-link gate yowled like an angry tomcat in the watery light of dawn. Once my jaw unclenched, I made a mental note to bring grease for the hinges next time I came out to the Body Farm. Don't forget, I chided myself, just as I had each of the past half dozen times I'd mentally made and mislaid that same damn note.

It wasn't that my memory was failing, or so I liked to believe. It was just that every time I headed for the Anthropology Research Facility, as the University of Tennessee preferred to call the Body Farm, I had more interesting things on my mind than WD-40. Things like the experiment I was about to rig with the body in the pickup truck Miranda was backing toward the facility's gate.

It never ceased to amaze me, and to frustrate me, that the Body Farm remained the world's only research facility devoted to the systematic study of postmortem decomposition. As an imperfect human being, with failings and vanities, I did take a measure of pride in the uniqueness of my creation. As a forensic anthropologist, though—a "bone detective" who had branched out into seeking clues in decaying flesh as well—I looked forward to the day when our data on decomp rates in the moist, temperate climate of Tennessee could be compared with rates from similar research facilities in the low desert of Palm Springs, the high desert of Albuquerque, the rain forest of the Olympic Peninsula, or the alpine slopes of the Montana Rockies. But every time I thought a colleague in one of those ecosystems was on the verge of creating a counterpart to the Body Farm, the university in question would chicken out, and we wouldremain unique, isolated, and scientifically alone.

Over the past twenty-five years, my graduate students and I had staged hundreds of human bodies in various settings and scenarios to study their postmortem decay. Shallow graves, deep graves, watery graves, concrete-capped graves. Air-conditioned buildings, heated buildings, screened-in porches. Automobile trunks, backseats, travel trailers. Naked bodies, cotton-clad bodies, polyester-suited bodies, plastic-wrapped bodies. But I'd never thought to stage anything like the gruesome death scene Miranda and I were about to re-create for Jess Carter.

Jess—Dr. Jessamine Carter—was the medical examiner in Chattanooga. For the past six months she'd been the acting ME for Knoxville's Regional Forensic Center as well. She'd been promoted, if that's the right word, to this dual status by virtue of a spectacular screwup by our own ME, Dr. Garland Hamilton. During what no one but Hamilton himself would have described as an autopsy, he had so badly misdiagnosed a man's cause of death—describing a superficial accidental cut as a "fatal stab wound"—that an innocent bystander ended up charged with murder. When his mistake came to light, Hamilton was promptly relieved of his duties; now, he was about to be relieved of his medical license, if the licensing review board did its job right. Meanwhile, until a qualified replacement could be appointed, Jess was filling in, making the hundred-mile trek up I-75 from Chattanooga to Knoxville anytime an unexplained or violent death occurred in our neck of the Tennessee woods.

The commute wasn't as time-consuming for Jess as it would have been for me. Her Porsche Carrera—fire-engine red, fittingly enough—generally covered the hundred miles in fifty minutes or so. The first state trooper to pull her over had gotten a quick glimpse of her badge and a brisk talking-to about the urgency of her mission before she left him standing on the interstate's shoulder. The second unfortunate officer, a week later, got a verbal vivisection, followed by scorching cellphone calls to the highway patrol's district commander and state commissioner. She had not been stopped a third time.

Jess had phoned at six to say she'd be in Knoxville this morning, so unless she'd been called to a Chattanooga murder scene in the past half hour, the Carrera was streaking our way now, closing like a cruise missile. I hoped I could get the body in place by the time she hit Knoxville.' As Miranda eased the UT pickup toward the fence, the backup lights helped me fit the key into the padlock on the inner gate. The inner gate was part of an eight-foot wooden privacy fence, erected to deter marauding coyotes and squeamish humans—or voyeuristic ones. Originally we'd had only the chain-link fence, but after a couple of years, a few complaints, and a handful of thrill seekers, we topped the chain-link with barbed wire and lined the entire half-mile perimeter with the wooden barrier. It was still possible for nimble critters and determined people to climb in or see over, but it took some doing.'

The padlock securing the wooden gate sprang open with a satisfying click. I unhooked one end of the chain from the shackle and began walking the gate inward. As the opening widened, the chain began snaking into the hole bored near the gate's edge, like some metallic noodle being slurped up with clattering gusto. Sucked into the maw of death, I thought. Is that a mixed metaphor, or just a nasty image best kept to myself?

As I held the wooden gate open, Miranda threaded the narrow opening with ease, as if she made deliveries to death's service entrance on a daily basis. She practically did. For the past three years, thanks to a spate of television documentaries and the popularity of CSI—a show I'd watched only one incredulous time—we were swamped with donated bodies, and the waiting list (as I called the ranks of the living who had promised us their bodies eventually) now numbered nearly a thousand. We'd soon be running out of room; already, in fact, it was hard to take a step without stumbling over a body or stepping on a patch of greasy ground where a corpse had recently decomposed.

Flesh and Bone. Copyright © by Jefferson Bass. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Flesh and Bone 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 495 reviews.
Rodney Lazenby More than 1 year ago
I read the first book of "The Body Farm" series and thought it was great. I did't hesitate to purchase the second in the series, unfortunately I was very disappointed in it. The writer is extremely liberal even to the point of at one polnt having one of the characters state that when a white man was murdered by a group of black men that they wished it had been a black man attacked by white guys because it would look better. At another he openly ridicules a student who believe in the creation of man by God versus his characters belief in evolution. People are free to believe as they choose but I will not financially support someone who uses this way of pushing his politics on others. I realize the loss of my few dollars won't matter to these people but it mattered to me. It's a pity too because this series seemed to be good.
Demert More than 1 year ago
I have only read two of the Body Farm Novels but I must say I am hooked. The great detail into the forensics is riviting. I love the character Dr. Bill Brockton and can't wait to go out and catch up on the rest of the Body Farm Novels. Well done guys!!
CriticFromOz More than 1 year ago
I am a forensic anthropology fan. I have read Deaths Acre book by Bill Bass, along with a few other non-fiction novels pertaining to Forensic Anthropology. I decided to give this book a try due to Bass having influence on it. What I do not like about the book is they focus too much on detail when it comes to Knoxville area, during car rides it goes on for paragraphs about the different road he turns on. I am from Knoxville, and it gets really old reading about the area... He spends more time on this book detailing Knoxville than any of the forensic parts. You learn to skim through most of it. Other than that the books characters and story are very likeable. The last half of the book is the best part the first half just feels like a waste of time. This was my first one I have read I will read his first fiction called Carved in bone and see how that goes.
gwood79336 More than 1 year ago
I read all four of the books in the series and I enjoyed them all. They were very well written and did not want to stop reading them once I started. I loved the relationship between Dr Brockton and his graduate student Miranda Lovelady, as teacher & student, father & daughter and something a little crush. These books cover all of your emotion; there is love and loss, happiness and sorrow, and the fear of the unknown. There is never a dull moment in this series you will not regret getting all four books. The books left me want more; I wish there had been more books in the series.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'll admit that these authors first passion in life isn't novel writing, but they have written them for one good reason: people have hounded them for years to do it. The body farm novels have great stories. I love the detail put into them. Best of all, they have great characters. And although they are just getting started in their novel careers, you will see incredible improvement in writing quality in this book. I can't wait to read The Devil's Bones this weekend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Will be more careful selecting Jefferson Bass in the future. Did not care for all the miscellaneous information that had little to do with the plot. Killer was somewhat of a surprise.
bad_beckie More than 1 year ago
Could not put it down! I did not like how it took 3 pages to describe a road, but the plot made up for it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am finding that I love the Body Farm series. I have always been intrigued with anthropology and forensics. To get both in one book with great characters and a great story line makes for a can't put down book. I am ready to get started on the next one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This author provided way too much detail regarding locations and roads. I really do not understand why it took him two pages. These descriptions did not enhance the book in any way. I found it to be tedious and boring. I also got tired of the author promoting his liberal agenda. I wanted to read a great mystery, such as the first book in the series. This book was not great in any manner. Total waste of time.
Titanium13 More than 1 year ago
I loved Carved in Bone. Nice mix of foresics, relationships, story, etc. I found it hard getting through this book. Very little forensics...way too much time on relationships and other mindless drama. I skipped sections numerous times. I just don't think 2 pages to describe a local highway system and surrounding buildings is great fiction. This one felt out of balance for me. I'll try the next book, but if it's so-so like this one, I'm done with the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not interested in reading about the author heaping scorn on religious beliefs when I choose what I believe is a murder mystery. Neither do i want to read his views about race issues. Just write a mystery novel, Jefferson. I won't be reading it, however. Fooled me once...
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
This was another good read in the series, although I didn't like it as well as I did CARVED IN BONE. I'm still enjoying the character of Dr. Bill Brockton, based on the author, but this second installment didn't hold my interest as thoroughly as the first title did.

That being said, though, there is a major shake-up in the plot with this one, and overall it's a good read. It just took me quite a lot longer to get through it than I had expected.

We'll see how the third one goes!
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
The story itself was quite good although I knew who the murder was about half way though the book. Nice mix of crime and Dr. Bill's personal life. What was disappointing for me were the constant editing errors of some words such as tonight, panties, pleasure, etc. These words were written as to night, pan ties and plea sure each and every time. You would think that in the final editing review, these things would have been corrected.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book...Overall good story......way too many(longwinded) descriptions of the surroundings ...hard to even remember what you're reading about at times because it goes off on such a tangent about things that aren't even relevant to the story...parts of the book were like reading a Come See Tennessee brochure...
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed this book, it kept me guessing until the last minute.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I do not know how I missed the 1st book by this author, but after finishing #2 I am off looking for #1. A great read and I sure did NOT see that ending coming!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A little slow to start, and i agree with the other reviewers who mentioned some descriptions went on waytoo long. I was shocked to see how many people complained about a liberal agenda, i did not see that at all. Actually, the chatacter spends much of the book acknowledging that other people have different beliefs that thay are entitled to. How ironic that the opposing view doesnt give him the same respect. And how scary that in the 21st century so many people still think that faith and science are mutually exclusive. Anyway if you like patricia cornwell you will probably like this!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really good book. Kept my attention throughout. Ending was a big surprise! Loved the cast of characters and how they meshed. Highly recommend.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is such a great read. I have read a lot of them and each one is fun to read.
beach4meOC More than 1 year ago
Exciting and riviting story. Definitely worth reading this entireseries
numb3rsgirl More than 1 year ago
I love all the books in this series. They are very well written forensic mysteries. If you love CSI, Bones, or any of the other "dead-body" tv shows, you will love this series of books!!
tikka1911 More than 1 year ago
I read the first book by Jefferson Bass, "Craved in Bone" which I could not put down. This was not quite as good but it definitely a very good read. I would recommend this as a very good read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had never read this type of novel before and now I am hooked. It was hard to put it down. I loved the forensics portion. I am looking forward to reading future Body Farm novels.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I couldn't read this book. Having read 'The Body Farm' by it's founder Dr. Bass, this story smacked too much like his life and one of his cases he mentions in his book, that this read is just too repetitive.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Most interesting read. Thoroughly enjoyed the book and will look for more by the writing team!