Spider Bones (Tempe Brennan #13) by Kathy Reichs
Publisher: Pocket Books (Simon and Schuster/July 2011)
Temperance Brennan Series
Kathy Reichs—#1 New York Times bestselling author and producer of the FOX television hit Bones—returns with the thirteenth riveting novel featuring forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan. John Lowery was declared dead in 1968—the victim of a Huey crash in Vietnam, his body buried long ago in North Carolina. Four decades later, Temperance Brennan is called to the scene of a drowning in Hemmingford, Quebec. The victim appears to have died while in the midst of a bizarre sexual practice. The corpse is later identified as John Lowery. But how could Lowery have died twice, and how did an American soldier end up in Canada? Tempe sets off for the answer, exhuming Lowery’s grave in North Carolina and taking the remains to Hawaii for reanalysis—to the headquarters of JPAC, the U.S. military’s Joint POW/ MIA Accounting Command, which strives to recover Americans who have died in past conflicts. In Hawaii, Tempe is joined by her colleague and ex-lover Detective Andrew Ryan (how “ex” is he?) and by her daughter, who is recovering from her own tragic loss. Soon another set of remains is located, with Lowery’s dog tags tangled among them. Three bodies—all identified as Lowery. And then Tempe is contacted by Hadley Perry, Honolulu’s flamboyant medical examiner, who needs help identifying the remains of an adolescent boy found offshore. Was he the victim of a shark attack? Or something much more sinister?
I’ve been a fan of this series for a while now, and was so excited when Spider Bones hit the shelves! This one starts off rather luridly (fascinatingly so), with a body being discovered submerged in water, wrapped in plastic, with a rock tied to his ankle. Turns out it’s a weird sexual practice gone wrong, and kicks off a case that will turn Tempe Brennan in circles, and take her all the way to Hawaii for an investigation into missing Vietnam vets and Hawaiian gangs. On the personal front, she’s been on the outs with Detective Andrew Ryan for awhile, after he abandoned her to get back with the mother of his teenaged duaghter, who’s also a heroin addict. Ryan isn’t involved with her anymore, and is looking to get back in Tempe’s good graces, but she’s not so sure she’s ready for that. In Hawaii, she finds herself not only embroiled in a labyrinthine investigation, but also playing host to her 24 year old daughter, who’s recently suffered a loss, Andrew Ryan and his daughter (and the two girls do not get along.)
Tempe is her usual dry witted self, and I always enjoy her narration. These books are always fascinating, and this one didn’t fail on that front either. If DNA interests you, you’ll be riveted, and it was a thrill to see how all of the pieces fit together in the end. Kathy Reichs always throws some nice twists in, and manages to seamlessly weave Tempe’s personal life in with the riveting cases she manages to get involved in. If you like Patricia Cornwell’s Kay Scarpetta series, you’ll love this series as well!
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