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Reading, Living and Loving the Written Word…

Off the Shelf Challenge, Book One… January 17, 2011

Filed under: Books Read,Reviews — kellyg411 @ 7:19 pm

Just days ago I decided to participate in the “Off the Shelf” reading challenge for 2011, wherein I will endeavour to read more of the books that I already own, as opposed to only the new book that I buy or library books.  Thus far, the challenge has been a SMASHING SUCCESS! Yes, that is right, since I have announced my participation in the challenge, I’ve only read books that I own….er, mostly because I have only read 1 book in the 4 days since I started this.  Thus, I give you….

Off the Shelf Challenge, Book Uno….Death Du Jour by Kathy Reichs.

The cover of the book can be a *little* scary when you catch a glance of it in the middle of the night after staying up WAY too late reading about serial killers.  However, it was an excellent read, which will become apparent as you continue to read this review.

Description from Publishers Weekly:

Forensic anthropologist Temperance “Tempe” Brennan of the Laboratoire de Medicine Legale in Montreal makes a triumphant second appearance in Reichs’s powerful followup to her bestselling debut, Deja Dead. The novel opens atmospherically in a frigid church graveyard as Tempe labors to exhume the century-old remains of a nun so that the Church can posthumously declare her a saint. But the bones aren’t where they’re supposed to be according to the graveyard map, and there’s something suspicious about them when they do turn up. Tempe’s caseload multiplies as a house fire proves to be a horrific instance of arson and a university teaching assistant who’s recently joined a cult goes missing. The three seemingly individual events begin to braid together, as the doings with the doomsday cult draw Tempe to North Carolina. As in Deja Dead, Reichs, herself a forensic anthropologist, renders comprehensively and believably the cool, tense intelligence of her heroine. A North Carolina native who consults in Montreal only a few months of the year, Tempe still hasn’t acclimated to the bone-chilling Northern cold, and if she’s come to expect the misogynist attitudes of some of the Canadian officials, she still bristles at them. Also well presented are Tempe’s refreshing compassion in the face of relentless autopsies, her ability to describe a corpse with judiciously graphic detail and her penchant for revealing the art behind the science on such matters as the preservation of a corpse’s teeth. Reichs’s first novel, which won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel of 1997, was compared justifiably to the Kay Scarpetta novels of Patricia Cornwell. Soon, Cornwell’s novels may be compared to Reichs’s. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. Major ad/promo; author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title

My synopsis — This is the second book in the Dr. Temperance Brennan series.  I was first introduced to this character via Emily Deschanael and the TV show, Bones. The books, though, are completely different from the television series, so if you are worried about crossover, don’t. As expected in most mysteries, Tempe is confronted with multiple homicides within the first few chapters of the book.  Reichs adds in some spice, danger, cults, multi-national crime sprees, a nun dead more than 100 years, and the beginning of what I am hoping is a torrid love affair with a fellow police investigator in later books. Honestly, if I said anything more, I’d be giving away too much plot. So much of the enjoyment of this book was how everything unfolded and meshed together.

My biggest complaint about Reichs’ first book in the series, Deja Dead, was that she was far too heavy on the forensic and anthropological explanations of things (I’m talking pages upon pages, at times) and I found myself skimming those.  In this book, she seems to have reached a good compromise between including just the right amount of forensic information and anthropological history to enable the reader to follow where Tempe is going and how her mind is piecing together the evidence.

The story in this book also moved at a fast pace and kept me on the hook.  I stayed up way past my self-imposed bedtime on at least two occasions reading this book and trying to figure out what was going on.  I am definitely looking forward to reading the third book in the series, which I already own, and can include in the Off the Shelf Challenge.

If you are looking for a new mystery series, I highly suggest picking up a Kathy Reichs book and giving it a whirl. Her books are well-thought out and have compelling characters that keep you drawn in.

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