This seventh book in Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series was an exciting one! These books can be a bit “hit and miss”, but I definitely enjoyed this installment.
Temperance Brennan is in Montreal, Québec for the whole novel, which is not always the way. I rather liked the description of a Montreal winter, as it made me feel that our winter is nothing to worry about! While I was reading under a blanket, Reichs describes how they can hardly breathe for the cold, and have to dig out their cars.
At the beginning of the story, Dr Temperance Brennan is in a cellar under a pizza shop, along with some rats and some skeletal remains. The initial suspicion is that the bones are old and therefore not urgent. However, Temperance has a gut feeling that these discarded young women’s bones are more important than the dismissive Detective Claudel will believe. She keeps thinking about her own daughter, Katy, who is at college and having her own life now, and thinks that she could not imagine what it would be like for a daughter to go missing and to never find out what happened to her. She feels she owes it to the families to find out what happened to the deceased.
Meanwhile, Temperance also receives disturbing phonecalls from an elderly lady claiming to know something about the building in which cellar the bodies were found. Temperance always seems to miss the lady, hearing only messages. There does not seem to be a novel in this series where Temperance does not receive weird phonecalls, have somebody enter her home or threaten her, and in the end her search for answers gets her into trouble and she has to be rescued.
I was happy to see a friend of Temperance’s arrive to stay for a while, because it seems that she does not much but work and could use some friend time. We also see the love interest Detective Andrew Ryan return to the scene, but Temperance has doubts about a lady he has been spotted with. I like the pace at which hers and Ryan’s relationship is going. I think there were some fast moves and she was hurt, and now she’s being careful and mature.
Last but not least, we had the reappearance of Birdie, Temperance’s cat. I was pretty sure he was just living in Charlotte and Tempe’s ex-husband would go round and feed him, but now he lives in her apartment in Montreal. I kept thinking about how she fed him regularly, as she seems to keep such odd hours. I love how Reichs keeps mentioning him when the scene is in Tempe’s home; it feels like Reichs is a cat- or animal-lover. She mentions things like him rubbing against people’s legs or watching her eat, which added to the realism.
I have found that some of the previous books in this series tested my patience and the stories got stupid or Tempe did silly things. However, this book felt much more mature and considered. Perhaps by the seventh book Reichs’ writing has matured. I felt Tempe less petulant and obsessive, and I really liked the subject matter of kidnapping girls, looking back in time for clues, and some interesting scientific details/processes/people that help with the investigation.
Overall, a good, solid, four-star read. I will definitely be continuing with the series - probably until the end! I’ve never read a book in this series which left me not wanting to continue reading about the world of Tempe and the other investigators. Here’s hoping the next case is just as interesting.
This review was submitted by guest blogger Jemma.