Monday, 9 June 2014

Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs

This is the first Kathy Reichs I've read, and, well, I didn't hate it. (Unlike the Patricia Cornwell I read last year.) But neither am I really grabbed by it. Will I read more? Only time will tell, and whether or not one of my lists coughs up one for me to read. I certainly won't avoid it, but I know there's at least one mystery writer writing forensic anthropology mysteries that my mother likes more. Maybe I'll search him out.

Also, I watched the first two episodes of Bones and hated, hated, hated them, so that might explain why I avoided these for so long. I knew the books were probably better than the show, but the association lingered. I've also been told the show got better, but I've never gotten back to it.

Temperance Brennan is doing her thing with a drowned body in Quebec when the fingerprints throw up an American, long dead in Vietnam. So she is requested to go and disinter the recovered remains of that vet from his family cemetery. And then she is requested to go to Hawaii. This requesting go on a lot? While interesting, it did leave the story feeling a little fractured - oh yeah, there was this story back HERE we haven't talked about in a while.

So she goes to Hawaii where the task force for finding American military remains and repatriating them resides. And where she used to work. And there, she finds more relevant bodies than you can shake a stick at, and some surprising DNA matches and lack of matches.

I'm all for unlikely medical twists, but there were two in this book, which feels like one too many. When you have two conditions or events, for each of which there are only one or two recorded precedents, including both does strain credulity.

It also puts this book into the category of pulling out left-field information to solve the murder, something the reader could not possibly have guessed. I don't have a huge problem with that, but I do tend to classify such books mentally as thrillers, rather than mysteries. (I'm looking at you, James Patterson!) But this book has enough actual mystery, and a few bits where I could speculate on what had happened, to keep it in the mystery camp.

The family drama was fine, but didn't add a ton to the story - it felt like it would be largely the same story without it as with it. But as a mystery, this was fine, if not great. I doubt it will linger in my memory for long, but I never got angry with it.

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