#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with her twentieth gripping novel featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, whose examinations, fifteen years apart, of unidentified bodies ignite a terrifying series of events.
On the way to hurricane-ravaged Isle of Palms, a barrier island off the South Carolina coast, Tempe receives a call from the Charleston coroner. The storm has tossed ashore a medical waste container. Inside are two decomposed bodies wrapped in plastic sheeting and bound with electrical wire. Tempe recognizes many of the details as identical to those of an unsolved case she handled in Quebec years earlier. With a growing sense of foreboding, she travels to Montreal to gather evidence.
Meanwhile, health authorities in South Carolina become increasingly alarmed as a human flesh-eating contagion spreads. So focused is Tempe on identifying the container victims that, initially, she doesn’t register how their murders and the pestilence may be related. But she does recognize one unsettling fact. Someone is protecting a dark secret—and willing to do anything to keep it hidden.
An absorbing look at the sinister uses to which genetics can be put, and featuring a cascade of ever-more-shocking revelations, The Bone Code is Temperance Brennan’s most astonishing case yet—one that gives new meaning to today’s headlines.
The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs is the quintessential page-turner with disturbingly timely topics.
I loved the pace of this novel. With short sentences, a good deal of natural dialogue, and relatively short chapters, the pages fly by at a good clip. Even though I was not familiar with many medical terms, this did not slow the story down. Enough information is provided that I easily felt I could keep moving without pausing to look anything up or understand it better. The only technique that I am still unsure of is leaving each chapter with a cliffhanger. It annoyed me at first, though I became more used to it as the book went along.
I had never read a Temperance Brennan mystery before this one, though I thought about it many times as I was a big fan of the tv series Bones. I found the Temperance Brennan character in the novel to be much more relatable than the screen version. They are so different. It is like two different characters that happen to share a name and profession. Andrew Ryan, her significant other, is much more like his TV counterpart Booth personality-wise, even though the names are different, locations are different, and the specifics of their careers are different. I like both versions of Tempy, though for vastly different reasons.
I also loved the setting, as Brennan works in Charlotte, NC (right in my backyard, so to speak), and she investigated a crime in Isle of Palms, South Carolina, which is not far from where I vacation every summer. This familiarity just pulled me right in. The third setting in the book is Montreal which I am not as familiar with, so I enjoyed learning more about Canada.
The book refers to the Covid pandemic, and one of the interesting hang-ups in Brennan’s case is that the law enforcement and forensics are dealing with a strange outbreak of a disease that can only be passed from pets to humans and is very rare. Because they are so busy trying to control the disease, they cannot process Brennan’s findings promptly as she would like. This all brings the story right into our time and makes it feel that more believable.
To Read or Not to Read
The Bone Code is a great thriller to enjoy this summer whether you are new to the series, as I am, have been a long-time fan, or have not picked up one of the books in this series for a while. It works very well as a standalone novel or as the newest piece in the series’ puzzle.