Cold, Cold Bones (Tempe Brennan #21), by Kathy Reichs

Eight stars

It is always an adventure when Kathy Reichs is at the helm of another novel. A mix of thrilling adventure and forensic science await the reader, who is never quite sure what is around the corner. This twenty-first novel in the series is strong and keeps the reader guessing, providing proof that Reichs is back and ready to keep the quality high. Straddling both past and present, the story keeps the reader engaged until the very end, as things finally come together. Another great piece by Reichs, who has shown that she’s not afraid to take risks.

While snowy weather is not common, it does happen around Charlotte. Dr. Temperence ‘Tempe’ Brennan is prepared, as she spends a great deal of her time up in Montreal, one of Canada;s largest cities. Still, it’s an adventure, as those around her try to cope, including Tempe’s daughter, Katy. As the two prepare for a nicer meal at home after Katy has returned to civilian life from a stint in the military, their tranquility is broken by the sight of a box on the porch step, which contains a recently removed eyeball.

Baffled as to what the eyeball means, Tempe reports it to the police and her colleagues at the morgue, only to be rattled again when she is sent to investigate a mummified body that is eerily similar to a case from her past.

More cases pile up and Tempe cannot shake the parallels to files from her past work in Charlotte and across Canada.

While she tries to piece the present and past cases together, Tempe’s forced to come to terms with a more personal issue when Katy does missing after volunteering at a men’s shelter. Worried and sure that someone is watching her, Tempe tries to remain one step ahead, while worried that Katy may have fallen prey to this copycat killer. Who is next on the list and how will Dr. Brennan be able to guess what awaits her? All the while, Katy’s disappearance eats away at Tempe, who cannot fathom the loss. Reichs dazzles in this piece, while keeping the forensics high and the twists plentiful.

Novels of revenge can be wonderful, as long as their basis is grounded in something the reader can understand . Kathy Reichs uses her great abilities, not only with forensic anthropology, but also writing, to keep the reader engaged and on the edge of their seats. While she waned for a while in her publications, this is a return to some of the stellar pieces I began in the early part of the series. There is something for everyone and great asides, which serve to humour and educate the reader in equal measure. Reichs packs a punch and keeps the reader guessing until the end, when she brings it all together, as any great thriller writer would.

I remember discovering Kathy Reichs and her writing many years ago, bingeing the early novels in this series, so as to discover how forensic anthropology might be a worthy angle of investigating crimes. Now a full-fledged fan, I am always eager when Kathy Reichs publishes a new piece, hoping that it will pack as much of a thrill ride as some of the early novels. With a great narrative and stellar pacing, the story begins well and keeps getting better. Solid characters, some of whom are regular faces for series fans, keep the piece moving and add needed flavouring when things demand it. Twists are plentiful, as are moments of pure education, so the reader can better understand what is happening before them. Reichs’ own work as a forensic anthropologist is highlighted throughout, as is her passion for both Charlotte and Montreal. Those eager to find a series that will take the reader on a ride need look no further, though do not expect anything superficial, as this is a hefty topic!

Kudos, Madam Reichs, for keeping your fans appeased and penning a great novel. Where are you headed next it’s Tempe and those who surround her?