Conspiracy of Bones (Temperance Brennan #19), by Kathy Reichs

Eight stars

First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Kathy Reichs, and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

After a long wait, Kathy Reichs is back from her hiatus with a new and exciting novel in the Temperance Brennan series. Fans will be happy to have the forensic anthropologist back, whose grit and gumption are even more heightened. After suffering a brain aneurysm that required surgical intervention, Temperance is on the mend and trying to find her feet. She is still contracted to work both in Montreal and Charlotte, but has not been working much. At home in Charlotte, Temperance has horrible dreams and witnesses a mysterious man along her property, but there is no one there when she makes her way outside. A week later, an odd text message arrives, with photos of a body, without head or limbs. Trying to get herself on the case, her new boss shuns her and demands that she stay away. They have a history, one in which Temperance has no doubt has led her her being ostracized. Deciding to do a little rogue work, Temperance works alongside an old colleague and discovers some odd pieces of evidence, including cryptic writing on some paper that includes her phone number. The case takes an odd twist as Temperance seeks to find out who the body was in those text photos, and where the body might have been found. Working as best she can, Temperance finds herself delving down into the dark web to find answers that may help. Her explorations lead to many conspiracy theories, as well as a few twists that could tie into a few missing children from years ago. Armed with her determination and pieces of the puzzle slowing coming together, Temperance uses her deductive reasoning to determine that there are some bad people on the loose, seeking to silence her before the aneurysm can do the same. A great new thriller in this captivating series, sure to impress readers as they find themselves in the middle of this intense novel. Recommended to those who love Reichs’ forensic anthropology stories, as well as the reader who wants something a little more mentally challenging in their mysteries.

I have been following Kathy Reichs through the Temperance Brennan series since the debut novel. While the books differ greatly from their television show spin-off, Reichs is able to present forensic anthropology in such a way that it is both entertaining and informative. As Reichs as readily admitted, she sometimes mirrors Brennan in her own experiences, which left me to wonder if the recent aneurysm development for the protagonist might explain why the delayed release of this book by two years might also be related to a similar medical issue. Brennan works through this medical hurdle effectively, showing off her rebellious side with increased intensity. Still sharp when it comes to solving mysteries, Brennan uses what tools she can to make sense of the situation before her. With little mention of others, save some minor updates for other familial characters, the focus is on Brennan and some of her stumbling blocks. Others help to complement her desire to overcome limitations, while also show that no brain aneurysm can stop her. In a story that sees Brennan working from the outside of the goldfish bowl, the reader is able to see how her field work and reliance on others help uncover one of the more disturbing cases of her career. I hope that there are other stories in the Temperance Brennan series before tying things off, as I have come to really enjoy all she has done and overcome in the years, especially when she makes her way to Canada!

Kudos, Madam Reichs, for a great return. I can only hope that you have some ideas to keep your fans from going stir-crazy.

A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: