Book Review: 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

I had Kathy Reichs’ 206 Bones sitting on my Kindle for ages before, being on holidays, and enjoying fast-paced books and doing a bit of a catch-up, I decided to read it. It’s been a while since I indulged in a Reichs and, frankly, it may be again. It’s not that I didn’t enjoy this story about Tempe Brennan and her fraught relationship with Ryan as she tries to solve various murders (mainly two cold cases), I did. But how many times can Tempe have people wanting to sabotage her career – or worse, hurt her? According to this series, many times. I think Brennan and Scarpetta are two of the most hated women in fiction if the record of attempts on their lives are anything to go by! I would suggest they leave North America and go and live in the UK, but they’d probably end up in fictional Midsomer or with posts at Oxford University and we all know what happens in those places!

These kind of ruminations aside, 206 Bones (the number in the human body) is told in flashbacks as Brennan wakes after clearly being kidnapped and assaulted or the other way around. As we follow Brennan’s uncanny recall of the events leading up to her waking buried alive, we are again shown her brilliance, her desirability and her prickliness (which should, one would think, counteract the latter: apparently not). I felt this story was a bit too didactic and self-conscious in its deliberate attempt to pack scientific information into the narrative. While there is a (subtle) plot reason for all the anthropological accuracies, at times it also detracts from the tale by slowing it down. I also found the novel a little repetitive in parts. Nonetheless, it was a very good read for the holidays and I am glad I saved it till then. 3 and a half stars out of five.

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