The new Tempe Brennan thriller opens with the forensic anthropologist being held by an unknown captor, hidden away in some cold, dark place. As she struggles to remember what has happened to her, the story shifts to Brennan’s recent autopsy of the remains of a missing woman—and to an accusation that she deliberately tried to cover up a murder. As Brennan and her investigative partner, Lieutenant Andrew Ryan, of the Montreal police, try to find out who would want to ruin Tempe’s reputation, they stumble on a possible serial killer. Can Brennan solve the case and rescue her reputation? Well, of course she can, but there’s still the matter of who abducted Tempe, and why . . . and whether she can extricate herself from what appears to be certain death. Some readers, especially those familiar with the TV series Bones, based on the Brennan novels, might find the novel a bit episodic, as Brennan moves from case to case (there are even short captive scenes positioned where commercial breaks would naturally fall if this were a television show). On the other hand, Reichs is telling a story that requires an episodic structure: Brennan puts together clues gleaned from a series of cases, spread out in time, to unmask a villain. And, it’s worth noting, the author pulls off a Jeffery Deaver–worthy unmasking, too: few readers will see this plot twist coming. A very good installment in a popular series.
This review originally appeared in Booklist, May 2009.