Spider Bones, Kathy Reichs (Scribner)

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Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan has a puzzle on her hands. A man has drowned under suspicious circumstances. His fingerprints identify him immediately, but here’s the thing: the man apparently died more than 40 years ago. And if this is really him, then who is buried in his grave? The thirteenth Brennan novel is fairly typical of the series: a tightly plotted tale with engaging characters whose personal lives can be at least as interesting as the cases they’re investigating. Reading a new Brennan novel is like hooking up with old friends: you know what to expect, but that’s OK, because you also know you’ll have a good time. Reichs, a former forensic anthropologist herself, whose early books were occasionally a bit clunky (it’s not a smooth transition, apparently, from deconstructing bones to constructing sentences), has developed into a solid writer. Fans of the television series Bones, based on Reich’s life and career, will note plenty of differences between the show and the novels, but they will find that Brennan on the page still offers much to enjoy. Fans of the books, of course, will soon be stampeding to the library to secure their copies. So stock up.

This review originally appeared in Booklist, May 2010.

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