Book Review: Deja Dead

Author Kathy Riechs
Year of Publication 1997
Verdict Good

I liked Temperance Brennan from the TV series “Bones”. I did not watch all of the episodes but whatever I watched I liked her. So, when I was looking for something light to read, I thought why not the books that inspired “Bones”. I knew the Kathy Reichs herself is an forensic anthropologist and that gives her more credibility as a creator of a character like Tempe. So I bought the first book of the series called “Deja Dead” and read it. And here is my take on this book.

If you have watched “Bones” and that inspired you to read the books, one piece of advice, do not expect any similarity between the two. The similarities ends at the the name and the occupation of the protagonist.

Temperance Brennan, who likes to be called as Tempe, is a middle aged anthropologist, who recently ended her 20 years long marriage with her husband Pete. She is mother of a teenage daughter, who has just started college. Tempe had a substance abuse problem and now only drinks other than water she has is diet coke. She works as a full-time professor at North Carolina University and shares her time as a forensic anthropologist in both North Carolina and Montreal Canada. Presently she share her 800 sq ft condo in North Carolina with her beloved cat Birdie. However, this story takes place in Montreal.

The story starts with a discovery of a decomposing body, by two construction workers, in a shallow grave partially covered with a plastic garbage bag. Few more buried and decomposed bodies were discovered in the course of the book, where the last one was a shock for both Tempe and me.

There were a lot of nail-biting moments in this book and the climax kept me at the edge of my seat. Overall I liked this book.

I was reading a fiction, moreover a thriller, after a long time, I enjoyed it. What I like most about this book is, although at times it described grotesque death, instead of feeling turned off, I felt sad for the victims. Furthermore, Kathy Reichs’ primary occupation gives the fact described in the book a sense of authenticity.
As a character Tempe was not as I expected (influenced by “Bones”), but she was more of a real life person. Although extremely competent in her profession, she was emotional and to some extends vulnerable and needy. Even with her expertise, sometime she faces a lot of adversity in her work place because of her gender. But at the end, just like any other hero, she gets to be right.

I am going to end this review with a mention of Ryan. Although Tempe has been working with detective Ryan (character “Booth” from the series) on and off over the years, other than a innocent crush there was not much to mention. However the change in her relationship status opens up new possibilities with him. I guess we have to wait and see, how long Tempe takes to finally be with him (It took ‘Bones’ seven seasons).

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