Author: Kathy Reichs
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Genre: Murder Mystery
Series: Temperance Brennan #21
Back Cover Blurb
Winter has come to North Carolina and, with it, a drop in crime. Freed from a heavy work schedule, Tempe Brennan is content to dote on her daughter Katy, finally returned to civilian life from the army. But when mother and daughter meet at Tempe’s place one night, they find a box on the back porch. Inside: a very fresh human eyeball.
GPS coordinates etched into the eyeball lead to a Benedictine monastery where an equally macabre discovery awaits. Soon after, Tempe examines a mummified corpse in a state park, and her anxiety deepens.
There seems to be no pattern to the subsequent killings uncovered, except that each mimics in some way a homicide that a younger Tempe had been called in to analyze. Who or what is targeting her, and why?
Helping Tempe search for answers is detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell, retired but still volunteering with the CMPD cold case unit—and still displaying his gallows humor. Also pulled into the mystery: Andrew Ryan, Tempe’s Montreal-based beau, now working as a private detective.
Could this elaborately staged skein of mayhem be the prelude to a twist that is even more shocking? Tempe is at a loss to establish the motive for what is going on…and then her daughter disappears.
What I Thought
I love a good, long running series as much as the next person, but occasionally, the author dips her (or his) toe into the well once to often and, well, the result is a sub-par story that feels all too familiar. And so it is with Cold, Cold Bones, Reichs’ twenty-first outing for a much loved Forensic Anthropologist, Tempe Brennan.
The story, over-all, is solid enough, with all the essential ingredients we’ve come to expect in a Brennan novel. But sometimes, that’s not enough. And while I appreciate it’s difficult for the author to continually keep it fresh, and inventive, sometimes a story can lack that necessary spark. And so it was with Cold, Cold Bones. It felt almost formulaic. And while the story flowed and was, in the end, a fairly fast read, it didn’t offer up anything new.
The fact is, Brennan is still doing the dumb moves she keeps repeating through out this long running series, which, in itself, becomes annoying. Brennan herself doesn’t seem to have learnt anything by her past mistakes and, in fact, keeps repeating them. Throw in her on again, off again relationship that really doesn’t add anything to the series, I felt like I had read this all before once too often.
In the end I really felt Tempe should retire as she seems to have lost the plot. What’s more, the serial killer was never really fully realised, given any depth, or motivation. Once again, I felt like we were given just the bare bones of a story with the usual set of jaded characters spouting some very cliched dialogue.
Sad to say, this could well be my last Tempe Brennan novel from Reichs.