Déjà Dead, by Kathy Reichs

So once upon a time, like maybe a couple of months ago, I became hooked on the television show Bones. I’ve gotten through three seasons of it and am working on the fourth, and it’s all Mary’s fault. That punk. But anyway, Bones is based on this series of books by Kathy Reichs, of which Déjà Dead is the first, so I figured hey, why not read the books and see if they’re as entertaining as the show?

And… they… are? Sort of? It’s hard to say, because basically when they say that the show is “based on” these books, they mean “well, we liked the name Temperance Brennan, and we liked the idea of a forensic anthropologist what solves crimes and stuff.” Reichs’s Brennan is older, has a kid, has a divorce behind her, works in her own private office in a not-very-posh building in Montréal, isn’t big on cultural anthropology but does have a basic knowledge of and respect for psychology… I could go on, but I won’t, because that’s really not what this review is about. But, you know, I could have used a warning going in, so now you have one. 🙂

So anyway, the book. It’s your standard mystery/crime-procedural fare, beginning with the finding of a body. Brennan comes in on this investigations because she’s the bone expert, but she quickly sees a connection between this body and another one she’s recently seen, even if an antagonistic detective refuses to even consider the possibility. Because of the latter part, Brennan goes out and does some stupid stuff, as all wannabe detectives do, and soon finds herself in deeper trouble than she maybe thought she’d be getting into. It gets very suspenseful, and although I took more than a few days to get halfway through the book, the last half of the book was devoured while I should have been writing a paper. These things happen.

I liked the Montréal setting, and Reichs’s little French lessons, and I was definitely interested in all of the scientific happenings even if they got a little technical. And speaking of technical, I don’t really need to know every single detail of every single thing Tempe does or sees or experiences in other ways, so I hope that tapers off after a few novels. All in all I’d say that this book, at least, is the same sort of brain candy as the television show but with a darker tone — don’t go reading this into the middle of the night or you might spook yourself!

Rating: 7/10
(A to Z Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge)

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5 thoughts on “Déjà Dead, by Kathy Reichs

  1. Amy says:

    I actually saw her speak a couple of weeks ago at MTSU, and she was very clear that she views the books and the show as two very different entities. She has come to terms with Bones as a prequel if you will, but it sounds more like an alternate universe.

    I need to read one of the books, just to check out the difference, but if it's just a straight-up scientific procedural, I'm probably not that interested, as much as I love mysteries, because I need something more than the procedure.

  2. Alison says:

    Haha, they are definitely two different creatures! I can't even imagine the show as a prequel. As to the format… it's pretty much a crime procedural. I liked it, it was entertaining, but I'm not going to scramble out to find the next book. And it really did take me a long time to get through the first half of the book, because Reichs is in love with minutiae and I was like, “Oh, for the LOVE OF GOD get on with it!”

    So… if you're really interested in seeing the “real” Temperance Brennan, I would say you should read it, but if you're willing to take my word on the differences you're not missing anything by skipping it.

  3. Kerri says:

    I was at a used book sale yesterday and saw a hardcover copy for $2. Since I knew it was the first book from your review (I also haven't read Reichs yet) – I decided I should pick it up. I'll let you know what I think of it.

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