Under the microscope, the outer bone surface is a moonscape of craters...'Preliminary diagnosis?' 'Deformity of the bone. Maybe. Cortical destruction on a metacarpal. Maybe. Localised infection? Systemic disease process? Postmortem destruction, either purposeful or natural? A combination of the above? I don't have a diagnosis...' The skeleton is that of a young girl, no more than fourteen years old - and forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan is struggling to keep her emotions in check. Coroner Jean Bradette is being evasive, insisting the bones are ancient and of no interest. But it doesn't quite add up, and a frustrated Tempe is convinced that Bradette is hiding something...It's not Tempe's case; she's overwhelmed with more urgent work in the lab...But the nagging in her subconscious won't let up. A memory triggered, deep in her hindbrain - the disappearance of a childhood friend; no warning, no explanation...Detective Andrew Ryan is working a series of parallel cases, and requires Tempe's forensic expertise. Three missing persons, three unidentified bodies - all female, all early- to mid-teens...Could there be a serial killer at work?
Was Bradette's skeleton another in this tragic line of young victims? Or is Tempe over-reacting, making connections where none exist? Can she and Ryan put their personal tensions aside, and stop the killer before another young girl falls prey? Working on instinct, Tempe takes matters into her own hands. But she couldn't have predicted where this case would lead, or the horrors it would eventually uncover...Can Tempe maintain a professional distance as the past catches up with her in this, her most deeply personal case yet?
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US Kirkus Review »
In her Montreal office, forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan stares down at the old bones on her desk. Are they the bones of an old friend?Temperance Brennan (Monday Mourning, 2004, etc.) was eight when she met ten-year-old Evangeline Landry, who for the next four years was her closest friend. Both had been lonely girls, strangers in a strange land. Tempe had been transplanted from Chicago to Charlotte, Evangeline from Acadia, Canada. Abruptly, without a trace, Evangeline vanished, but Tempe has never been able to forget her. Thirty years later, a female skeleton is plaguing her with painful questions. How old is old? Was the death violent? Is it absurd to think what she's thinking just because the bones were found in Acadia? Answers are hard to come by, in part because Tempe's plate is piled even higher than usual. Detective Lieutenant Andy Ryan is handling the scary new case of five girls in their late teens to early 20s, three missing, two dead. Have they fallen victim to a serial killer? And of course there's Ryan himself, a lover acting uncomfortably cool. Tempe, beset and brilliant as always, buckles down to find answers, only some of which will be rooted in the death sciences.A bit of a jumble at the end - Reichs is a committed over-plotter - but Tempe is both deeper and funnier than she's ever been, making this her best outing to date. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - Kathy Reichs
Kathy Reichs is forensic anthropologist for the Offices of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratorie de Sciences Judiciaires et de Medecine Legale for the province of Quebec. A professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, she divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.