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  • Writer's pictureJoanne Hodgson

The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs


As I’m a long time fan of the TV show Bones, as well as a stickler for reading books first if I can, it may come as a surprise to you to hear that I have never read a Temperance Brennan novel before now. I have no idea why I’ve never picked one up before; I enjoy thrillers and crime novels so I’m surprised my own self!


Therefore, I jumped at the chance to take part in the book tour for The Bone Code which was published in hardback this week. Thank you so much to Kaleidoscopic Tours and publishers Simon and Schuster for this gifted copy as part of the tour.


The Bone Code is Kathy Reichs’ twentieth novel about forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan. The writer is herself a forensic anthropologist and uses her own experiences in the field to shape the exploits of her protagonist.


If you are worried about a novel written by a scientist being too sciencey then do not fear! Reichs is masterful in walking the line between the technical language and the layman’s terms for those of us not blessed with medical or anthropological degrees!


The novel opens with a hurricane in the Carolinas uncovering a container hiding two bodies wrapped in plastic and dumped at sea. For Dr. Brennan, the echoes of a cold case from fifteen years ago in Montreal make the circumstances too similar to be a coincidence.


At the same time, there is a wave of panic sweeping the Carolinas about a rare bacterium that can eat human flesh. People are flocking to genetic testing sites to see if they have a genetic vulnerability to the bug. As the case unfolds, Temperance wonders about a link between the outbreak and the twin murder investigations she now finds herself embroiled in.


I have to say that I really enjoyed the novel. The dialogue is snappy and there is a dry humour to many of Temperance’s observations that certainly appealed to me. As a French speaker, I did find the constant translations of the French dialogue into English a bit repetitive in places, but I think they would be most welcome to anyone who did not know the language. It's a real page-turner and I could not put it down, devouring it in little over a day. Reichs does a fantastic job at leaving chapters on cliffhangers and foreshadowing what might be coming later in the novel, drip-feeding us information to keep the tension going.


As I mentioned earlier, I’m a big fan of the TV show and Bones makes little nods to the books throughout the series. In the world of the show, Dr. Brennan is herself the novelist and Kathy Reichs is the fictional forensic anthropologist she writes about. This book, in turn, makes a reference early on that the main character watches an old episode of Bones one night and it certainly made me smile to read that!


The novel also references the COVID-19 pandemic which is so incredibly contemporary. This is the first novel I’ve read to do so and it is details like that which makes the characters feel grounded and relatable.


This read has definitely made me feel inspired to pick up some of the earlier books in the series. There are references to elements which I’m sure form part of previous storylines, but I also didn’t feel like I missed out at all by now having read them. If, like me, you’ve never picked up a Temperance Brennan novel before then I can certainly recommend The Bone Code as a great starting point.



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