Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

Image Deja Dead was Kathy Reichs’s debut crime novel and inspired such widespread excitement. It won the 1998 Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel. I really enjoy Kathy Reichs books, but they do get a bit technical in parts.  She is an American author but has a tendency to drop into French dialogue.  That might be off putting to some readers.  However, I think Dr. Kathy Reichs is a born story teller.  She walks in the steps of her heroine, Dr. Temperance Brennan spending her days in the autopsy suite, the courtroom, the crime lab, with cops, and at exhumation sites. I felt I was reading Deja Dead from an informed viewpoint and I liked that.

The story begins in June in Montreal, Canada and Tempe, who has left a shaky marriage back home in North Carolina, USA to take on the challenging assignment of director of forensic anthropology for the province of Quebec, looks forward to a relaxing weekend.

However, she must first stop at a newly uncovered burial site in the heart of the city.  She only needs one look at thedeja decomposed and decapitated corpse, stored neatly in plastic bags, to tell her she’ll spend the weekend in the crime lab. This is a nasty murder. Tempe must first identify the victim in order to find answers. She must identify this person with the reddish hair and a small bone structure.

In Deja Dead, I did feel the only character that was complete was Tempe:  the other people in the story were interesting only if Tempe paid much attention to them in her thoughts, which is how this story is filtered.  This resulted in Tempe’s daughter, best friend, and ex-husband, who were all disappointingly selfish, being fairly absent of characterization besides the selfishness.

Nevertheless, I did enjoy this book very much and do rate Kathy Reichs highly as an author.  I will read more of her work and recommend Deja Dead.  The other Kathy Reichs books I have reviewed can be found on this site include: ‎Virals,, Bones Are Forever,…y-kathy-reichs/, Mortal Remains,


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