Mortal Remains by Kathy Reichs

bloody scotlandI really enjoy Kathy Reichs books and I enjoyed meeting her at Bloody Scotland in Stirling, Scotland. She is a New York Times bestselling author, although I admit that I do not enjoy the young adult bones of the lostbooks she co-writes with her son, Brendan Reichs. However, of course, I am not their target audience for those! So I was thrilled to have an opportunity to meet Ms Reichs, who is an American novelist,  when she appeared with the Scottish writer, Ian Rankin, at an event at Bloody Scotland Crime Writers Festival in Stirling, Scotland last year. She was a most interesting speaker and a charming and generous person who agreed to sign one of her books, Bones of the Lost. This was the top prize at a raffle in aid of McMillan Cancer Care Nurses. That was a really kind gesture. What a nice woman and a fine author she is.

During that talk with Ian Rankin it also became clear what a busy person Kathy Reichs is. Kathleen Joan Toelle , or “Kathy” Reichs was born on July 7, 1948 in Chicago, Illinois, USA. She is an academic, a forensic anthropologist and also a very successful crime fiction writer. Her work has inspired the Fox TV series Bones. She works as a producer on that series to keep the science elements on the series grounded. With all of that going on, it is not surprising that, since 2013, Ms Reichs is on indefinite leave from her post as a kathyprofessor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. However, happily she does continue to write her books and I recently read Mortal Remains. (This book was also published under the title Spider Bones.) It is the 13th book about Ms Reichs character, Temperence Brennan.

On a cold, clear spring morning, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is called to the scene of a highly unusual auto-erotic death by her lover Andrew Ryan who is a homicide detective working for the Quebec police in Canada. Death by misadventure would appear to be the cause of death. However, when the victim’s fingerprints are run, the body is identified as that of John Charles Lowery who purportedly died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam 40 years earlier. This raises the important question of who exactly is buried in the dead soldier’s grave in North Carolina, where Tempe Brennan spends half her year.

Ryan and Tempe’s investigation uncovers a tangled web of deceit and some extremely dangerous characters. As Tempe closes in on the true identity of the man who assumed the identity of John Lowery all those years ago, she is threatened by those who would be ruined if the truth got out. When she refuses to be intimidated, these well-connected heavies target the one person who means more to her than anything else in the world, her daughter Kathy, who lives in Hawaii. In a parallel and mortal remainsconnected case, Tempe also has to try to discover who or what has killed some young men, scraps of whose mutilated bodies have floated up onto the beach of a popular Hawaiian beauty spot.

The stake become very high for Tempe and Ryan, who must risk everything to save those they love. As you would expect, there is plenty of complex science in this story. However, Kathy Reichs displays her expertise lightly and the explanations are comprehensible and interesting. Also,, the plot flies along at breakneck speed and the sense of menace is well sustained throughout. I really enjoyed this book very much and highly recommend it. Other Kathy Reichs books are reviewed on this site:,,…y-kathy-reichs/,…y-kathy-reichs/.

Valerie Penny



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