The Bone Collection – Kathy Reichs
The No.1 Sunday Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs is renowned for suspense and fascinating forensic detail. Now she brings that same artistry to her first volume of collected short stories.
In First Bones, a prequel to Reichs’s very first novel, Déjà Dead, she at last reveals how Tempe became a forensic anthropologist. In this never-before-published story, Tempe recalls the case that lured her from a promising career in academia into the grim but addictive world of criminal investigation.
Three more stories take Tempe from the low country of the Florida Everglades, where she makes a grisly discovery in the stomach of an eighteen-foot Burmese python, to the heights of Mount Everest, where a frozen corpse is unearthed.
No matter where she goes, Tempe’s cases make for the most gripping reading.
My thanks to Kate at Penguin Random House for my review copy and the chance to join the blog tour.
The Bone Collection gathers four Tempe Brennan stories into a single volume. Of the four novellas gathered in this collection I believe that three have been published previously as stand-alone purchases, therefore, if you have been collecting the Kathy Reichs releases as they have come out then there is a chance you may already own 3 of the 4 stories in the collection.
So with that small public information announcement out of the way I can turn to the stories. First Bones is the “new” tale in the collection and we learn how Brennan made the decisions which forged her career. The jump from academia into criminal investigation is positioned brilliantly, a situation in which doing “the right thing” seems the only option. We meet a much younger Tempe than we are used to seeing and the author can play with some character flaws and insecurities that time and experience have smoothed over for the Brennan we know so well.
The opening novella in the collection is The Bones in Her Pocket – a great reminder of the skill of the author and the informative detail that Kathy Reichs can work into her writing. She writes with a precision and a clarity but never sacrifices the entertainment element of the story so you feel you can become absorbed into Brennan’s world and easily keep up with the discoveries she makes. In this particular story the discovery lies in a heavily wooded forest where a body which had been submerged in deep water makes an unexpected return to the surface – a complicated confusion of bones will tax Brennan’s skills.
My favourite story in the collection was Swamp Bones – a story set in the Florida Everglades where Brennan will encounter alligators and examine a python which seems to have feasted on something or someone that should have kept out of its way.
The collection is rounded out with the engaging Bones on Ice – Brennan finds herself with a frozen corpse on Mount Everest.
Each of the stories are tightly scripted and highlight the undoubted talent of the author. For readers who may be finding the Brennan books after watching the tv show Bones then this collection of stories is a great introduction to the books. Fans of the novels who may not have picked up the novellas in the past should leap at this chance to read more Kathy Reichs stories.
While I normally don’t enjoy short story collections I found I could not put The Bone Collection down. It has been a couple of years since I last read a Kathy Reichs book and I was reminded just how much I enjoy her writing. But more importantly the stories are were a good length that kept me reading and the continuity of the lead character (Brennan) made the collection feel less like a random assortment of tales and more cohesive as a single volume.
Highly recommended for fans and a great “jumping on point” for new readers.
The Bone Collection is published by William Heinemann and is available in hardback and digital format.
You can order a copy through this link: https://www.amazon.co.uk/d/Books/Bone-Collection-Four-Novellas-Kathy-Reichs/1785150952/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1479160834&sr=8-1&keywords=the+bone+collection