Reviews and Recommendations by Mel Odom, Professional Writer

SWAMP BONES by Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs Swamp Bones

Lately, before the release of the new Tempe Brennan novel, author Kathy Reichs blows through a novella about her signature character that takes Tempe and the reader to a new place and usually a new corner of forensics. In this one, Tempe is on vacation (doesn’t last long because a body turns up—well, pieces of a body—in the stomach of a stomach) and is dropping in on another specialist friend.

I didn’t know the true difference of necropsy and autopsy until this book, and it was fascinating to see all the science behind doing animal forensics. Reichs throws in a lot of other science and detail, too, that made me want to go rooting around in science manuals to find out more about the topics, which is what any good instructor will do.

Reichs’ writing is always great, easy to lose yourself in, and I really think she might be at her best with some of the shorter work she’s doing. I don’t know what her writing time is like, but I know she has to stay busy keeping up with all the cutting-edge science in her field, the Bones television show that keeps on coming out year after year, and writing fiction. Lately the novellas have seemed a little crisper than the novels, a little more on target, but they lack the twists and turns Reichs likes to throw into her longer works. These novellas take place in a matter of days (so Tempe can do some work and get a few days off), and that definitely affects the reading experience.

I blazed through this one in a single sitting, even though it seems longer than her last novella. Although I haven’t ever been to Miami (other than Disney and a couple hotels), I’ve researched the area frequently. While I was turning the pages, I felt like I was cruising down the back roads and the Everglades with Tempe.

There were enough twists and turns to keep a mystery reader guessing, enough forensics to keep the armchair crime scene investigator locked in, and sporadic fun along with plenty of action. This novella is definitely one for fans of the series and people who are interested in reading the books to jump on.

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