Friday, March 19, 2010

'Death Du Jour' Continues Kathy Reichs's Creepy Bones Pre-History

Bones has been on television for five years now. Kathy Reichs's Tempe Brennan series began thirteen years ago. We therefore agree that I'm a little behind on this series. However, being behind is a good thing in my opinion. I have plenty of upcoming books to read, and I don't have to wait on anything to be published to find out what happens next with the main character. Well, you now. Until I'm done.

I read the first novel in the Tempe series in February, and now I'm continuing my quest to read them all. I finished the second book this week, Death du Jour, and it is just as fantastic as Reichs's debut novel. The novel begins as forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan embarks on a request by the Catholic church in Montreal. She conducts a dig in their old burial grounds while her students at the University of North Carolina frolic on beaches for spring break. Before Tempe can finish and return following the break, another crime occurs and she is forced to travel several hours away and collect bones from a recent house fire.

After Tempe returns to Charlotte for the continuation of her spring semester, crimes occurring there begin to show ties to crimes in Montreal. As Tempe is pulled into the midst of an ever-reaching chain of events, her family is affected and things become a bit personal. This novel explores the ritual side of religion, as well as so-called religion at its worst, in the form of cults.

I read into the night several times this week; I just needed to know what happened next in this novel. It was just as scary as Reichs's first foray into the writing world. These books definitely aren't for the faint-of-heart or the easily-scared. My single issue with Death du Jour was its over-the-top plot connections. I mean, what are the chances that a case that a forensic anthropologist who works in Montreal and in Charlotte is investigating has ties to both cities? I would say very slim, if at all.

Also, while the presence of cults is a reality in our world, I have recently read and heard much about the exaggeration of their activities. Satanic sacrifice is a phenomenon which gained publicity in the 1980s, but there is little record of actual occurrences. Rather, it seems to have been a media-induced panic which resulted in public service announcements and school programs, but had little substantiated evidence to prove or disprove it. So the inclusion of cult-based killings is sensational and fiction-worthy, but not based in reality.

Watch Bones on Fox on Thursdays at 8/7 central.

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