Speaking in Bones is the latest Kathy Reichs novel that I finished. I have to say, what a plot twist at the end! I definitely did not see that coming!
I think I said this in my last post on Break No Bones, but I thoroughly enjoy Dr Reichs’ style of writing. She adds in knowledge from her own experience as a forensic anthropologist, which enriches the storylines of her novels about Dr Temperance Brennan. Forensics takes time and sometimes multiple people; crime isn’t solved in a day. Reichs acknowledges that in her books.
Another thing that I really like about Dr Kathy Reichs’ style is that it feels so real. You could meet any of the characters walking on the street. She lets the forensics take time, true to life, but the storyline never suffers. If Dr Brennan has to wait through the weekend ’til Monday to speak to someone about the case, then she fills her time digging through receipts for her tax preparer or spending time with her mother.
Something else I really like that I think I mentioned with one of the other books was that I felt like I was investigating along with Dr Brennan. I was able to form my own conclusions by the clues in the book. In this one, I guessed that some of the unidentified remains belonged to a different individual than originally implied, and a few pages later, Dr Brennan decided the same thing. Even though there are plot twists, they are clear, and an astute reader can follow the line of reasoning with the characters to reach the same conclusions.
The first chapter of Speaking in Bones is gripping. I was drawn so quickly into the book that I had to read it really fast to solve the mystery. Dr Brennan is approached by a websleuth who plays a recording of a young and desperate girl. The websleuth, “Lucky”, says she returned to a cold crime scene and found a keychain-sized recording device at the base of a tree. “Lucky” believes the recorded voice belongs to remains in the morgue where Dr Brennan works. Remains that have yet to be identified. Although skeptical, Dr Brennan reexamines the remains and requests the local sheriff aid her in investigating the area where the bones had been found.
As the book progresses, Dr Brennan and the local authorities in several different jurisdictions find more bones that are related to the unidentified remains and the recording. They begin to make headway, the cold case is reopened, and witnesses are approached for more questions. However many of the witnesses seem unwilling to speak to authorities again so many years later. All of the witnesses seem to be connected to a local congregation whose pastor has secrets of his own.
Was the church involved in the disappearance of the girl in the recording? Was there a connection between the recording and the bones? When Dr Brennan goes alone to find the answers to these questions, she places herself in danger. And just when she thinks the danger is ended and the case is solved, she faces an enemy unlike any she has faced before.
Then that ending! I definitely did not see that coming!
Other questions plague Dr Brennan during this investigation, but the most important one is should she marry Detective Andrew Ryan? Why is it so hard to give him an answer? Does she love him? What is she afraid of?
One last word. I really like how the title of the book comes from a compliment paid to Dr Brennan by Detective Slidell (who could be very pompous and annoying). “You know, Doc, when speaking in bones, you’re pretty good.”