sharing my love of books with you

Tag: Speaking in Bones

From My Library: Speaking in Bones

by Dr Kathy Reichs

This is the third Kathy Reichs / Temperance Brennan book I read. This is the one with the crazy plot twist at the end. I found my copy at the local library thrift store. It is a hardback with a great neon green/yellow/blue dust jack. Hardback books are my favorites! I just love how they feel in my hands. I hope to add more Kathy Reichs books to my collection soon, however, until then, Speaking in Bones is definitely the strangest of the three I own.

On Plot Twists

Even if you are not an avid reader, I am sure you have come across a book or two with a brilliant plot twist. Now, when I say plot twist, I don’t mean a surprise. For example, I have found while reading Sherlock Holmes, that many of those short stories have a surprise ending, something that the reader didn’t see coming. But that’s not what I mean. I am talking about a complete one-eighty. One minute, the story is going in this direction, you have figured out the hidden secrets, and you think you know what’s about to happen, and then BOOM! Plot twist.

I began thinking about plot twists while I was listening to The Scarlet Pimpernel. Baroness Orczy has a beautiful way of writing that just draws you into her story. The exploits and narrow escapes of the hero are not the main focus for the first half of the book. The Scarlet Pimpernel’s exploits are just a backdrop, like a fairytale in Lady Marguerite Blakeney’s life. Then, Plot Twist! She learns that he is not some distant, courageous man; he is much closer to her than she ever dared dream.

Then I thought about another book I recently read that had a plot twist: Speaking in Bones, by Dr Kathy Reichs. Forensic scientist Dr Temperance Brennan is approached with evidence that opens an old missing persons case. As Brennan investigates, she discovers that bones collected at several different crime scenes may belong to the same person. The good doctor and the reader believe they know who the bones belong to until new evidence comes to light. Plot Twist! Suddenly, those assumed to be dead may still be alive, and those thought to be missing may no longer be alive. The second half of that book was really quite fascinating!

Although I mentioned that most of the Sherlock Holmes short stories have surprises but not plot twists, there is one in particular that has a conclusion even the great detective never foresaw. In the adventure of “Charles Augustus Milverton”, Holmes challenges a ruthless blackmailer for the sake of a lady’s reputation. The blackmailer, Milverton, stubbornly refuses to give up the compromising letters in his possession, so Holmes and Watson take matters into their own hands. They enter Milverton’s house by night, and then Plot Twist! I can’t say more without giving away the story. But I assure you, it was totally unexpected.

I have not yet written about The False Prince and the five books that make up the Ascendance Series by Jennifer Nielsen, but I plan to make a post about these books as soon as I reread them. However, for this post, I couldn’t leave out The False Prince. Wow, what a plot twist in that book! About halfway through, I began to suspect, but the way it came about is just a testament to the brilliance of the author. I have told many people: The False Prince is even better the second (or third or fourth) time around because you know the ending. This is also another great audiobook, and it’s on Spotify performed by Charlie McWade. Briefly, after the death of the King, Queen, and Crown Prince Darius, a regent named Conner devises a plan to pass an orphan boy as the long lost Prince Jaron. The whole country had mourned the death of Prince Jaron two years previous. Conner “adopts”, buys, or kidnaps (however you want to term it) three orphans who resemble the lost prince and takes them to his home. He trains them extensively in history, sword fighting, horseback riding, manners, and anything else a prince should know. The book follows the orphan Sage as he tries as hard as he can to annoy Conner while learning how to be a prince. A false prince. Will Conner’s treasonous plan succeed? Plot Twist!

The last plot twist I will share with you today is in the Divergent trilogy. You have to read all three books to get there. But then there are two major Plot Twists in the third book. That’s all I’m going to say here because I plan to read Divergent again very soon, and so I’ll also be writing about it soon.

I hope you have decided by now that you will read one (or all) of these great books. They are fun, fascinating, and sometimes suspenseful. I highly recommend them all.

Speaking in Bones, by Kathy Reichs

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.”



Here is an anatomical word from Speaking in Bones. Since I wasn’t sure exactly what this was, I looked it up and decided to share.

Zygoma – the bony arch of the cheek formed by connection of the zygomatic and temporal bones

Usage: “I suffered a concussion and a hairline fracture of my right zygoma.”

I’m including a diagram to help with placement. I hope you don’t think it’s too gross. Photo credit


I’m sure I’ve come across this word in other readings or at least once when I was in school, but I could not remember what it meant. I found it while reading Speaking in Bones. I had to look it up.

Antediluvian – of or belonging to the time before the Biblical Flood; ridiculously old-fashioned

Usage: “I still keep hard copy on all my cases. Antediluvian, but there you have it.”


Though the context is not pleasant, this word is a fun word to know and use on occasion. I was reminded of it while reading Speaking in Bones.

Odoriferous – having or giving off a smell, especially an unpleasant or distinctive one

Usage: “I reached up, slid the box free, and carried it to the “stinky room”, a small autopsy suite with special ventilation to accommodate the more odoriferous dead.”


I found this word a few times in Speaking in Bones, and I had to look it up. Though I could guess the meaning by the context, it’s not a word I see often so I wanted to be sure.

Truncating – to shorten the duration or extent of

Usage: “A door opened, releasing the whine of an autopsy saw cutting through bone. Closed abruptly, truncating the sound.”

Today – A New Book and A New Tag

Along with starting another Kathy Reichs book today, I decided to add a new tag to the blog. “New Book” will lead you to the first post I write about each book that I’m reading. My goal is to give you a brief introduction to the book. Then when I finish the book, I’ll write my summary. This tag will give you, my readers, just a quick glimpse at when (and sometimes why) I start a new book as well as the Title and Author so you can look it up too.

So, as I said, I am starting a new Kathy Reichs book, Speaking in Bones. I’m only one chapter in, but it was a chilling introduction. Dr Brennan is listening to what sounds like a kidnapped girl’s thoughts and torments. I wonder if Dr Brennan will be able to find the girl before it’s too late. Well, back to reading!