Kathy Reichs Month #3: Break No Bones, Bones to Ashes

Break No Bones

Dewees Island, the South Carolina land that houses prehistoric graves, sees Temperance Brennan and a group of her students working on something at the site. It is at this moment that, in a shallow grave not too far away from a rather lonely beach, a newly decaying body is discovered. Other freshly killed bodies are then discovered, one by one, all over Charleston, prompting Brennan to be called into action.

There are more and more bodies; there is a man hanging from a tree somewhere in the woods, there is a body in a barrel somewhere, there are bones everywhere—many of which have been strangled. Brennan is forced to follow the trail of bodies all the way to a free street clinic. Here, she finds a rather shady doctor, his stroppy workforce and a televangelist donor. Brennan searches for clues, which pop up in the weirdest of places. It takes her extraordinary wit to build an actual case, even when her own life is in danger.

The basic subplot of this book features Brennan’s love life. There are two men she is involved with and must choose between. There is her husband, Janis Peterson—a rather alienated man in her life—and there is Detective Andrew Ryan—an on-again off-again lover.

There is also the matter of Emma Rousseau, who is a local coroner as well as her very good friend. She is suffering from some form of terminal cancer.

Bones to Ashes

This is the tenth Kathy Reichs Month novel with the forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan, at its epicentre. At the beginning of the story, Brennan receives a box that contains very old bones. This is the beginning of a mystery all the way from when she was a child. Back then, one of Brennan’s friends simply disappeared.

At the beginning of Bones to Ashes, we are brought up to speed on Temperance Brennan’s childhood. We are told how her friendship with Evangeline Landry, an Acadian girl, blossomed when she was on holiday at Pawleys Island, South Carolina. Evangeline, much to everyone’s dismay, suddenly and mysteriously vanished when she was but a teenager.

Brennan later had a job in Montreal, Canada, at the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Medicine Legale. While she is here, Brennan is informed about a box containing human bones by Sergent-enqueteur Hippolyte Gallant. This is when she begins to wonder if these bones are the remains of her friend who disappeared all those years ago. So, she takes on the case while she’s doing her usual job.

Later, her on-again off-again lover, Lieutenant Detective Andrew Ryan, calls on her to assist with a case he is working on a case involving five girls—two of them are missing and two of them are dead.

The chief subplot sees Brennan’s husband, Janis Peterson, opt to finally divorce her. They have been separated for quite a while and now he has his sights set on a woman who is many, many, many years his junior. Brennan’s sister, Harry, later comes to visit her before she too is involved in this case about Evangeline.


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