Déjá Dead

March 19, 2014 - Déjá Dead (Kathy Reichs). This 1997 novel introduced the world to Dr. Temperance Brennan. It spawned a series of books featuring the fictional forensic anthropologist, and that series is the inspiration for the long-running TV show, Bones.

The novel is set in Montreal. Brennan has taken a leave from her faculty position at a university in North Carolina to work with what amounts to the medical examiner's office in Montreal. One hot, summer day, she’s called to a scene where several plastic bags containing body parts have been found. Soon, more dismembered bodies start turning up. Based on her analysis of saw marks on the bones, Brennan believes a serial killer is at work. But, before the killer can be captured, Brennan must convince her skeptical colleagues that the murders really are the work of one man.

The whole time I was reading this book, I kept making mental comparisons to a) the TV show and to b) Patricia Cornwell's Scarpetta novels. And, at 532 pages, I had a lot of time to compare.

In terms of the TV show, it's different from the book in many respects. The first is location – the TV show is set in Washington, DC. There are also many differences between the Tempe Brennan of the book and the Tempe Brennan of the TV show. For example, the Brennan in the book is a recovering alcoholic who has not had a drink in years; the TV show Brennan is often seen drinking wine. So a comparison of the book to the TV show is really not fair.

The main difference I see between Reichs' book and Cornwell's series is that Reichs seems to spend more time on atmosphere. Not that Cornwell doesn’t describe people and places, but Reichs really seems to take her time – if it's hot, she makes you feel the heat, etc. This book is very rich in that way and I enjoyed it.

Overall, I found Brennan to be an intriguing character and I look forward to reading more of the series.