Friday, December 31, 2010

Death Du Jour

Death du Jour
Kathy Reich
384 pages
Rating: 4/5

Readers of Kathy Reichs's cool and clever first forensic thriller Déjà Dead will recognize the ironic voice of Tempe (short for Temperance) Brennan, the North Carolina-born scientist who winds up working at the Laboratoire de Médicine Légale in Montreal. Here she bristles at the conservative attitudes of some of her Canadian colleagues.

Despite the cold weather, Tempe's workload quickly becomes heavy: the bones of a long-dead nun now up for sainthood have been moved and tampered with; a deadly house fire turns out to be arson; and a university teaching assistant disappears after joining a cult. Tempe must figure out where (and why) all the bodies are buried in the hard Canadian ground. Her investigations take her home to North Carolina, and to a strange colony living on an offshore island.
--Dick Adler 

 My Thoughts:
As anyone who reads this blog regularly knows, I've lived under a rock called nursing school for the last couple of years.  Needless to say, these books have been out a while.  Bones has been popular and run six seasons already.  But I only found Kathy Reichs this year, so I will continue to gush about how much I love her and her character Temperance Brennan.  Perhaps there is someone else who has lived under a rock or just newly decided to explore the mystery genre.

I officially love Kathy Reichs.  I greatly enjoyed this second book of hers that I read.  The first book I struggled with the writing a tad.  I believe I got used to her way of writing, because I was not caught up in the writing at all.  In fact, I enjoyed it greatly.  Her way of describing forensic procedures took me under and I was cast under the spell of Tempe.  I simply could not put this novel down.  I went to the library the next day and squealed when I saw that the third book was in for checking out.  That was how much I enjoyed it.

I have read several reviews discounting their ratings due to the incredible number of "coincidences" that happened in the book.  Yes, the novel takes place in both Quebec and North Carolina.  The stories end up entwining, which could be a bit of a stretch of a coincidence.  But this did not bother me as much as it seemed to both other readers.  I guess I always find mysteries a bit too coincidental.  Of course the author is going to bring in clues that will end up fitting together - it's a mystery that has to be solved at the end.  And as opposed to other mysteries I've read, I didn't predict this one.  I did not know how they would fit together.  And I appreciated that everything did not fit together as snugly as a puzzle.  There were story lines and such that were not a part of the large mystery, and that made it have a more realistic feel to the novel being a story of Tempe's life.

The mystery basically revolves around several bodies found in a fire, with one having died by a bullet not by the flames.  Other bodies are found, and Temperance and her police counterpart Ryan are thrown together to solve the mystery.  We met another half of Tempe's family, Harry, her sister, and Katy, her daughter.  We are also introduced to more of Tempe's work.  As she divides her time between teaching and working with the police in Quebec, Reichs introduces us to several different cases that Tempe works on at once, some of which fit into the mystery and some that don't.  I enjoyed reading about her work, and I felt that I was transformed into the forensic anthropology world for a bit.

I don't want to go on in my gushing, as I am terrible about revealing spoilers.  But I will say that I loved getting to know further the characters is Tempe's life and Tempe herself.  The mystery had me stumped, and I loved getting lost in the forensic world for a while.  Anyone who loves mysteries will love Temperance Brennan, both in Deja Dead and Death du Jour.  I believe that this second novel could be read separately from the first in the series, but I enjoyed it greatly as a sequel.  I felt that the series is only getting better, and I can't wait to see where it goes from here.

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