Friday, March 18, 2011

Review: Deadly Decisions

Deadly Decisions  
Kathy Reichs
395 pages
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Kathy Reichs' forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is arguably the best of the current crop of thriller pathologists; her third outing, Deadly Decisions, pits her reconstructive skills against a bunch of Hell's Angels with a taste for ultra-violence. Hardly has she pieced together the jigsaw fragments of identical twins, before she finds herself engaged in identifying the teenage girl whose skull and long bones turned up near the grave of some earlier victims of inter-gang strife. Her sweetheart Ryan is under investigation for corruption; her nephew is sleeping on the sofa and showing an unholy fascination with bikes and bikers; and Tempe is having a series of really bad hair days. In addition to the usual fascinating material about the identification of human bones, Reichs tells us all about the way in which biker gangs have become a serious part of the criminal underworld, a subculture with a taste for mayhem and with rules it is death to break. Tempe is on her usual brittle good form--a woman torn between her cold clinical intelligence and a crusading desire to avenge the helpless that regularly brings her into conflict with more quietly committed colleagues. This is an excellent thriller that combines real intelligence with a radical social anger. --Roz Kaveney 

My Thoughts:
It's been a couple of weeks since I read this book, as I went right into the fourth book in the series before writing reviews.  I was watching Bones on my day off, and it reminded me how much I enjoyed Kathy Reichs' novels.  Deadly Decisions was no different.

I enjoyed this novel quite a bit as it combined mystery, science, and a unique approach to Tempe Brennan.  Different than the other two novels, the story was interesting and unique in it's concept of biker-related crime.  As Tempe's  main go-to guy Ryan was under investigation, she was forced to go through different channels for investigation, making the plot less predictable.

As I have read from other reviewers, the mystery is a bit far-fetched in some of the connections.  But, as I have said before, I always think mysteries are full of random connections.  This novel was a bit different in that though a family member was involved, the outcome of that involvement was not the same as the beginning two.  I'm sure this is making no sense, but without spoilers, just take me on my word that this one is different.

I think the major part of enjoyment for me in this novel is the science that is applied to solving a mystery.  Though others may disagree with me, it's why I love Bones as well.  I find the different approaches to studying the bones interesting, especially as Tempe looks into a twins and systematically searching for bones underground.  Though Ms. Reichs did not add the normal, fun romance intrigue into this novel (as Ryan is busy being under investigation), the novel did not suffer.  I still found it to be fast-paced, generally unpredictable, and scientifically interesting.

I rated this novel a 4 out of 5 because I read the entire thing in one day and I greatly enjoyed it.  After having read several of Reichs' novels, I can happily say that in a couple of years I will want to read them again (having forgotten all of the little details).  I loved Deadly Decisions, and I would rate Kathy Reichs as one of my favorite mystery novelists.  Though it had flaws (hence no 5), I would recommend it to any mystery lover and fan of crime TV shows.  It's like having your own script and backstage pass to any mystery show for you to enjoy at your leisure.

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