Excerpt from Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Bare Bones

by Kathy Reichs

Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs X
Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2003, 320 pages

    Paperback:
    May 2004, 416 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


I shut the computer down and leaned back in my chair.

What would I say to Gideon Banks?

Bad luck, Mr. Banks. Looks like your youngest gave birth, wrapped the tyke in a blanket, and used him as kindling.

Good, Brennan.

Wham-o! The visual cells sent up a new mental image. Banks pulling a Kodak print from a cracked leather wallet. Six brown faces. Close haircuts for the boys, pigtails for the girls. All with teeth too big for the smiles.

Zoom out.

The old man beaming over the photo, adamant that each child would go to college.

Did they?

No idea.

I slipped off my lab coat and hung it on the hook behind my door.

If the Banks kids had attended UNC-Charlotte while I was on the faculty, they'd shown little interest in anthropology. I'd met only one. Reggie, a son midrange in the offspring chronology, had taken my human evolution course.

The memory cells offered a gangly kid in a baseball cap, brim low over razor-blade brows. Last row in the lecture hall. A intellect, C+ effort.

How long ago? Fifteen years? Eighteen?

I'd worked with a lot of students back then. In those days my research focused on the ancient dead, and I'd taught several undergraduate classes. Bioarchaeology. Osteology. Primate ecology.

One morning an anthro grad showed up at my lab. A homicide detective with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD, she'd brought bones recovered from a shallow grave. Could her former prof determine if the remains were those of a missing child?

I could. They were.

That case was my first encounter with coroner work. Today the only seminar I teach is in forensic anthropology, and I commute between Charlotte and Montreal serving as forensic anthropologist to each jurisdiction.

The geography had been difficult when I'd taught full-time, requiring complex choreography within the academic calendar. Now, save for the duration of that single seminar, I shift as needed. A few weeks north, a few weeks south, longer when casework or court testimony requires.

North Carolina and Quebec? Long story.

My academic colleagues call what I do "applied." Using my knowledge of bones, I tease details from cadavers and skeletons, or parts thereof, too compromised for autopsy. I give names to the skeletal, the decomposed, the mummified, the burned, and the mutilated, who might otherwise go to anonymous graves. For some, I determine the manner and time of their passing.

With Tamela's baby there'd been but a cup of charred fragments. A newborn is chump change to a woodstove.

Mr. Banks, I'm so sorry to have to tell you, but --

My cell phone sounded.

"Yo, Doc. I'm parked out front." Skinny Slidell. Of the twenty-four detectives in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg PD Felony Investigative Bureau/Homicide Unit, perhaps my least favorite.

"Be right there."

I'd been in Charlotte several weeks when an informant's tip led to the shocking discovery in the woodstove. The bones had come to me. Slidell and his partner had caught the case as a homicide. They'd tossed the scene, tracked down witnesses, taken statements. Everything led to Tamela Banks.

I shouldered my purse and laptop and headed out. In passing, I stuck my head into the autopsy room. Larabee looked up from his gunshot victim and waggled a gloved finger in warning.

My reply was an exaggerated eye roll.

The Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner facility occupies one end of a featureless brick shoebox that entered life as a Sears Garden Center. The other end of the shoebox houses satellite offices of the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department. Devoid of architectural charm save a slight rounding of the edges, the building is surrounded by enough asphalt to pave Rhode Island.

Copyright © 2003 by Temperance Brennan, L.P.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    Stories from the Tenants Downstairs
    by Sidik Fofana
    'Everybody got a story, everybody got a tale / Question is: Is it despair or prevail?' ...
  • Book Jacket: Fire Season
    Fire Season
    by Leyna Krow
    Fire Season is a thoroughly enjoyable novel that touches upon multiple genres and themes. It ...
  • Book Jacket: The Story of Russia
    The Story of Russia
    by Orlando Figes
    In The Story of Russia, British historian and writer Orlando Figes shares panoramic and ...
  • Book Jacket: Moth
    Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

Book Club Giveaway!
Win A Minor Chorus

A Minor Chorus

A debut novel from a rising literary star that brings the modern queer and Indigenous experience into sharp relief.

Enter

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.