Reviews of Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs

Grave Secrets

A Novel

by Kathy Reichs

Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs X
Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2002, 336 pages

    Paperback:
    Jul 2003, 400 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Dr Temperance Brennan finds herself in a dangerous web that stretches far beyond Guatemala's borders in a powerful, page-turning book that combines riveting authenticity with witty, elegant prose.

It was a summer morning in 1982 when soldiers ravaged the village of Chupan Ya, raping and killing women and children. Twenty-three victims are said to lie in the well where, twenty years later, Dr. Temperance Brennan and a team from the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation now dig. No records were kept. To their families, the dead are "the disappeared."

Forensic anthropologist for the medical examiners in North Carolina and Montreal, Tempe is in Guatemala for a month's service to help some families identify and bury their dead. She digs in a cold, damp pit where she finds a hair clip, a fragment of cloth, a tiny sneaker. Her trowel touches something hard: the hip of a child no more than two years old.

It's heartbreaking work. Something savage happened here twenty years ago. The violence continues today. The team is packing up for the day when an urgent satellite call comes in. Two colleagues are under attack. Shots ring out, and Tempe listens in horror to a woman's screams. Then there is silence. Dead silence.

With this new violence, everything changes, both for the team and for Tempe, who's asked by the Guatemalan police for her expertise on another case. Four privileged young women have vanished from Guatemala City in recent months. One is the Canadian ambassador's daughter. Some remains have turned up in a septic tank, and Tempe unfortunately knows septic tanks.

Teaming with Special Crimes Investigator Bartolomé Galiano, and with Montreal detective Andrew Ryan, who may have more than just professional reasons to join her on the case, Tempe soon finds herself in a dangerous web that stretches far beyond Guatemala's borders. The stakes are huge. As power, money, greed, and science converge, Tempe must make life-altering choices.

From cutting-edge science in the lab, where Tempe studies fetal bones and cat hair DNA, to a chilling en-counter in a lonely morgue, Grave Secrets is powerful, page-turning entertainment from a crime fiction superstar who combines riveting authenticity with witty, elegant prose.

Chapter 1

"I am dead. They killed me as well."

The old woman's words cut straight to my heart.

"Please tell me what happened that day." Maria spoke so softly I had to strain to catch the Spanish.

"I kissed the little ones and left for market." Eyes down, voice toneless. "I did not know that I would never see them again."

K'akchiquel to Spanish, then reversing the linguistic loop, reversing again as answers followed questions. The translation did nothing to blunt the horror of the recitation.

"When did you return home, Señora Ch'i'p?"

"A que hora regreso usted a su casa, Señora Ch'i'p?"

"Chike ramaj xatzalij pa awachoch, Ixoq Ch'i'p?"


"Late afternoon. I'd sold my beans."

"The house was burning?"

"Yes."

"Your family was inside?"

A nod.

I watched the speakers. An ancient Mayan woman, her middle-aged son, the young cultural anthropologist Maria Paiz, calling up a memory too terrible for ...

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!

Reviews

Media Reviews

Booklist - Stephanie Zvirin
Not up to the level of some of Reichs' past work, including Death du Jour (1999), but still well worth reading.

Publishers Weekly
...the author keeps the twists coming, and by the novel's climax, she has skillfully interwoven her many subplots and red herrings into a satisfying puddle of sex, sleaze, greed and gore.

Library Journal - Leslie Madden
Often compared with Patricia Cornwell, Reichs, a forensic anthropologist herself, effectively balances the story with scientific and medical details. However, this novel contains graphic descriptions and is not for weak stomachs.

Author Blurb Anne Rivers Siddons
If there is anyone as good at the forensic thriller, I don't know who it is. Kathy Reichs's science is cold and elegant, and her characters are warm and complex. The result is irresistible.

Reader Reviews

KBRO

Grave Secrets
I really enjoyed this book. I liked that I had just learned about "the dissappeared" in a Spanish class and I had wanted to learn more about it. I have read all the other books of Reichs' and I this was one of the four or so that I really ...   Read More
sarah johns

i read all your books and total ador them all, i wish only to be intellecual and brave like you.
andrea leger

Grave Secrets is a book that is well worth reading. Although Kathy Reichs books are fiction, the facts surrounding the characters are well researched and true. The atrocities mentioned in the book took place during the bloody 36 year civil war. My ...   Read More
cathy

What a boring book. Did we really have to read time after time that heroine had a shower and was to tired to eat. No local color.
This book was a total waste of money.

Write your own review!

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!

Readalikes

Read-alikes Full readalike results are for members only

More books by Kathy Reichs

If you liked Grave Secrets, try these:

  • The Stone Girl jacket

    The Stone Girl

    by Dirk Wittenborn

    Published 2021

    About this book

    More by this author

    The Stone Girl is a riveting tale of deception, vengeance, and power set against the haunting beauty of the Adirondack wilderness.

  • In the Midst of Winter jacket

    In the Midst of Winter

    by Isabel Allende

    Published 2018

    About this book

    More by this author

    New York Times and worldwide bestselling "dazzling storyteller" (Associated Press) Isabel Allende returns with a sweeping novel about three very different people who are brought together in a mesmerizing story that journeys from present-day Brooklyn to Guatemala in the recent past to 1970s Chile and Brazil.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member
Search read-alikes again
How we choose readalikes
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: The Poet's House
    The Poet's House
    by Jean Thompson
    Seasoned author Jean Thompson's previous novels include A Cloud in the Shape of a Girl, The Humanity...
  • Book Jacket
    Some of It Was Real
    by Nan Fischer
    Nan Fischer is an Oregon Book Award finalist for her previous novels When Elephants Fly and The ...
  • Book Jacket: The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    The Most Precious Substance on Earth
    by Shashi Bhat
    Think of all the worst parts of puberty — all the moments you partially miss or brood about ...
  • Book Jacket
    Lightning Strike
    by William Kent Krueger
    It is the summer of 1963 in Tamarack County, Minnesota. Just outside the small town of Aurora, ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
All the Lonely People
by Mike Gayle
A cozy novel for fans of A Man Called Ove. A widowed retiree will rediscover the world he’s turned his back on.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Dirt Creek
    by Hayley Scrivenor

    "A heart-wrenching mystery, Scrivenor's remarkable sense of place brings Dirt Creek to life. A stellar debut."
    —Jane Harper,

  • Book Jacket

    Widowland
    by C. J. Carey

    A thrilling feminist dystopian novel set in an alternate 1950s Britain under the control of the Third Reich.

Who Said...

Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint.

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

I Wishes W H B W R

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.