Books are cheaper than heroin, but they DO add up....

Amy, Carrie, Chanin and Sarah buy (and read and review) their own stuff. They've been known to shop around from dealer to dealer looking for the best price. If you're interested in slipping them something to try out, just contact us.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs

Dear Kathy Reichs,

We need to talk.

First, I'd like to tell you that I love your Temperance Brennan series.  I read a lot of murder mysteries, especially in the sub-category of police procedurals, and you write a mean one.  Flash and Bones is no exception.  In fact, much about the plot and character interactions make it one of your betters ones.  Because Tempe is a forensic pathologist, her experience and wisdom can be used in ways that seem pretty dry to me.  Flash and Bones with its missing persons case elements involves a lot more outside-the-lab investigating; it's hard to lecture on skeletal forensics when one set of remains is confiscated by the FBI and two sets of remains are discovered late in the tale.  That keeps the more pedantic elements of some of Tempe's adventures absent from in this one.

I'm giving a thumbs up to this book despite its NASCAR elements.  I'm not a race girl.  But who can resist a mystery that starts out with a body encased in asphalt in a metal drum and found at a landfill?  And, really, who can resist a cryptic tale of confiscated remains, two missing persons, poisons, a possible federal conspiracy AND white supremacists?   It's a really good book because it doesn't even seem like too much to consider for one story while you're reading it.

Like I said, I'm a fan.

But that brings me to my second point.  As a fan who's read all the books in the series and also faithfully watches Bones* on Fox, I feel like I've got a vested interest in how the series continues to develop.  So for the sake of plausibility and continuity, stop messing around with Pete and Charlie and NASCAR security guys; get Tempe and Ryan back together**.


I was wildly unamused when Tempe implied that Ryan was a philanderer.  She's MARRIED in what must be the longest, dumbest, most drown-out divorce in the history of the written word. Ryan offered her a commitment.  She refused.  Therefore, she gets to pass no judgments (especially inaccurate ones) on Ryan.

This is not a romantic tangent of mine. This is a comment on the procedure of presenting police procedurals.  Pete is annoying and adds no value to the stories.  Charlie is a flat, poorly-developed character introduced in my least favorite Tempe book of all times***.  The NASCAR guy was a one book character. (I hope).  Ryan, however, is a cop.  More importantly, he's a cop who likes Tempe and appreciates her input in police matters.  Ryan provides Tempe plausible involvement with police investigations, gets her outside of her lab and away from the pedantry.

And, of course, he's hot.  But that's a side issue.

In every police procedural on TV that is not based on a character created by Kathy Reichs, the medical examiners get, at best, two scenes per episode--once at the scene of the crime, once in the morgue. That would make for a limited set-up for a crime solving medical examiner, but in order to expand Tempe's scope there needs to be a reason a cop lets her tag along. A good reason.  (These stories are too good for sloppy logic.)   Love works for me.  It should work for you, too, but if it doesn't consider the shared history and hours that Tempe and Ryan have logged.  You know they work well together.  Let them continue to do so.

I know this is a matter of opinion, but, as I said, I'm a fan


*Bones is based on the Temperance Brennan character from the books.  Beyond sharing a name, profession, and good storytelling, there is little resemblance between TV Tempe and book Tempe.

**From the beginning of the series, Tempe has been separated from her husband, Pete.  I try to pretend that he doesn't exist.  Charlie is an old-flame who has tried to rekindle youthful interests.  I try to pretend he doesn't exist.  The NASCAR security guy is a pivotal character in Flash and Bones.  He's new, and from here on out, I'll pretend like he doesn't exist.  Ryan is a cop in Quebec.  He's pretty.  He speaks French.  He loves a strong, smart woman.  I try to pretend I'll meet him someday.

*** I will not name this book because, in my mind, it doesn't exist.

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