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Bones of the Lost
by Kathy Reichs
Series: Temperance Brennan #16
Sixteenth in the Temperance Brennan forensics mystery series and revolving around a forensics anthropologist, who is based in North Carolina for this story…with a side trip to Afghanistan.
Yep, Tempe has a chance to visit with Katy on the battlefield. —Katy reckons she’s got the only mom to come visit her at work, lol.
I do hate it when I miss a book in a series. There’s always something I miss that knocks me back a bit. So now I finally get to find out why Katy enlisted. It was Coop’s death, her landlord and boyfriend, when an IED blew him up, and the fact that Coop’s family barred her from his funeral.
I don’t know why it bugs me that Tempe keeps sticking her nose into investigations. It never used to, or Tempe never used to do it to this extent. I’d have to go back and read the early stories to figure that one out. Of course, it could simply be that I prefer her operating in Montreal. With Ryan *eyebrow waggle*.
I like to think I’m not a prejudiced or bigoted person, but I’m with Tempe. I despise the Taliban. I guess I’m too much of an American who expects freedom to say what I like, to pursue what I like. That I’m a woman shouldn’t make a difference. The attitude and actions of any group of people who deny women (or men) opportunities and equal rights, who abuse and kill women, who destroy the artifacts and heritage of a group of people and claim it’s what their “bible” says, is wrong in my book. A people who blame the woman when she’s gang raped. Besides, I keep trying to figure out how “big, strong men” can possibly think women are so powerful that seeing our hair or face or part of a body can “overpower” a man. Sounds to me as if they’re the weak ones, desperate to cover that fact up.
“The … monster was the one with a conscience. The … patriot warrior had venom in his veins.”
It’s a round-about story that feels somewhat contrived what with Tempe being routed to Afghanistan, the hang-up calls, the “melodrama” of Tempe’s fears, and the murdered young girl which all tie up at the end. Why would the young Afghani girl think Tempe could do anything? From the sound of it, that photo was precious. Why trust Tempe?
Geez, isn’t that why Tempe was sent to Afghanistan in the first place? To look at the murdered Afghanis’ bones? To figure out his fate? Duhh, why ask such a stupid question…
Tempe and Slidell sure do jump to a lot of conclusions in this with a promo at the end about human trafficking. I heartily agree that trafficking in people is about the lowest thing you can do, but Reichs can do better than this info dumping. It reads more like oh,yeah, I gotta get this info dumped in somewhere. I’ll just plop it here.
Then there’s that trope I hate, the one that finds the heroine rushing off into danger without backup. Or her phone. Duh, what?
I did like Tempe’s ending comment about the world also being “full of good people determined to right wrongs”.
When Charlotte police discover the body of a teenage girl along a desolate stretch of two-lane highway, Temperance Brennan fears the worst, for the girl’s body shows signs of foul play — before and after. Can that bundle of Peruvian dog mummies be a connection between the trafficking of antiquities and the girl’s murder?
As the case deepens, Tempe must also grapple with personal turmoil. Her daughter Katy impulsively enlists in the Army. Meanwhile Pete, is frustrated by Tempe’s reluctance to finalize their divorce.
As pressure mounts from all corners, Tempe soon finds herself at the center of a conspiracy that extends all the way to South America, to Afghanistan, and right to the center of Charlotte.
Temperance Brennan is a forensics anthropologist who splits her time between Mecklenburg County and Montreal in Canada with some side work as a civilian consultant to the Joint POW-MIA Accounting Command. Birdie is her cat. Katy is her and Pete’s daughter currently stationed in Afghanistan. Pete, a.k.a., Janis Petersons, is Tempe’s about-to-be-ex husband and a lawyer. Boyd is his dog. Summer is the bimbo he’s about to marry. Tempe reckons her breast size is bigger than her IQ. Harry, a.k.a., Harriet Brennan Howard Daewood Crone, is her more worldly sister, in the sense of Christian Louboutin pumps, anyway. Harry’s son, Kit, has a new teenage daughter, Tory.
Lieutenant détective Andrew Ryan works homicide at the Sûreté du Québec in Montreal, and he’s Tempe’s currently-off boyfriend. Pete refers to him as Monsieur Le Dick. Lily is the daughter Ryan didn’t know existed until a few years ago. Charlie, a brothel-raised parrot, is shared between Ryan and Tempe.
Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s office is…
…in Charlotte, North Carolina. Dr. Tim Larabee is her boss. Mrs. Eunice Flowers is their receptionist. John Hawkins is the most senior of the autopsy techs. She frequently clashes with Detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell. Detective Theresa Madrid is his partner. Officer Rodriguez is part of the team.
…Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The stiff Luther Dew is the agent working the mummified-dog case.
Hunter Gross is a lawyer friend of Pete’s. Hunter has a nephew in trouble, Marine Second Lieutenant John Gross, a platoon leader in Afghanistan. Now he’s at Camp LeJeune awaiting an Article 32 hearing. Corporal Grant Eggers has accused Gross of murder.
Cheryl Connelly is a missing person. Rosalie D’Ostillo works as a waitress at Taquería Mixcoatl. Candy is the young murdered girl. Allison Stallings is a crime reporter at the Charlotte Observer. Jett is a new prosecutor. Lydia Dreos is the teacher who found the girl. Shannon King works a convenience store.
John-Henry Story supposedly burned to death last April. He had had his fingers in a number of pies, including S&S Enterprises, a holding company for other companies which include a bar called John-Henry’s Tavern with Sam Poland as the bartender and Linda is a customer. The Passion Fruit is a rub-and-tug run by Mrs. Tarzec. Archer Story is John-Henry’s younger brother who has a stake in S&S along with Harold Millkin, Grover Pharr, and Dominic Rockett, a veteran of Desert Storm 1990 who came home disfigured and imports folk art from around the world. Jean Pruet is a French private security contract worker with a plan.
Cecil Converse “CC” Creach has spent almost half his life behind bars; Zeno is a friend. Ray Earl Majerick is a nasty man.
Captain Maida Welsted, base ops, will meet Tempe at Bagram. Scott Blanton has been with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service for fourteen years. Lieutenant Noonan is with the Judge Advocate General’s Corps (JAG). Gloria Fisher is the base operations commander in Bagram. Reuben is in charge at the gun range. Gunnery Sergeant Werner Sharpe interviewed participants. Captain Wayne Hightower is Gross’ company commander. Lieutenant Colonel Walter Roberts is the battalion commander. Colonel Craig Andrews is the commanding officer of RCT 6. Sergeant Mensforth and Elkins helped Tempe with transport.
Ahmad Ali Aqsaee and Abdul Khalik Rasekh are the local nationals Gross is accused of murdering. Khandan is the young Afghani girl whose father, Hayel, wanted her to hush. Ara was his niece from Sheyn Bagh; Gulpari is her mother whose other daughter, Noushin, was brutally treated by her husband’s family. Huma came from a village nearby.
Lieutenant Colonel Frank Keever is the Article 32 investigating officer. Major Christopher Nelson is the government counsel. Major Joseph Hawthorn is counsel for the accused. Master Sergeant Earl Rigg handles Tempe’s transport.
A forensics anthropologist works with the dead for whom a normal autopsy won’t work: skeletal, mummified, decomposed, dismembered, burned, or mutilated. NamUs, a.k.a., National Missing and Unidentified Persons System, is a centralized data bank of missing persons, free, online, and available to everyone.
The Cover and Title
The cover has a black background with a greenish gold color in the fonts used for the author’s name, the title, series information, and the blurbs. For some reason, there’s a dog leaping into the picture in an embossed and gleaming gold foil.
The title becomes the clue, for it’s the Bones of the Lost that tip Tempe off.