Book Review: Deja Dead – Kathy Reichs

Title: Deja Dead
Author: Kathy Reichs
ISBN: 9781416570981
Pages: 416
Release Date: September 2, 1997
Publisher: Pocket
Genre: Mystery
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist working in Montreal.  She has recently divorced her husband and her daughter is away at college, so Temperance feels alone in the world.  When a set of bones is discovered in the city, Temperance is immediately able to determine that they’re from a recent murder.  As she discovers more about the victim, Temperance begins to come to her own conclusions about the case and realizes that she has to do more digging if she’s going to solve it.

Review:

As part of my mystery kick, I’ve been reading some books on forensic anthropology.  I’m not normally one who enjoys gory descriptions, but I still find the work these anthropologists do fascinating.  Admittedly, Deja Dead was one of the more difficult, descriptive books I’ve read on the subject, but for good reason – Kathy Reichs herself is a forensic anthropologist, and it’s clear she knows exactly what she’s talking about.

I had mixed feelings on Temperance Brennan.  On one hand, she was smart, savvy, and determined to find the killer.  She put everything she knew and had learned to the test as she tried to figure out the culprit.  At the same time, though, she did some really stupid things that she was way too smart for.  When you establish a character that smart (as Temperance seems to be), having them take unnecessary risks seems out of character.  Temperance often strikes out on her own in this book, knowing full well she has no way of defending herself and there’s a good chance she’ll be killed.  This isn’t due to a lack of options on Temperance’s part, but rather an impulsiveness that seems to drive her.  I often was frustrated with the risks she took and wished she would be smarter about these things, especially because she was really too smart to be doing them.

The mystery in Deja Dead was very interesting.  At times, I felt like everything tied together a little too neatly, but as I understood more about the case, it all made sense.  Reichs definitely keeps the reader guessing.  Additionally, the setting of Montreal really adds to the book.  Reichs brings the city to life in Deja Dead, really giving the reader a sense of what it’s like.

Despite my quibbles with Temperance Brennan, I really did enjoy  Deja Dead.  The quality of the mystery and the interesting nature of Temperance’s work make up for my frustrations with her character, so I’ll definitely be reading the next book in the series.

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Comments

  1. I have been wanting to read this series. I did a bit (twice) of forensic work and I’ve done extensive skeletal analysis. I find the field fascinating.

  2. I have been wanting to read this series. I did a bit (twice) of forensic work and I’ve done extensive skeletal analysis. I find the field fascinating.

  3. I discovered these books when we lived in Charlotte and one of the things I like about them is that most of the time they are set in Charlotte for a small part of the book. Goofy, I know, but that’s the way it is.

  4. I discovered these books when we lived in Charlotte and one of the things I like about them is that most of the time they are set in Charlotte for a small part of the book. Goofy, I know, but that’s the way it is.

  5. Have you seen Bones, the television series based on this book series? It’s very loosely based on Reichs’ life.

  6. Have you seen Bones, the television series based on this book series? It’s very loosely based on Reichs’ life.

  7. Although I am a fan of the series, I couldn’t agree with you more about the inconsistencies in Brennan’s actions. The forensics hold their own – no need for silly antics!

  8. Although I am a fan of the series, I couldn’t agree with you more about the inconsistencies in Brennan’s actions. The forensics hold their own – no need for silly antics!

  9. This is the only book in this series I’ve read, and I liked it but I have yet to read anymore. Do you watch Bones?

  10. This is the only book in this series I’ve read, and I liked it but I have yet to read anymore. Do you watch Bones?

  11. Clare & Amy – I don’t watch Bones! I’ve heard great things, but while I can read about grisly forensics, I don’t think I could stomach watching it.

  12. Clare & Amy – I don’t watch Bones! I’ve heard great things, but while I can read about grisly forensics, I don’t think I could stomach watching it.

  13. I haven’t read any of the Temperance Brennan books, but your review has me a little intrigued. I think it might bother me a bit that the main character acts so rashly, but I might be able to get over that, if the story is good enough. Excellent review. I will have to see about picking this one up!

  14. I haven’t read any of the Temperance Brennan books, but your review has me a little intrigued. I think it might bother me a bit that the main character acts so rashly, but I might be able to get over that, if the story is good enough. Excellent review. I will have to see about picking this one up!

  15. I’ve been wanting to read these books ever since I watched Bones. Will get my hands on them soon, hopefully.

    I love forensic detection in all its forms!

  16. I’ve been wanting to read these books ever since I watched Bones. Will get my hands on them soon, hopefully.

    I love forensic detection in all its forms!

  17. Anonymous says:

    thanks for the post

  18. Anonymous says:

    thanks for the post

  19. I think I read a couple of her books years ago when I was on a forensics kick and remember enjoying them. Is this the same series as the TV ‘Bones’? I think I read somewhere that it is.

  20. I think I read a couple of her books years ago when I was on a forensics kick and remember enjoying them. Is this the same series as the TV ‘Bones’? I think I read somewhere that it is.

  21. I’ve read the first three books in this series so far and I do have the next one on my nook already so I’ll get to it sometime. I totally agree with your mixed feelings. I struggle with a smart character I like but who continues to make stupid decisions that pur her in danger. Nevertheless the next two after this one were also enjoyable and I am looking forward to continuing with the series.

  22. I’ve read the first three books in this series so far and I do have the next one on my nook already so I’ll get to it sometime. I totally agree with your mixed feelings. I struggle with a smart character I like but who continues to make stupid decisions that pur her in danger. Nevertheless the next two after this one were also enjoyable and I am looking forward to continuing with the series.

  23. My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  24. Anonymous says:

    My cousin recommended this blog and she was totally right keep up the fantastic work!

  25. My 13 year old loves CSI and wants to be a forensic scientist when she grows up. Can you tell me if this book would be ok for her? Is there a lot of sex/language? She’s a very advanced reader but she just turned 13.

  26. My 13 year old loves CSI and wants to be a forensic scientist when she grows up. Can you tell me if this book would be ok for her? Is there a lot of sex/language? She’s a very advanced reader but she just turned 13.

  27. This is one of my favorite series (I’ve read them all) and I also find some of her actions questionable for such a smart lady. But I LOVE these books and the TV series.

  28. This is one of my favorite series (I’ve read them all) and I also find some of her actions questionable for such a smart lady. But I LOVE these books and the TV series.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

  30. Anonymous says:

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed browsing your blog posts. In any case I’ll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you write again soon!

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