Book Review: Carved in Bone – Jefferson Bass [TSS]

Title: Carved in Bone
Author: Jefferson Bass
ISBN: 9780060759827
Pages: 352
Release Date: December 26, 2006
Publisher: Harper
Genre: Mystery
Source: Personal Copy
Rating: 4 out of 5

Summary:

Dr. Bill Brockton is the founder of the infamous Body Farm in Tennessee.  When he is called in to investigate the remains of a woman found in a cave, he inadvertently gets in the middle of a years-old feud and realizes that is surrounded by people he can’t trust.

Review:

Carved in Bone is the first of the Body Farm novels, written by Dr. Bill Bass, the founder of the Body Farm, and Jon Jefferson.  If you are unfamiliar with the Body Farm, it is a field laboratory affiliated with the University of Tennessee in which scientists investigate how human bodies decompose in different circumstances.  It’s incredibly grisly, but invaluable for investigations into dead bodies, as it provides information that would be difficult to come by otherwise.

The setting of the Tennessee Body Farm means that, of course, there are graphic descriptions of body decomposition.  While I am squeamish about this sort of thing, it was never enough to truly bother me, but if you’re wary, this might not be the book for you.  I found the different experiments and procedures really interesting, especially considering the fact that the actual Body Farm founder is one of the authors, so I knew the information was accurate.

Bill Brockton is an interesting, if damaged, character.  He hasn’t quite come to terms with his wife’s death and is estranged from his son.  Because the focus of the book is on the forensic details, Dr. Brockton comes across as a little bit flat, but I believe he will develop more over future novels.

The mystery is engaging, if relatively straightforward.  All in all, Carved in Bone was a completely entertaining and fast read.  It never lost my attention, nor did I guess the ending (though I would have loved a few more twists and turns).  It’s a promising start to the Body Farm series, and I look forward to reading the rest of Jefferson Bass’ books.

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Comments

  1. If you liked this one, then I think you will enjoy the rest of the series. I am from Knoxville, I was a student at UT, and I worked in the hospital’s lab. I used to smell the farm on hot summer days. The thing that I like most about the series is the attention to detail, particularly with the setting. Even the drive times and street names are correct. Many of the novels are based on Dr. Bass’ real cases.

    There are two non-fiction works, too – Death’s Acre and Beyond the Body Farm. They are published under the two separate names, Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson, instead of the combo Jefferson Bass. If you haven’t read them, I recommend checking them out.

  2. If you liked this one, then I think you will enjoy the rest of the series. I am from Knoxville, I was a student at UT, and I worked in the hospital’s lab. I used to smell the farm on hot summer days. The thing that I like most about the series is the attention to detail, particularly with the setting. Even the drive times and street names are correct. Many of the novels are based on Dr. Bass’ real cases.

    There are two non-fiction works, too – Death’s Acre and Beyond the Body Farm. They are published under the two separate names, Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson, instead of the combo Jefferson Bass. If you haven’t read them, I recommend checking them out.

  3. Ever since reading Stiff a few years ago, I have always found the Body Farm to be fascinatingly repugnant, but also really interesting. I can imagine that a series of books focused around it would be really intriguing and also slightly gross. I am not usually deterred by gross; I just have to be in the right mood for it. It sounds like you enjoyed this one, and I will be interested to hear what you think of the consecutive books when you get to them. As of right now, this one goes on my list!

  4. Ever since reading Stiff a few years ago, I have always found the Body Farm to be fascinatingly repugnant, but also really interesting. I can imagine that a series of books focused around it would be really intriguing and also slightly gross. I am not usually deterred by gross; I just have to be in the right mood for it. It sounds like you enjoyed this one, and I will be interested to hear what you think of the consecutive books when you get to them. As of right now, this one goes on my list!

  5. I’ve read about the Body Farm in the Patricia Cornwell books so this sounds fascinating to me.

  6. I’ve read about the Body Farm in the Patricia Cornwell books so this sounds fascinating to me.

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