[Published 1998 by Random House UK. First published 1997]
Here in South Africa, we are a little behind when it comes to TV series. Years ago, I watched the first season of ‘Bones’ on a local channel and loved it, so I was enormously excited when I saw that it was scheduled on Fox. We are now on season 3 and I am fused to the couch at 7.30 every night to watch it.
I recently found out that the characters are based on Temperance Brennan from the books by forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs. I wasn’t feeling particularly hopeful when I went to look for it at our local library (which doesn’t stock much of what I would like to read), but there they were – the series of books – waiting for me to read.
‘Deja Dead’ maps Tempe Brennan as she moves from crime scene to the lab (and, most times, on to conduct her own investigations) trying to find a serial killer from the remains of his brutally-attacked victims. As the investigation becomes personal, the intensity is heightened as it becomes a race against the clock to catch the criminal before he kills again.
This book has all of the ingredients for a thrilling crime novel and I couldn’t get to the end of one chapter without carrying on to the next – needing the story to unfold and for the killer to be revealed to calm my thumping heart. On top of the traditional elements of a crime novel, we are given insight into the intricacies of forensic anthropology and how the most telling clues are often marked upon the body, needing to be decoded by someone with the expertise to understand the natural and unnatural effects of life on our bones. It is dark, it is disturbing, it is the things that happen in society we would probably prefer to ignore, but it captures our imaginations nonetheless.