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Devil Bones    by Kathy Reichs order for
Devil Bones
by Kathy Reichs
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2008 (2008)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I always enjoy spending time with feisty, forty-plus forensic anthropologist Temperance 'Tempe' Brennan, whether in Montreal, Quebec or Charlotte, North Carolina. As the story opens in the latter location, she's called out of a boring academic meeting to a homicide scene, found in an underground chamber uncovered in a house renovation. She finds human remains, an altar, a cheap plaster statue and other ritual remnants.

Working with Tempe on the case is homicide detective Skinny Slidell - as Tempe muses, 'The guy's got the personality of a blocked nostril. But good instincts.' As other cases involving Santeria, voodoo, and brujeria come up, there are regular leaks to the press and speculations of devil worship that quickly attract the attention of fundamentalist preacher/politician Boyce Lingo. When he arouses Tempe's ire by exploiting the killings - and after she shames herself by falling off the wagon - she gets in serious trouble with her bosses by speaking out against him and creating a 'public image nightmare'. As if that weren't enough to confuse and complicate Tempe's life, her ex-lover Ryan appears on the scene, after leaving her to attempt a reconciliation with his ex for his daughter's sake. It didn't work out and now Tempe wonders if she wants the melodrama of their relationship back in her life.

Of course they solve the puzzles together - and leave their relationship on hold, as always. Tempe sagely sums the case up by telling Ryan that 'Americans have become a nation afraid ... We fear terrorists, snipers, hurricanes, epidemics ... We feel powerless and that causes constant anxiety, makes us fear things we don't understand.' Something to think about as you enjoy reading Devil Bones.

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