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Deadly Decisions    by Kathy Reichs order for
Deadly Decisions
by Kathy Reichs
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2001 (2000)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Deadly Decisions is the third in Reichs' engrossing series about Dr. Tempe Brennan, director of forensic anthropology for Quebec and university lecturer in Charlotte, North Carolina. This story begins at FBI headquarters in Quantico but the action moves quickly back to Brennan's usual haunts in Montreal, Canada, with the occasional foray to the Southern U.S.. I suppose the FBI had to get into this series at some point as they are big in Patricia Cornwell's books and it did give Tempe a chance to throw away one of her usual witty lines - 'When dealing with the FBI, one must be alphabet savvy'.

This time Tempe tangles with biker gangs - les motards in the Quebec vernacular. They are busy blowing each other up, which does not perturb the authorities greatly until a little 9 year old girl makes the 'deadly' decision to walk to her ballet lesson and gets caught in crossfire. This death disturbs and angers Dr. Brennan, who promptly volunteers to participate in a task force against the gangs. When her visiting nephew shows a dangerous interest and then develops contacts in the biker world, Tempe's involvement grows more personal. Could that choice be her own 'deadly decision'?

As usual with these novels, Reichs lays a variety of interesting trails for the reader to follow, one of them a cold case. With her usual bone detecting skills, Tempe discovers a link between the Montreal bikers and a long ago disappearance of a second girl, an older but more vulnerable one. This child was also killed and presents a mystery to be solved. Along with these emotionally demanding cases and the teenage nephew, Tempe has to deal with the arrest of Detective Ryan, her romantic interest from Death Du Jour, on serious drug charges.

Like Death Du Jour,Deadly Decisions is hard to put down, though I did not find it quite as gripping, perhaps due to Ryan's absence and the lack of romantic tension. The tale rises to a crescendo and then ends with Brennan giving a commitment to Sergeant-Detective Claudel to continue to team with him against les motards. It leaves Ryan's situation unresolved and reads like the first of a two part story. I for one look forward to finishing it.

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