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Fatal Voyage    by Kathy Reichs order for
Fatal Voyage
by Kathy Reichs
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2001 (2001)
Hardcover, Audio, CD

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* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Fatal Voyage is the fourth volume in a series about forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. I looked forward to its tying up the loose end of Andrew Ryan's undercover assignment in Deadly Decisions and hoped to see some evolution of the relationship between the good doctor and the detective. However I was disappointed in both. Ryan simply appears on the scene after presumably completing his assignment and having his name cleared, and his long drawn out relationship with Tempe is strung out even further - you have to feel sorry for the poor man even if he is preoccupied with Danielle (about whom little is known until the end of the book).

As a member of DMORT (the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team), Temperance is asked to join the group investigating a plane crash in the North Carolina mountains. An Air TransSouth flight has gone down along with eighty-eight passengers and crew, including someone close to Tempe. Details of this sort of tragedy, the infrastructure brought in to deal with it, and the author's own background in the field, give Reichs' works strong credibility. This time the gruesome details were at times overwhelming, as indeed they would be for the investigators.

Fatal Voyage is a tale of events driven by serendipity - the tragedy itself and then the horrors (current and historical) that are uncovered during its investigation. Reichs throws out many red herrings along the route, and there are attempts from on high to discredit her heroine, who must deal with the cold shoulder from old friends as well as a media feeding frenzy. She has a brief fling with her sympathetic ex and babysits his dog Boyd (if she can't have Ryan, I guess Boyd is a loyal substitute), while fending off attempts on her life.

Reichs always provides a great read, and while this one was weak on relationships and a little disjointed in the middle, it came to a satisfying crescendo at the end ... and since Tempe did find out the identity of the woman preoccupying Ryan, there may be hope for them yet.

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