Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs ****

Kathy Reichs published a number of novels about Temperance Brennan before the successful TV series Bones, based on these novels, premiered in 2005.

Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs was the sixth in the series. While I imagine many people came to the TV show after reading the novels, I watched ten seasons of the TV series before reading one of the novels. While the books are well written, I was disappointed.

First, on the TV show, Temperance Brennan is a unique, intelligent woman, while in the book she is much like so many other investigators. Her special skills as a forensic anthropologist play less of a role in an entire novel than in any single TV show. Second, the TV show had an ensemble of interesting characters, while the novel had mostly stock secondary characters.

This is clearly a case where the expanse of over 200 episodes allowed for more character development than the more restricted tableau of a handful of novels.

As a technology aside, this book, published in 2003, shows how much technology has changed. On a single page, the 2003 novel mentions AOL, photographic film, and payphones, all of which are pretty much gone.

If you are coming to this book after being a fan of the TV show, be prepared to be disappointed by the limited range of the book. While the TV show felt like something special, the books though well-written, but ordinary mysteries.

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