deja dead book coverGenre: Mystery, Thriller, Murder, Suspense, Detective, Crime Fiction

Read… in a cafe down the street from my apartment while… sipping a latte and watching the Seattle rain outside.

Title: Déjà Dead

Publisher: Pocket Books

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Review: 5 out of 5 Stars

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Summary (from Goodreads): Her life is devoted to justice; for those she never even knew. In the year since Temperance Brennan left behind a shaky marriage in North Carolina, work has often preempted her weekend plans to explore Quebec. When a female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in trash bags, Temperance detects an alarming pattern and she plunges into a harrowing search for a killer. But her investigation is about to place those closest to her, her best friend and her own daughter in mortal danger…

Review:  I loved this book! Caveat: I came into this book as an already established Bones fan. My main motivation in reading this book and starting this series is the fact that we are at the final season of Bones and I am not ready to let go of Dr. Brennan.

Déjà Dead (1997) won the Ellis Award for Best First Novel in 1997 and it is the first book in Kathy Reichs’ acclaimed mystery series featuring Dr. Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist working in Montreal, Quebec.

[Side note: For those of you who are also Bones fans, be aware that this Dr. Temperance Brennan is fairly different from her TV counterpart. They are very similar, but more akin to cousins than identical characters. As of this novel, we do not have any of the ensemble characters of agent Seeley Booth, Angela Montenegro, Jack Hodgins, etc. The setting is in Quebec, Canada not Washington D.C., USA. Book Brennan is a recovering alcoholic, recently divorced, and has a daughter in college. Reading book Brennan is like looking at a distorted reflection of TV Brennan – rooted in the same reality, but different. Let us move on.]

brennanDr. Temperance Brennan is newly divorced and establishing an independent life in Montreal while she works as a consulting forensic anthropologist, identifying remains for the local police department. What makes this  book stand apart from other murder mystery fiction is that it is part biography. The author, Dr. Kathy Reichs, is also a forensic anthropologist, just like our heroine, and as a result the science in the book was detailed and true. To an non-forensic anthropologist reader, there will be bits and pieces in the book that may prove difficult to understand, however, if you are coming into the books from watching Bones, then the science will not be that unusual or distracting. The scientific detail does not detract from the story; if anything, it only serves to enhance it, bringing us further into the story by making it that much more believable.

The ensemble of characters in this book was a delight as well. I really appreciated the focus on Dr. Brennan as the sole woman in the male dominated field of police work. I love strong female leads, and Dr. Brennan is not one to back down, even when her own life is on the line.

Déjà Dead is dark, suspenseful, gritty and graphic, full of twists and turns, and is overall a stunning debut novel. If you find yourself like I was this weekend, full of longing for warmer, brighter, and dryer days, then Déjà Dead was just what the doctor ordered. We have gotten non-stop rain in Seattle all winter, and losing myself in the murder mystery surrounding Dr. Temperance Brennan’s work was just what I needed to escape this weekend.

kathy-reichs-antropologa-forense-bonesAuthor: Kathy Reichs

Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. Her other Temperance Brennan novels include Death du Jour, Deadly Décisions, Fatal Voyage, Grave Secrets, Bare Bones, Monday Mourning, Cross Bones, Break No Bones, Bones to Ashes, Devil Bones, 206 Bones, Spider Bones, Flash and Bones, Bones Are Forever, and Bones of the Lost, and the Temperance Brennan e-short, Bones In Her Pocket. In addition, Kathy co-authors the Virals young adult series with her son, Brendan Reichs. These books follow the adventures of Temperance Brennan’s great niece, Tory Brennan.  Dr. Reichs is also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels.

From teaching FBI agents how to detect and recover human remains, to separating and identifying commingled body parts in her Montreal lab, as a forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs has brought her own dramatic work experience to her mesmerizing forensic thrillers. For years she consulted to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina, and continues to do so for the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec. Dr. Reichs has traveled to Rwanda to testify at the UN Tribunal on Genocide, and helped exhume a mass grave in Guatemala. As part of her work at JPAC (Formerly CILHI) she aided in the identification of war dead from World War II, Korea, and Southeast Asia. Dr. Reichs also assisted with identifying remains found at ground zero of the World Trade Center following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

Dr. Reichs is one of only eighty-two forensic anthropologists ever certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. She served on the Board of Directors and as Vice President of both the American Academy of Forensic Sciences and the American Board of Forensic Anthropology, and is currently a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She is a Professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte.

Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern. She now divides her time between Charlotte, NC and Montreal, Québec.

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