A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs

GLOBAL RELEASE MARCH 2020: the new Temperence Brennan novel

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Book blurb

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kathy Reichs returns with a new riveting novel featuring her vastly popular character, forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan, who must use all her tradecraft to discover the identity of a faceless corpse, its connection to a decade-old missing child case, and why the dead man had her cellphone number.

It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.

An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions.

To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue, working mostly outside the system. That’s because Tempe’s new boss holds a fierce grudge against her and is determined to keep her out of the case. Tempe bulls forward anyway, even as she begins questioning her instincts. But the clues she discovers are disturbing and confusing. Was the faceless man a spy? A trafficker? A target for assassination by the government? And why was he carrying the name of a child missing for almost a decade?

With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth.

But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes…

My thoughts

I have enjoyed this series over a number of years and, after a bit of a break, Dr Temperance Brennan is back with us in this the 19th book.

There is a new Chief in charge, an old adversary, and Tempe has been sidelined. She is in Charlotte, N.C. somewhat at a loss. Tempe has come through neurosurgery and is suffering migraines and possible hallucinations. So when she receives some photos of a body, working under the radar, she begins to investigate but things may not always be as they seem for Tempe.

Written from Tempe’s point of view we get quite an insight into her thoughts and reactions regarding what is happening as a result of the neurosurgery. That she sometimes cannot tell if something is true or imagined (hallucinations) leaves you, the reader, also wondering what is real or unreal. So we have to rely more on other factors.

Still Tempe believes that the body that has been found was of a man who she may have seen (or was it an hallucination?) near her home one night. As she continues to looks into the case it also transpires that he may have tried contacting her too! Who is this man found partially eaten by wild pigs?

Tempe doesn’t go completely rogue in as much as she gets Detective Slidell involved. She has friends who are willing to help even if it means losing a lot if they are found out. And her, now ‘live-in’, beau (as the blurb describes him) Andrew Ryan comes back to Charlotte for a bit from the case he is working in Montreal.

The case is quite complicated and has it’s dangers. Tempe doesn’t always, much to Slidell’s annoyance, do as she is asked which leads her into some perilous encounters. Like the fire at her home where luckily a neighbour acted before it consumed the whole house still much of the evidence she had collected is lost -was it really an accidental fire? Slidell isn’t too sure.

Tempe believes that her investigation is connected to an old case of Slidell’s a missing child case that remains unsolved. It’s a bit of a bug bear for Slidell. As she unearths what has been and perhaps still is happening Tempe goes missing. When she returns she has little recollection of what happened but is even more determined to solve the mystery of how as well as why this man lost his life and what the connection is to missing children.

Tempe and Slidell, with the help of friends and some amazing technology, work tirelessly to resolve the case. What we find out in the end is both appalling and tragic.

It was good to have Tempe back. She’s a little different now but given what she’s been through – her old boss murdered, her mothers cancer diagnosis and her own cerebral aneurysm – that’s not too much of a surprise. We now have another, more vulnerable Tempe to crusade for the dead and, perhaps, that’s not a bad thing. Things happen in life that can deliver a massive curve ball to our expectations, our hopes and dreams. So seeing our treasured fictional characters going through something similar makes them feel all the more real allowing us to empathise more with them and their situation.

This is a twisty, engaging and compelling read which I certainly enjoyed.

I have read all the Temperance Brennan series but A Conspiracy of Bones is the first of them I have reviewed. I did review Two Nights by Kathy Reichs.


Many thanks to Simon & Schuster via NetGalley for eBook to read at review. No payment has been received, all thoughts are my own.

USA 🇺🇸 cover

Published by: Simon and Schuster UK (March 2020)

Buy: AmazonSmileUK | Author’s buy links |HiveUK| Your local book store

Photograph © Marie-Reine Mattera


Kathy Reichs’s first novel Déjà Dead was a #1 New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel. A Conspiracy of Bones is Kathy’s nineteenth entry in her series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Kathy was also a producer of the hit Fox TV series, Bones, which is based on her work and her novels. Dr. Reichs is one of very few forensic anthropologists 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 as a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She divides her time between Charlotte, North Carolina, and Montreal, Québec.

Kathy Reichs Website | @KathyReichs | Author’s Page – S&S | Author’s Page AmazonSmileUK | Author’s Page Amazon.com

UK 🇬🇧 cover

3 Comments on “A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs


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