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Kathy Reichs Wanna Be

  • Jul 16, 2010
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Disclaimer: A free copy of this book was received from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

The Bone Thief by Jefferson Bass is the second Body Farm novel I have read, and I'm sad to say it is just not any better than the first. Jefferson Bass, a composite of Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass, have joined the growing glut of authors cashing in on the CSI craze by writing about forensic anthropologists and/or medical examiners or pathologists, however Kathy Reichs, Karin Slaughter and Tess Gerritsen do it much better.

The Bone Thief meanders through several seemingly unrelated-- I hesitate to call them mysteries because they really aren't so I will call them story arcs-- as well as focuses inordinately on characters and a storyline from a previous novel in the series involving the serious injury of Medical Examiner Eddie Garcia as a result of radiation poisoning thanks to a woman with whom the central character of the novels, Dr. Bill Brockton had an affair. In the course of this carry over story arc, Brockton goes traipsing through a sewer and spends lots of time indulging in mental anguish over having had an affair with a murderess.

In another story arc, in the course of exhuming several bodies for what starts out as a paternity suit, the bodies are found to be missing from their coffins. All of the bodies came from a particular mortuary which shut down after the death of one of the owners several years ago.

In the third story arc, Brockton is participates in an FBI sting operation against a company that is suspected of buying body parts on the black market. And in the midst of dealing with all this, Brockton is coping with funding cuts, trying to find money for the Body Farm, and is surprised by a donation from a medical supplier of a CT scanner for the Body Farm.

Brockton bumbles through the various story arcs, but everything seems to happen as a discrete element until the ending when everything is wrapped up and tied together in an info dump that lasts for about a page.

In a good mystery, almost everything that happens moves the story along, but in this book most things appear to happen as page filler. Elements that are apparently stuck in to enhance characterization stick out like a sore thumb because they just don't seem to relate to anything else-- for instance, when Brockton's son finds out that his dad might have fathered a baby with the murderess from the previous book, he gets up and walks out of the restaurant without a word of explanation. At the end of the book he suddenly comes back together with his dad and all is forgiven, but it is never clear why the son was so upset in the first place.

I remember having the same feeling of disconnect when I read the first book in the series so I have come to the conclusion that neither of the authors can actually write, and the publishers are content to overlook it because there is such a high market demand for mystery books involving forensics. They are probably right to do so, but still you can do much better than this if you want to read a good forensic novel. Check out Reichs, Slaughter, Gerritsen, Elizabeth MacPherson, or even the early Patricia Cornwell novels. There are much better forensic mystery novels available so seek them out. Even the ghoulish setting of the University of Tennessee's Body Farm is not enough to save this series.

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More The Bone Thief: A Body Farm No... reviews
review by . May 10, 2010
This is my first book by Jefferson Bass (actually a pair of authors, Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson). When I began this book, it sounded like a story about grave robbing. I didn't find it all that interesting in the beginning, but it definitely got interesting later! It turns out to be a story about the (mostly illegal) ways in which bodies or body parts are stolen for purposes such as biomedical testing and companies who train surgeons to perform new surgeries.       The story's …
review by . May 30, 2010
For some reason, I've never read any of the Body Farm novels by the team of Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson (hence, the author pen name of Jefferson Bass). I'm not quite sure why, as I like the forensic anthropology genre made popular by Cornwell and Reichs. So to rectify that, I picked up the latest book in the series, The Bone Thief. I'm guessing I'll end up going back to read the earlier ones also, as The Bone Thief was enjoyable and well written.    The story revolves around …
review by . April 01, 2010
The top -notch team of Dr.Bill Bass, who founded the Body Farm, and Jon Jefferson, a crackerjack journalist, writing as Jefferson Bass does not let you down in this interesting, literate and informative Body Farm novel. In the event you are not familiar with the Body Farm, a tract of 2.5 acres funded by the University of Tennessee had been designated under Bass's direction to document the progression of decay of human bodies. In forensic science investigators need to know when the person in question …
review by . March 25, 2010
   To date the topnotch team of Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson writing as Jefferson Bass has brought us a number of forensic thrillers, Bones Of Betrayal (2009), The Devil's Bones (2008), Flesh and Bone (2007). Each is solidly based on accurate forensic science, well plotted, and chillingly rendered. Precisely what readers would come to expect from Bass who is known throughout the world for his expertise as a forensic anthropologist and founder of the University of Tennessee's Body Farm. …
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Dindy Robinson ()
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About this book


New York Times bestselling author Jefferson Bass delivers an authentic and knuckle-biting thriller in which forensic anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton must confront a crime of unimaginable proportions on his own doorstep. Find out why Booklist says, "Fans of forensic fiction will want to add this author to their list of favorites."

The Bone Thief

Dr. Bill Brockton has been called in on a seemingly routine case, to exhume a body and obtain a bone sample for a DNA paternity test. But when the coffin is opened, Brockton and his colleagues, including his graduate assistant Miranda Lovelady, are stunned to see that the corpse has been horribly violated.

Brockton’s initial shock gives way to astonishment as he uncovers a flourishing and lucrative black market in body parts. At the center of this ghoulish empire is a daring and prosperous grave robber. Soon Brockton finds himself drawn into the dangerous enterprise when the FBI recruits him to bring down the postmortem chop shop—using corpses from the Body Farm as bait in an undercover sting operation.

As Brockton struggles to play the unscrupulous role the FBI asks of him, his friend and colleague medical examiner Eddie Garcia faces a devastating injury that could end his career. Exposed to a near-lethal dose of radioactivity, Dr. Garcia has lost most of his right hand and his entire left hand. Out of options, he embarks on a desperate quest: both of his ravaged hands will be severed at the wrist and ...

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ISBN-10: 0061284769
ISBN-13: 978-0061284762
Author: Jefferson Bass
Publisher: William Morrow

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