Review: Death du Jour – Kathy Reichs

kathy-reichs-death-du-jour-cover

Temperance Brennan #2

This is my eighteenth book in my book challenge, and is the second book in the Temperance Brennan series.

Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is closing up her last few days in Canada before returning to the Carolinas for the new semester. A nun was excavated to be examined for an application of sainthood. Brennan is finishing up the last things when she gets called out to a house fire in St-Jovite. What she discovers there sets her teeth on edge: mangled babies and an old woman shot to death as well as a couple that has been burned to death. Brennan joins in to help out as much as she possibly can before her departure.

Brennan’s sister, Harry, comes in to stay with a few days while completing another one of her new age courses. Brennan does not notice her sister become more withdrawn and completely like herself. One of the nuns rings Brennan, desperately trying to get someone to assist her in locating her niece who has gone missing. Brennan puts detective Luc Claudel on it, who is not impressed at all.

Returning home and starting the new semester, homicide detective Andrew Ryan calls her to inform her that he will be in her neck of the woods for a while when one of their leads turned up a link between Quebec and Saint Helen nearby Brennan. Meeting up with Ryan leads to a grisly discovery of a further two more corpses – they have been there for three weeks. Something seems amiss, and it seems that the cases should be joined together, though they are two countries apart. Their investigation takes them to a group which has all the markings of a cult headed up by charismatic leader Dom Owens.

Suddenly things start to screw out – Harry seems to have gone missing, the cult is overly secretive and all the victims seem to be tying back to Saint Helen and a mysterious man overseas running the show for payments for both St-Jovite and St Helen. Brennan is being strongly warned to stay out of it, yet she continues to dig. Will she and Ryan sort out what is going on? Will they be able to conclude their dealings and stop the ruckus before the body count escalates further?

GRADE 5It is so frustrating to read her books. I keep thinking that they will be getting better in time. I mean I read this one and couldn’t reconcile the fact that she was more upset about her cat being killed than having lost her best friend of many years in the previous book. As though that was not enough, Brennan always seems to have premonitions as to what is going on yet major difficulties pulling it up. Then she spends pages lamenting the fact that something bothered her and she wasn’t quick enough on the uptake to notice what it was and make a difference. Reichs also writes in a rather boring and predictable manner, and overall I am just not particularly keen on it. It is fine to read as a filler between really good reads, and maybe she gets better (after all, this was like the beginning for her), but I still don’t really like her writing style. Also, the heroine Brennan seems to be incredibly selfish, rude, cold and totally unrealistic. I blame her immensely flawed logic. She just sets my teeth on edge, to be honest. Not the strongest character to lead with. Not the worst book of all time, but definitely not tight and flowing and perfect, there is too much lull and boredom and filler crap lining the pages. But wait – there’s more! More French. Truly, if the language is that amazing, write the book in that language. If you are going to put French in it – translate all of it. Bear in mind, readers are there for a story, not a new language and grammar pop quiz. So what if it was mentioned earlier what it was? Repeat it for clarity and what not.

Review: Déjà Dead – Kathy Reichs

KATHY REICHS DEJA DEAD COVER

Temperance Brennan #1

I have read a few of these books in no particular order over the years – not all of them, but a few, and decided to go back and read them in the correct order and see how I felt about Kathy Reichs’s writing after that. This is the first Temperance Brennan book, and my fifteenth entry to my book challenge.

Dr Temperance Brennan is a the Director of Forensic Anthropology for the province of Quebec, and is called out one afternoon to check out some bones. A feeling tells her that it will not be an ancient burial, and she is correct. The mutilated corpse of a young woman is dredged from garbage bags that have been dumped. Something seems off to Brennan, but she cannot place what it is. Once in autopsy, she continues to grasp at what is bothering her so much about the most recent corpse.

Soon Brennan is convinced that this case has similarities to one of her older cases, but instead of being met with helpfulness, she is met with hostility. She is an anthropologist, and should not interfere with the detectives’ job. She is angered that they will not take it seriously while they are sure she is cooking up some American serial killer story in her boredom. If no one will help her, she will do it on her own. Painstakingly slowly she starts to tie the cases together, all the while worrying about her best friend Gabby Macaulay and what she may have gotten mixed up in.

More bodies turn up as the days go by, and still no one will hear of her crazy theory. Fighting her own demons as well as the police is not easy when it soon becomes evident that there is a monster on the loose, and he has his sights set on Brennan. Her insistence on looking at all the murders as though committed by the same perpetrator has divided the police force, support for her as well as professional courtesy. Will she be able to tie the cases together as well as get someone to take her claim seriously? Will detective Andrew Ryan take her side, or back up the ever-frustrating and dismissive detective Luc Claudel.

GRADE 6There really are a few things that set my teeth on edge about this book. The content is pretty cool, the execution is at some times lacking a little bit. I don’t like for instance how a character will say something, and all that she will write after it is a name, or how a whole conversation will go on between multiple characters and there is no indication of who is speaking at any given time. Then the French. It is fine when she translates it, but it angers me when it is not. Not everyone can speak French. However, the story was quite interesting, and the anthropology field is majorly interesting.  It is evident that this is a first novel for her, and at some points can get excessively long winded for nothing. Not a terrible first read, but her writing style needs to be tightened up considerably. Also, if you are looking at this expecting a written rehash of the television series, you have to think again. To say that the show is loosely based on this book series is the understatement of the century. Try to keep the two separated when reading.