Tempe Brennan is back, digging up a century-old corpse while trying to figure out what links all the people dropping dead around her. Can Reichs possibly match the success of her first novel, Déjà Dead, a best seller that won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel?
Forensic anthropologist Temperance "Tempe" Brennan of the Laboratoire de M‚dicine L‚gale in Montreal makes a triumphant second appearance in Reichs's powerful followup to her bestselling debut, D‚j… Dead. The novel opens atmospherically in a frigid church graveyard as Tempe labors to exhume the century-old remains of a nun so that the Church can posthumously declare her a saint. But the bones aren't where they're supposed to be according to the graveyard map, and there's something suspicious about them when they do turn up. Tempe's caseload multiplies as a house fire proves to be a horrific instance of arson and a university teaching assistant who's recently joined a cult goes missing. The three seemingly individual events begin to braid together, as the doings with the doomsday cult draw Tempe to North Carolina. As in D‚j… Dead, ReichsÄherself a forensic anthropologistÄrenders comprehensively and believably the cool, tense intelligence of her heroine. A North Carolina native who consults in Montreal only a few months of the year, Tempe still hasn't acclimated to the bone-chilling Northern cold, and if she's come to expect the misogynist attitudes of some of the Canadian officials, she still bristles at them. Also well presented are Tempe's refreshing compassion in the face of relentless autopsies, her ability to describe a corpse with judiciously graphic detail and her penchant for revealing the art behind the science on such matters as the preservation of a corpse's teeth. Reichs's first novel, which won the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel of 1997, was compared justifiably to the Kay Scarpetta novels of Patricia Cornwell. Soon, Cornwell's novels may be compared to Reichs's. Agent, Jennifer Rudolph Walsh. Major ad/promo; author tour. (June)