Title: Devil Bones
Author: Kathy Reichs
Publisher:William Heinemann 
No of Pages: 304
I normally start out my reviews with a brief synopsis of events that take place in the first 40-50 pages of a book but in all honesty I can’t think of more than a sentence to say about this one. Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist, is called in when a skull is found under the flooring of an old house in North Carolina. Nothing else that develops the plot in any meaningful way happens before page 75. There’s a history lesson about the town of Charlotte, a swag of stultifying detail about Brennan’s work life and some snippets about what she has to eat in her fridge but I’m pretty sure none of that is going to make anyone rush out to get this book.
The only word that seems to fit this book is dull. If pressed to expand I would, in Douglas Adams fashion, qualify that description by saying mostly dull. The first third of the book could have been written by anyone with access to Google. It’s almost as if Brennan (or Reichs) is lecturing one of her undergraduate classes as she lists in minute detail the dimensions of the bones she has found, details the major deities of several religions and continues a frightfully uninteresting internal monologue about the object of 11 books worth of sexual tension. Yawn. The plot gets slightly better for the last two thirds but it’s not even close to being gripping. I found myself skim-reading long passages of technical stuff and groaning at the portentous statement at the end of each chapter. The resolution to the mystery element was predictable and the final lecture on America’s culture of fear was patronising.
In case you’re wondering I have read Reichs before. In fact I’ve read all the books in this series. I rated the last one, Bones to Ashes, a 4 but the two installments prior to that only rated a 2 on my personal scale. The thing is I can’t decide if Reichs’ writing has deteriorated over the years or my reading tastes have altered during that same period. Maybe it’s a little (or a lot) of both. In the past I’ve felt Reichs has had a genuine interest in exploring the topics she’s used as the basis for her plots, such as in Grave Secrets which dealt with human rights abuses and ’the disappeared’ of 1980′s Guatemala. In Devil Bones it felt like she’d drawn voodoo out of a hat filled with random plot elements and threw in a few facts and figures alongside the dead bodies and danger. I’m firmly convinced the only person who had less interest in this book than I did is Reichs herself.
I’m done with this series.
My rating 1/5