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Literature & Fiction

Deja Dead - Kathy Reichs

Deja Dead

Author: Kathy Reichs
Book title: Deja Dead
ISBN: 0099492237
ISBN13: 978-0099492238
Publisher: Gardners Books (July 31, 2005)
Language: English
Category: Contemporary
Rating: 4.4/5
Votes: 482
Pages: 528 pages
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Reviews: (7)
I was a little hesitant to read this book after having read some of the reviews on it. There are a couple points from other reviews I'll borrow here.

The book and the TV show are completely different. "Bones" as Det. Booth so affectionately refers to her, is a completely different character to the Temperance Brennan of the books. They are both Dr. Temperance Brennan. They are both forensic anthropologists. That's where all similarities end.

Although a little disappointed because I do love the show- the book isn't worse than the show or better really, they are just different. As another reviewer recommended: separate the two. You won't come away feeling cheated or disappointed. I thought going in, this would be hard to do. I generally like comparing the shows/movies to their written counterparts. Given the total lack of similarities between them, it wasn't at all difficult to think of them separately.

I really enjoyed this book. I will definitely continue with the series. A lot of the science was above my head but fascinating. I love that this particular book was set in Montreal. I felt the author captured the feeling of the city well. There is a lot of repetitive and obvious foreshadowing. Some try to claim this as a twist- I don't think it's a twist or that it's even meant to be viewed that way. It's just a piece of the story you were warned about.

The plot was exciting and kept me turning the page. I kept trying to solve some parts for myself but it was difficult because the author often doesn't give you the whole picture (although thinking back- it could be that I missed the mention of some things. I may go back and re-read). To clarify- I'm not speaking about the "whodunnit" aspect, I'm speaking more to the mysteries within the mysteries, what is the link between the bodies, are St. Jacques and Tanguay the same man, etc.

I liked Tempe of the book. She isn't logical to the point of extreme like Bones, but logical and reasonable in a way that seems both smart and human. She was fiery in the face of adversity, and I enjoyed her revelations at the end about why she was so interested in the case.

I also liked Detective Ryan, who kind of plays hero to Brennan's damsel in distress. Det. Claudel starts out as a minor anti-hero, but wins you over in the end.

I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 because some parts do drag. I think I witnessed every meal Brennan ate and could have plotted on a map where she was driving in the city. If the author had done away with them completely it would have made for a tighter, cleaner read, but all in all they didn't bother me much.
I'll not do a comparison of the novel to the TV show "Bones." Let the book stand on its own
Author, Kathy Reichs, is a forensic anthropologist and has modeled the protagonist, Temperance Brennan, in this series of novels somewhat after her own experiences.
That being said, its best you like very detailed description. For that's what you have throughout the book. The woman know very well what she's talking about.

I found I liked the detail very well at first. Halfway through it got to be somewhat wearisome. Parts of the story which have nothing to do with the plot become entrenched in detail, as well. That's when I started skimming.

The plot, I felt, has a major flaw. There's obviously a serial killer on the loose who murders women, then badly mutilates them. How is it Ms. Brennan can't get the Montreal cops to make sense of this. The cops just can't see the forest for the trees until far into the book. Tempe is really forced to go a bit rogue and take some matters into her own hands.
The book has some twists and I found the ending favorable.

I should mention I've read a few other Reichs books and decided to go back to Brennan's roots. This being the first in the series.
Ms. Reichs has ironed out some flaws in succeeding novels, making this an enjoyable series
Having been a fan of the TV series based on the novels I decided to go and read the origin story. I regret to say the novel was hard to finish because I grew very angry at the foolish decision making of the lead character. She is a highly educated professional but behaves in such a manner that her personality conflicts with her coworkers cause several times as much trouble as they solve. In the end she survives much more by luck than skill, and she creates hard feelings that make it more difficult for other professional women to succeed in the workplace where professional conduct is crucial to acceptance.
This is the first in a long series of books featuring an ongoing character, Dr. Temperance Brennan, a forensic anthropologist. Here, she is working in Montreal for the Province of Quebec in the Laboratoire de Medecine Legale, roughly, the Morgue/Coroner’s Office, but she is from the States, North Carolina, and not yet quite acclimatized to francophone Canada. She is also subjected to levels of quiet gender discrimination from her male colleagues which are startlingly non-professional even for 1997, the year of publication. (She gets her own back, somewhat, by mentally noting how a police colleague fills out his jeans, but it’s all very non-verbal.)

The book is a good, if lengthy, read. The suspense is sustained and the characters are well-drawn, but the flow is periodically disrupted by long tracts of exposition. We get pages and pages of information on the process of decomposition of buried bodies, the signatures of various types of saw and knife left on the bones of dismembered victims, and the various manifestations of mental illness in serial killers. In sum, it borders on Too Much. There is also an excess of information on streets and locations in downtown Montreal. We incessantly drive down A, turn right at B, circle the blocks bounded by C and D, and arrive at E. Fine for Montrealers, but less than gripping for anyone who lives elsewhere on the planet.

As noted, this outing is only the first in what became a long series, and Ms. Reichs may have long gotten over her discursiveness. I intend to read more of her to find out. Four stars.
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