BOOK CLUB: Cold Cold Bones

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“Cold, Cold Bones” is the 21st Temperance Brennan novel by Kathy Reichs. It’s easy to see why the long running series has so many fans; this is a well put together crime novel which will please existing readers and be accessible to new ones.

Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist, is as busy as always. She’s got multiple deaths to look into; her daughter has just moved back to town; and her romantic relationship is a bit complicated due to her partner working across countries. She’s particularly focused on her daughter; newly returned to civilian life after years in the military, Katy is showing signs of PTSD.

Then one day a case that nags at her subconscious lands in her mortuary. When Brennan realises that her subconscious is noting similarities to an earlier case she investigated, a worse realisation pops up. It’s not the only one. Soon it becomes obvious; someone is copy catting deaths that Brennan has investigated in the past.

Now Brennan not only has to help resolve the most recent deaths, she has to work out how and why someone is doing this. Before long it begins to seem that Brennan herself may be in danger.

You don’t need to have read the previous twenty books to enjoy this. I’ve dipped into the Brennan series over the years, and have read around a quarter of them. I still found this easy to follow and enjoy. Those who’ve read all the novels will probably get more out of the parts of the novel that focus on exploring Brennan’s personal life than I did, but it’s not a problem to understand if you’re coming in without much background. There are enough “explainer” asides.

This very much follows the template of the earlier novels: a focus on several deaths, foul play, and a dollop of Brennan’s personal life. It’s a mix that works well. Reichs also uses a good balance of technical jargon and straightforward language while Brennan is at work; you believe she’s an expert, but you can follow what’s going on and your eyes don’t glaze over.

Narrated in the first person, from Brennan’s point of view, this has a distinctive tone. It’s almost flippant in places (although fortunately never when discussing someone’s unpleasant end). This contributes to a feeling that it’s at the lighter end of the crime spectrum; despite some really ugly deaths, the novel isn’t dark in tone.

For all that the main character is someone who cuts up dead people, this novel feels almost gentle. Brennan talks about the technical side of her work very clinically. There isn’t a lot of gore, and the violence is mild compared to some crime novels.

I did find the “who dunnit” reveal a little obvious. Partly this was as a result of reading a lot of crime novels; partly it’s because Reichs is very generous with her hints and clues. I don’t think most readers will be greatly bothered by this. It’s believable that Brennan doesn’t work it out earlier. And even if you see it coming, it’s still a solid reading experience.

The other aspect that may bother some readers is that Reichs leaves a couple of significant loose ends hanging. Some readers will feel that’s just true to life; you don’t always get answers to everything. Some may find it frustrating, expecting a crime novel to explain almost everything at the end.

This is a well written and enjoyable crime novel, not very dark, and in an easy to read style. Existing readers will enjoy the small developments in Brennan’s personal life. New readers will have no problem following. The actual solution is perhaps a bit obvious, but the path to get there is believable and enjoyable.

ISBN: 9781761 103926

Copy courtesy of Simon and Schuster (2022)

A selection of our Beauty and Lace Club Members are reading Cold Cold Bones by Kathy Reichs. You can read their comments below, or add your own review.

7 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: Cold Cold Bones

  1. Thanks to Simon and Schuster and Beauty & Lace for my copy of Cold Cold Bones.
    An amazing crime and thriller novel I soon discovered this would be a hard to put down read.
    Told from the first person perspective of anthropologist Temperance Brennan who finds herself as the recipient of a box containing a human eyeball. Each homicide that follows mirrors previous cases that Brennan covered when she was younger. Enter Erskine ‘Skinny’ Slidell (a retired detective) who is on hand to help Brennan help find the answers she seeks. Another twist is Brennan’s daughter Katy (returning to civilian life from the army) who unexpectedly vanishes. It’s a race against time to find the perpetrator of the crimes and finding her daughter alive.

  2. Thank you Beauty and Lace for the opportunity to read Cold Cold Bones by Kathy Reichs.

    I loved this descriptive murder mystery!!

    The characters are complicated, strong and vulnerable.

    The main character is Dr Temperance Brennan.
    When her new cases start to mimic her old cases, there is a race to find a serial killer.

    Then her daughter disappears. How does her disappearance tie into the cases?
    Can she find her before it’s too late?

    This is my first Kathy Reichs book and it certainly won’t be my last.

    Highly recommend ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

  3. Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for my copy.

    I’ve been reading Kathy Reich’s Temperance Brennan books for over twenty years and Cold Cold Bones did not disappoint! This book is “classic Tempe” with the usual characters being Detective Ryan, Skinny Slidell, Byrd the cat and Tempe’s daughter features quite a bit as she is now honorably discharged from the army and living not far away. There is also the introduction of a new character, Detective Donna Henry.
    As usual there’s no mucking about, it’s straight into the story with an eyeball turning up on Tempe’s doorstep. Most of the chapters end on mini cliff hangers so you just have to keep reading which isn’t hard. As usual I found myself trying to work out who the killer was. I did guess correctly but it was a fair way along in the book.
    The book also contains lots of witty and funny internal dialogue in Tempe’s head which is mostly directed at Skinny.
    Overall, an engrossing crime thriller that I finished quickly. Highly recommended.
    5 stars.

  4. Another brilliant book by Kathy Reichs and fans will not be disappointed with this one.
    Dr Temperance Brennan is being targeted by an unknown.
    Someone is mimicking her former cases and as each killing is occurs,
    she tries to figure out who is targeting and why.
    An absorbing story that will have you guessing until the final plot is revealed.
    Highly recommend this book.
    Thank you to Beauty and Lace and Simon & Schuster for the opportunity to read and review this awesome book.

  5. Thank you so much to Beauty and Lace and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to review Cold Cold Bones by Kathy Reichs.
    To say that I was over the moon to be able to review one of Kathy Reichs books would be an understatement. She is hands down one of my favourite authors and this new novel did not disappoint.
    Due to my reading her previous novels I was aware of most of the characters and had that backstory but this also is a great standalone novel for those unfamiliar with Kathy’s work.

    I struggled to put the book down. Kathy has this way of leaving each chapter with a bit of a hook so you just have to keep going and this novel was no different in that regard.

    The cases in this novel and interwoven characters and stories made it her best work so far for me.
    I highly recommend this book for anyone who likes thrillers, mysteries, anthropology etc.

  6. Thank you Beauty & Lace and Simon and Schuster for the opportunity to review Cold Cold Bones by Kathy Reichs. I loved this book the story had me hooked from the first page! It was well written and logical. I loved the suspense of the story and how it kept you intrigued at first thinking a coincidence and then having the reader wonder why Temperance Brennan was now the stalked character when she is usually the one who proves the evidence of what happened. It was well paced and gave a the reader enough background from previous cases and the characters, so you felt you knew the characters. The backstory of past crimes was enough to give the current day situation/crimes the credibility and allowed he reader to draw comparisons. The ending was quite different to what I expected but tied everything up nicely so you are not left wondering who or why it all happened.

    This was my first Kathy Reichs book and I am glad to say it wont be my last! If you love a good suspense story then this book is for you, I highly recommend it but be careful it is hard to put down once you start reading.

  7. Thankyou beauty and lace for the opportunity to read this book.

    This book isn’t my normal genre found it a little gruesome to begin with but the more you get into the story all the facts are necessary and fully evolve the story.

    Such a great read I thoroughly enjoyed this book- the twists and turns and ofcourse love the strong female role model!

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