Review By Kayleigh

Cold, Cold Bones may be the 21st book in Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series but it’s still as fresh and captivating as the first.

Favourite Quote:

When detached from its owner, an eye looks like a macabre halloween prop. This one’s iris was blue, its pupil dilated and dead black. The whole glistened with a hyaline sheen.

The muscle at the eyeballs base was the color of raw beef, the vessels feathering its exterior an anemic red. The paper toweling on which it lay was white with turquoise patterning along the edges.

Colorful. That was my first reaction. Funny the things your brain offers when shocked.

Katy voiced my second thought.

“It looks fresh.”

Goodreads Synopsis: 

Winter has come to North Carolina and, with it, a drop in crime. Freed from a heavy work schedule, Tempe Brennan is content to dote on her daughter Katy, finally returned to civilian life from the army. But when mother and daughter meet at Tempe’s place one night, they find a box on the back porch. Inside: a very fresh human eyeball.

GPS coordinates etched into the eyeball lead to a Benedictine monastery where an equally macabre discovery awaits. Soon after, Tempe examines a mummified corpse in a state park, and her anxiety deepens.

There seems to be no pattern to the subsequent killings uncovered, except that each mimics in some way a homicide that a younger Tempe had been called in to analyze. Who or what is targeting her, and why?

Helping Tempe search for answers is detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell, retired but still volunteering with the CMPD cold case unit—and still displaying his gallows humor. Also pulled into the mystery: Andrew Ryan, Tempe’s Montreal-based beau, now working as a private detective.

Could this elaborately staged skein of mayhem be the prelude to a twist that is even more shocking? Tempe is at a loss to establish the motive for what is going on…and then her daughter disappears.

At its core, Cold, Cold Bones is a novel of revenge—one in which revisiting the past may prove the only way to unravel the present.

Cold, Cold Bones sees Tempe, a forensic anthropologist, moving her adult daughter into her new home since she returned back home from tours through Afghanistan. We’ve watched Katy grow up throughout the series, so seeing Tempe and her daughter spend time together now was especially precious. Katy is, Tempe suspects, suffering from some PTSD and Tempe is having a hard time watching her girl ease back into civilian life. Her worries are abruptly pushed aside when she finds an eyeball at her door. Reichs masterfully weaves Tempe’s worry about her daughter and the puzzling murder case through out Cold, Cold Bones. I loved the tension in this book. 

Cold, Cold Bones is about revenge and redemption, and while it visits some of Tempe’s older cases, it also brings back some characters readers will remember from past books. However, I would say Cold, Cold Bones can be read as a standalone. You don’t have to read the series in order to understand the cases in this book. 

Tempe’s long time love Andrew Ryan shows up during the book, and I love watching their relationship continue to develop. They are a couple who have lived their lives and made room for each other and I really like the authenticity about the struggles that it takes. Andrew has been one of my favourite characters since the beginning of the series: he’s funny, whip smart and keeps Tempe on her toes.

Reichs spins a fascinating web of brutal crimes: an eyeball found from a missing corpse, a dead man hanging in a tree for years, and a girl seemingly killed right in front of Tempe. With visits to survivalists camping out in the country with secrets of their own, a homeless shelter with a cast of characters both good and bad, and Tempe’s daughter suffering from PTSD, Tempe and Reichs face a lot of modern issues head on while having Tempe on her toes trying to figure out how these seemingly old cases are being replicated today, and for what reason? Why is a killer taunting Tempe? While she has a long line of enemies that she’s built over the years it was fun to try to guess who and why throughout the book. I will admit I guessed the who early on, but couldn’t figure out the why. 

Cold, Cold Bones is the perfect hot summer read filled with revenge, grisly murders, and a mother’s love for her daughter.

Thank you Simon and Schuster for the ARC in return for an honest review.