Book Review: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

The raves are in — from Edgar-winning authors and internationally acclaimed forensic experts: Kathy Reichs and Déjà Dead are something special.

Rarely has a debut crime novel inspired such widespread excitement. A born storyteller, Dr. Kathy Reichs walks in the steps of her heroine, Dr. Temperance Brennan. She spends her days in the autopsy suite, the courtroom, the crime lab, with cops, and at exhumation sites. Often her long days turn into harrowing nights. It’s June in Montreal, and Tempe, who has left a shaky marriage back home in North Carolina to take on the challenging assignment of director of forensic anthropology for the province of Quebec, looks forward to a relaxing weekend. First, though, she must stop at a newly uncovered burial site in the heart of the city. One look at the decomposed and decapitated corpse, stored neatly in plastic bags, tells her she’ll spend the weekend in the crime lab. This is homicide of the worst kind. To begin to find some answers, Tempe must first identify the victim. Who is this person with the reddish hair and a small bone structure?

First of all, I would like to say that I cannot believe I’ve finally finished this book. And second of all, it’s one of those books which are very hard to review once you’re done reading them. It just leads up to the cliche: I didn’t hate it, but I didn’t love it either. I found the first three books as a set at the London airport for only £5, and I was super-excited to start reading them since I’ve been searching for the first book, Deja Dead, for quite some time. I’m such a big fan of the show Bones, and in my world everything is better on paper, which is why I guess I had such high expectations from this book.
I guess I shouldn’t even be comparing the book and the TV show, but I cannot help it. Because in the show, I loved the parts where they examined the bones as much as I loved the parts where they chase criminals. In the book, however, the lab parts seemed to drag forever, to the point where I seriously felt like I’ve been reading the book forever. And then, of course, it got impossible to keep reading it for more than one chapter, and I found myself forgetting where the actual ‘action’ part of the investigation left off. I found myself getting very excited when the action picked up, only to be let down when it slowed way down again. The books takes place in Montreal, which was pretty cool, but I thought the French in it was a bit overdone, which was another part of the book that seemed to slow me down.
All in all, it’s an interesting book, and Reichs is in no way a bad writer. Yet you feel this is first book while reading it, and knowing she’s a forensic anthropologist in real life, you very much feel how she feels every single detail is necessary. I feel like this would be a much better, much exciting book if it was edited tighter and maybe like 100 pages shorter. I’m still curious about how the series will continue, though, so I’ll read the next two and see where they take me.

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