Tempe Brennan’s long-anticipated vacation with handsome Canadian heartthrob, detective Andrew Ryan, is ruined by a host of last-minute professional and personal problems. An old cabin plane smuggling dope crashes into a cliff and Tempe must examine the incinerated remains to identify the victims. Meanwhile, she gets stuck dog-sitting Boyd, her ex-husband’s pesky but lovable chow, who digs up two fifty-gallon trash bags of animal and human bones buried in a field outside Charlotte, North Carolina. Tempe is also distressed about her seventeen-year-old daughter Katy’s foolhardy romance with an older man and the disappearance of an even younger girl whose newborn baby was found cremated in a wood stove. The stressed-out forensic anthropologist’s investigations attract a stalker who imprisons her in a pitch-dark basement and intends to use rattlesnakes to end her interference.
Like her fictional heroine, author Kathy Reichs is a forensic anthropologist. She works for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina and also for its counterpart in the Canadian province of Quebec. She is a professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte. The secret of her success as a writer of medical thrillers is the scientific expertise reflected throughout her stories. Her five previous Temperance Brennan novels all became international and New York Times bestsellers. However, Bare Bones, while sporadically suspenseful and frequently amusing, is handicapped by too many characters, too many subplots, and too much scientific explication.