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Saturday, March 15, 2008

The Devil's Bones

Bass, Jefferson. The Devil's Bones. Jefferson Bass is actually the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass (the forensic anthropologist who founded the Body Farm, the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility) and Jon Jefferson, a journalist and documentary filmmaker who has, among other things, written and produced two National Geographic documentaries about the Body Farm.

More about the Body Farm and its purpose here and here.

The plot line was not the most interesting aspect of this book by any means, and I don't know how it compares to the two previous novels by "Jefferson Bass." On the other hand, the book's information about the Body Farm and forensic science kept me fascinated--especially since I recognized one plot-line from the news a few years back. If you read the novel, you will probably recognize it as well because of its shock value.

For any CSI fans or those interested in forensic science, this novel will give further insight -- and most likely send you, like me, researching more information about the Body Farm. While the plot is weak, the scientific information is engrossing.

Here is the opening line from the novel, which I liked because it reminds me so much of our own Louisiana summer sunsets: "The last drop of daylight was fading from the western sky--a draining that seemed more a suffocation than a sunset, a final faint gasp as the day died of heatstroke."

This was an ARC from Harper Collins. Thanks, Christine!

Fiction. Mystery. 2008. 309 pages.


  1. Ha, I love that line. Being in Texas the summers are just like that too :)
    And, oh my, I had no idea about the real body farm. Wow.

  2. I've been intrigued by the whole idea of "the body farm" for a while now, and often wonder where the idea came from and how it was "pitched" to those with the authority to make it about thinking outside the box. :-)

  3. I first read about the Body Farm ironically, when I read Patricia Cornwell's "Body Farm". The idea was totally fun -- something that Gil Grissom would LOVE.

    I recall this title while flipping through one of the catalogues a while back. But wasn't sure if the story was great.

    Plot and characters are often the deciding factor on whether I like a mystery thriller. As long as the language is not too awful, that is.

    You mentioned that the plot was weak? How about characterisation? You feel anything for the characters?

    Or is the science enough to justify picking it up?

  4. iliana - Describes our summer sunsets to a T, doesn't it? Yep, the Body Farm is a macabre concept, but forensically has certainly paid off with crimes solved.

    Sam - At least one of the links above gives information about how Dr. Bass managed to get the farm into existence. Can you imagine being asked to fund that project?

    Orpheus - I started to mention Cornwell's book, but one of the above links does refer to her novel. In my opinion, both the plot and the characters in The Devil's Bones were weak and for me, it was the science that kept me reading.

  5. I have the first in this series on my TBR list.

  6. Booklogged - I'm eager to hear what you think. This one had a lot of interesting forensic science, so I'm sure the first two do as well.