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Review: Mortal Remains by Kathy Reichs

On a cold, clear spring morning, forensic anthropologist Temperance "Bones" Brennan (familiar to TV viewers from the Bones series) is called to the scene of a highly unusual autoerotic death by her lover Ryan, a homicide detective working for the Quebec police.

Death by misadventure would appear to be the cause of death, but when the victim's fingerprints are run, the body is identified as that of John Charles Lowery who apparently died in a helicopter crash in Vietnam 40 years before.

This raises the important question of who exactly is buried in the dead soldier's grave, which is, by coincidence, in North Carolina, where Tempe Brennan spends half her year.

Further investigations take Tempe to Honolulu with her 24-year-old daughter, Kathy, who is in mourning for a friend recently killed in Afghanistan, and Ryan and his 19-year-old daughter Lily, who is a recovering drug addict.

Ryan and Tempe's investigation uncovers a tangled web of deceit and some extremely dangerous characters. In a parallel and connected case, Tempe also has to try to discover who or what has killed some young men, scraps of whose mutilated bodies have floated up onto the beach of a popular Hawaiian beauty spot.

As Tempe closes in on the true identity of the man who assumed the identity of John Lowery all those years ago, she is threatened by those who would be ruined if the truth got out.

When she refuses to be intimidated, these well-connected heavies target the one person who means more to her than anything else in the world. The stakes have just become very high for Tempe and Ryan, who must risk everything to save those they love.

As is to be expected, there is plenty of complex science in this 13th Tempe Brennan outing, but Kathy Reichs wears her formidable expertise lightly and the explanations are comprehensible and interesting. What's more, the plot flies along at breakneck speed and the sense of menace is well sustained throughout.

Myles McWeeney will be talking to Kathy Reichs about 'The Lure of Crime' in the Atrium at City Hall this morning at 10.10am as part of Dublin Libraries Readers Day.

Irish Independent