Déjà Dead by Kathy Reichs
Temperance “Tempe” Brennan, a forensic anthropologist in Montreal, Quebec, struggles with overcoming her instincts in this mystery novel by Kathy Reichs. Tempe is called to a crime scene near a burial site to determine if a body found is from an unearthed grave or if the body is a new homicide case for the Montreal Police. She soon realizes that this body is dismembered and stored in plastic bags; therefore, it is not simply an unearthed grave. As soon as she returns to the crime lab to investigate the dismembered body, she is overcome with a familiar feeling that she has dealt with similar cases in the past. She remembers the case of sixteen-year-old Cantale Trottier, who arrived at the crime lab almost one year ago, with her body parts stored in plastic bags. New victims begin showing up in the crime lab, which convinces Tempe that these murders are correlated. After being told by the detectives with whom she works that there is no substantial evidence to prove there is a serial killer on the loose, Tempe decides to take things into her own hands. She begins to gather evidence, follow potential suspects as well as her instincts, to not only prove that there is a killer on the loose, but also to prove herself to the detectives. Tempe soon puts her life, as well as her friend and daughter’s lives in danger, as the killer finds out she is “meddling” with his business.
There are a few twists and turns in the novel, as well as a light, budding romance between Tempe and one of the detectives, Andrew Ryan. Readers will connect themselves to Tempe, as she is a believable character. Tempe struggles with a divorce, a college-aged daughter who is thinking of quitting school to follow her boyfriend to Europe, trying to be a supportive best friend, and trying to prove herself to those who do not believe in her capabilities. She is also quite stubborn, and does not give up on anything until she finishes what she has set out to do.
Mystery lovers will enjoy this book as it displays several characteristics of the mystery genre, such as a fast-paced “whodunit” story line, a wide range of mood from dark to light with a bit of humor along the way, and rich description of the investigation of itself as well as the investigative team. Mystery lovers also tend to enjoy serial novels, and Déjà Dead is the first book in the Temperance Brennan series by Kathy Reichs.