Category Archives: Reichs, Kathy

Lights, Camera, Novel: Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan Series.

Kathy Reichs and Emily Deschanel

Kathy Reichs (left), author of Temperance Brennan series and Emily Deschanel (right) star of Bones, a TV show loosely adapted from Reichs’ series. Image courtesy of www.kathyreichs.com/bones.

From the outset it was important to me that the heroine of the series differ somewhat from that in my books. If the two were identical, how would that impact future novels? I often give nicknames to the victims I analyze at my lab. I guess I’ve done that with Bones, labeling the two manifestations of my character “TV Tempe” and “Book Tempe.”

-Kathy Reichs, from her sub-site on Bones

Bones is approaching the ten-year mark. Season nine is well underway and the popular crime drama has been renewed for another season. But before there was Bones, forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs penned the Temperance Brennan series. Reichs has mentioned during interviews that she began writing the series after she became a tenured professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. After authoring journal articles and textbooks, Reichs was interested in trying something new. Fiction seemed like the best way to share science with a more generalized audience.

Reichs wrote Déjà Dead, the first book in the series in 1997. Now, in 2014, there are sixteen books in total, with number seventeen due out at some point in the next year. Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series and subsequent Bones TV adaptation, which debuted in 2005, have infiltrated pop culture. But the two formats, more aptly, the two Tempes, are quite different across several categories.

“Book Tempe” is a little older than “TV Tempe” and more situated in her career. She’s also a divorced mom whereas her TV counterpart is has never been married and is child-free. “TV Tempe” works at the fictional Jeffersonian Institute in Washington, D.C. and “Book Tempe” splits her time, much like Reichs, between teaching at UNC-Charlotte and assisting on crime scenes at the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale in Montreal. Both deal with personal problems. For instance “Book Tempe” negotiates her past alcoholism whereas “TV Tempe” struggles with her deficient social skills and lack of pop culture knowledge (an ongoing joke in the show); her behavior has been remarked on for its characteristics reminiscent of autism.

The Tempes have at least two things in common though – each series is long-running and each exists as a result of the support and input of Reichs. In the case of the novels, Reichs is the author, tapping into her life experience. On Bones, Reichs is a producer who balances the entertainment with scientific accuracy. Reichs has written one episode for Bones, “The Witch in the Wardrobe,” which aired in 2010 (Season 5, Episode 20). They might be markedly different, but the two incarnations of Tempe have Reich’s stamp of approval. Audiences can feel free to love two versions of the same woman.

While Bones is not available through the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog, all of the published books in the Temperance Brennan series are available. You can read a previous synopsis of the series here. This blog has individual entries on Death du Jour, Deadly Decisions, Fatal Voyage, Bare Bones, Devil Bones, Spider Bones, Flash and Bones and Bones of the Lost.

Sources consulted here: Bones Wiki (two different entries), E! Online, IGN, Kathy Reichs, NPR, Screen Rant, Wikipedia (two different entries)

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2005, Mystery, Reichs, Kathy, Suspense/Thriller

Kathy Reichs. Bones of the Lost. New York: Scribner, 2013.

Bones of the LostThings just aren’t going Temperance Brennan’s way. At the opening of Kathy Reichs’ sixteenth installment of her best-selling Temperance Brennan series, Temperance is stuck tapping her toes in a very uncomfortable pair of Louboutin pumps at the Mecklenburg County Courthouse. She was called for jury duty and even though her role as medical examiner will exempt her from selection, the inexperienced prosecutor makes Brennan jump through all the hoops first. Because losing more than half a day wasn’t enough, Brennan locks herself out of her car with her purse and cell phone inside. After several unsuccessful attempts to jimmy open the lock and an awkward exchange with an overeager parking attendant turned vigilante, an unwanted savior arrives.

Police detective Erskine “Skinny” Sliddell appears and gives Brennan a lift back to the Medical Examiner’s office. But not before filling her in on the latest case. Early that morning, an unidentified teen was killed in a hit and run. Although the girl didn’t have any form of ID for herself, she was carrying John-Henry Story’s U.S. Airways club card. Story was a businessman who died when a fire broke out at his flea market six months ago. Or at least, Brennan determined that the remains found at the scene fit the profile for Story. Sliddell speculates that the Jane Doe was involved in prostitution, based on her possessions, her estimated time of death, and her location. When Brennan returns to the Medical Examiner’s office, she examines the Jane Doe’s body. Because of the nature of the case (young, innocent victim and brutal death), Brennan struggles to not let her emotions overrule her logic, especially when she rules the supposed accident to be something more sinister. The Jane Doe wasn’t killed by accident, she was murdered.

Brennan is already busy though. She has four sets of mummified dog remains from Peru that she must certify as human or nonhuman. U.S. Customs seized the remains from former Marine, Dominick Rockett upon his reentry to the country. Rockett has a history of smuggling smaller antiques and trinkets out of South America. His usual inventory consists of inexpensive jewelry, crafts, and home wares. But apparently Rockett is expanding his market.  The two crimes run parallel at first, but as Brennan investigates with a keener eye, she identifies that both cases involve illegal trafficking of goods and that some of the implicated figures overlap.

Meanwhile, Reichs weaves in elements of Brennan’s personal life into the story. Her daughter Katy has enlisted in the army as a means to recover from the grief of her boyfriend’s unexpected death. Katy soothed her mother’s anxieties by reassuring that she would never be sent into combat. Then the US Army lifted the ban on women in combat and sent Katy to Afghanistan. But Brennan gets the opportunity to visit Katy overseas. Her estranged husband Pete, who is pressuring her for divorce papers, pressures Brennan into traveling to Afghanistan to help out an old buddy’s nephew who is accused of shooting two unarmed villagers. Pete wants Brennan to exhume the bodies and take the stand as an expert witness. With the promise of seeing Katy, Brennan boards Turkish Airlines to do a little extra detective work. And, as it turns out, Brennan owes Pete a huge thank you. Going to Afghanistan helps her lace the evidence together and reveal a surprising conspiracy at work.

Browse the blog for other coverage on Reichs’ Temperance Brennan series. You can filter the search by clicking on and navigating through the author category in the top right-hand column. With this view you can see all the past authors we have blogged about and the number of entries available. Or click on the categories and tags below.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy, Suspense/Thriller

Kathy Reichs. Flash and Bones. New York, NY: Scribner, 2011.

This image courtesy of www.kathyreichs.com/bones.

Emily Deschanel portrays Dr. Temperance Brennan in the TV show Bones. She poses here with Kathy Reichs (right). Image courtesy of www.kathyreichs.com/bones.

What do NASCAR, missing teenagers, and an audacious tabby cat all have in common? None other than Dr. Temperance Brennan, the brilliant, savvy forensic anthropologist based in Charlotte, NC. In her latest case, Brennan is called out to the nearby Charlotte Motor Speedway to look at a barrel containing human remains. Soon she is caught in a tangled investigation involving the FBI, a dangerous white supremacist group, a local organic farmer, and sweaty, chain-smoking detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell. But perhaps most dangerous of all, Brennan’s ex-husband, Pete, has asked her to intervene on his behalf with his new fiancée: blonde, bosomy Summer. Driven to hysterics over planning their wedding (and Pete’s disinterest in the ceremony), Summer clings to Brennan for emotional support, calling at all hours of the day and night. Harassed by both FBI agents and dangerous militants, drenched by unpredictable Piedmont storms, and romantically adrift, disgruntled Temperance doesn’t realize that she will soon be more thankful for the needy Summer than she thinks.

Kathy Reichs upholds her winning formula of science, mystery, and a strong female lead in this fourteenth installment of the series that inspired the hit TV show Bones. NASCAR fans will be delighted to watch Brennan’s education in racing , as well as the slew of characters she meets along the way. When she can take a break from the Speedway, Temperance touches base with her daughter Katy, old flame Andrew Ryan, and stalwart feline companion Birdie, although beau Charles Hunt doesn’t make an appearance. But Team Ryan and Team Hunt beware- there’s a new man on the scene providing Brennan with equal parts assistance and annoyance: tall, dark and handsome ex-detective (and ex-con) Cotton Galimore.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy, Suspense/Thriller

Kathy Reichs. Spider Bones. New York: Scribner, 2010.

Most of the action in this latest Temperance Brennan novel takes places in Hawaii, but the case originates in the actions of two young men in Lumberton, North Carolina in the 1960s.  Authorities in Quebec are puzzled as to  how an American soldier thought to have died in the Vietnam War could turn up a corpse in Canada  forty years later. Tempe Brennan is called in.  Her visit to the man’s father will introduce readers to Lumberton, but the Vietnam War and drug smuggling are the true subjects of the novel.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Coastal Plain, Mystery, Novels in Series, Reichs, Kathy, Robeson

Kathy Reichs. Bare Bones. New York: Scribner, 2003.

Medical examiner Tempe Brennan never gets to take a break! She is back in North Carolina and planning on taking her first non-family vacation in years (with her Montreal detective-boyfriend, Andrew Ryan), but those plans are ruined by the appearance of a string of bodies that may be connected. The first is a baby found in a drug dealer’s house, and then human and bear remains surface while she is at a pig pickin’ with her daughter. A small plane crash and the discovery of more human and bear bones increase the mystery. Brennan’s dog features prominently in this novel, the 6th in the Temperance Brennan mystery series.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2003, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy

Kathy Reichs. Deadly Decisions. New York: Scribner, 2000.

Forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan is caught in the middle of an outlaw biker gang-war in Deadly Decisions, the fourth book in Reich’s series of mysteries. While investigating the deaths of both bikers and innocents caught in their crossfire, Tempe finds a connection to a North Carolina teenager’s death in 1984. In the midst of her investigation she also has to deal with three very different men: a sleazy TV reporter who keeps hanging around, her cop boyfriend who has been arrested for dealing in drugs and stolen property, and her 19-year-old nephew who is fascinated by all things motorcycle-related.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000, 2000-2009, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy, Suspense/Thriller, Wake

Kathy Reichs. Death du Jour. New York: Scribner, 1999.

The second in Reich’s series of Temperence Brennan mysteries, Death du Jour opens with Tempe in Quebec looking for the remains of a long-dead nun…but the body is not where records say it should be. Then she discovers that a deadly house-fire was used to cover up multiple murders. A third addition to her caseload is the disappearance of a university teaching assistant. Tempe’s three investigations eventually begin to connect to one another and she travels to the North Carolina coast to try to find more answers.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 1990-1999, 1999, Coast, Mystery, Novels in Series, Reichs, Kathy

Kathy Reichs. Devil Bones. New York: Scribner, 2008.

In this, the eleventh Temperance Brennan novel, our favorite forensic anthropologist is back in Charlotte.  When a plumber working on a home renovation discovers a sub-cellar where some obscure religious rites appear to have taken place, Tempe is called in.  The small space contains cauldrons, statues, beads, bones, candles, a chicken carcass, and a human skull.  It’s not long before news of the discovery appears in the Charlotte Observer. When a headless body with ritual markings is found near the Catawba River, an opportunistic preacher-politician takes to the airwaves to warn of Satanism in the Queen City.  While the police try to stem an incipient witch hunt, Tempe struggles to learn the identity of the victims and the circumstances of their deaths. There’s a lot going on in Charlotte–voodoo, Santeria, dirty politics, male prostitution.  Tempe confronts it all, while dealing with the return of ex-lover Andrew Ryan and some unexpected campus politics.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Piedmont, Reichs, Kathy

Kathy Reichs. Fatal Voyage. New York: Scribner, 2001.

The fourth Temperance Brennan mystery, Fatal Voyage, opens with Temperance arriving on the scene of a commercial airline crash in the mountains of Swain County. As a member of the Disaster Mortuary Operational Response Team, she is charged with identifying bodies and investigating the crash, but her discovery of a leg that does not belong to any of the deceased passengers complicates things. She splits her time between investigating the crash and the leg, but soon finds herself accused of misconduct by a local politician. Canadian Detective Andrew Ryan, a frequent fixture in Brennan’s other investigations, also makes an appearance, trying to solve a third mystery.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2001, Mountains, Mystery, Novels in Series, Reichs, Kathy, Swain

Kathy Reichs. The Temperance Brennan Novels.

Dr. Temperance Brennan is a forensic anthropologist who divides her time between Charlotte, N.C. and Quebec. In each of these novels her job calls her to the scene of a mysterious murder and she has to rely on both her technical expertise and old-fashioned detective work to unravel the usually complicated story behind the crime. Reichs writes with authority – she is a professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and appears regularly as an expert witness in criminal trials. Most of these novels include scenes set in Charlotte, which Dr. Brennan describes as “a poster child for multiple personality disorder, the Sybil of cities.”  This series and its author are the inspiration for the television show Bones.

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Filed under Mecklenburg, Mystery, Novels in Series, Reichs, Kathy, Series