REVIEW: Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs

231604Title: Deja Dead
Author: Kathy Reichs
Year of Publication: 1997
Genre: Mystery
Format: Audio Book
Length: 16 hours and 3 minutes
First Line: “I wasn’t thinking about the man who’d blown himself up.”

Summary: In the year since Temperance Brennan left behind a shaky marriage in North Carolina, work has often preempted her weekend plans to explore Quebec. When a female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in trash bags, Tempe detects an alarming pattern — and she plunges into a harrowing search for a killer. But her investigation is about to place those closest to her — her best friend and her own daughter — in mortal danger…

Review: So like many who picked up this book 2005 and onwards I did so because this series is based on the hit TV show Bones. However within the first couple sentences you quickly realize that the TV show is loosely based on the book series. As of this novel, there’s no actual characters called Seeley Booth, Angela Montenegro, Jack Hodgins, etc. The setting is in Quebec, Canada not Washington D.C., USA. Brennan herself is a lot different from her TV counterpart. Book Brennan is a recovering alcoholic, recently divorced and has a daughter in college. She also seems to be not respected by the police unlike in the TV show. It’s different. Let’s move on.

This was Reichs’ first novel and I think it shows. Like in all TV shows and novels of this genre, Brennan is someone outside of the police who helps them on cases. In this novel Brennan kind of forces her way into this investigation after being initially called in to look at a body. What really annoyed me was that all the evidence the police collected was everything Brennan had discovered. Brennan did all the legwork while the cops just sat back and ate donuts? I find this bullshit. Even in shows like Castle the police do a butt load of work. It’s not 100% Castle 0% NYPD. But that was in this novel. 100% Brennan 0% Police.

I could tell who the serial killer was or at least which direction you needed to go to find the serial killer WAY before they did. It seemed too obvious to me. The police and Brennan find body #2 (it might have been 3 God all the victims ran together) in a church yard. Only two people have the keys to get into this church yard. They only interview ONE of these people. Hmmm. I wonder who the killer is? I am not sure if Reichs thought the reader would have missed that only one of the two people were interviewed in such an important event or that the reader would forget but either way it was stupid.

Brennan was a dumbass. That’s really all that can be said. Her best friend is one of the victim’s of the serial killer (wow I didn’t see that coming). Brennan’s friend had informed her that she was being stalked and was hiding low at Brennan’s place. And what does Brennan do? Kind of ignore that she is present in the apartment for a week even though she knows that her best friend is being stalked, there’s a serial killer hunting women loose and has his eye on Brennan. So no shit when you leave your friend alone in your own apartment for a week, not bothering to check on her to see if she is alive or okay, she ends up dead. Good lesson to learn. Check up on your friend if she is staying over.

The writing of the serial killer when Brennan finally encounters him reminds me A LOT of One For The Money by Janet Evanovich. Reichs literally just has him screaming ‘bitch’ at Brennan every other word, grunting and torturing her with a chain to be big and scary. But really what I remembered was the horrible dialogue for him. Like, “Die bitch! I’m going to get you bitch!” Very disappointing and makes the killer not frightening at all.

Reichs writes a lot in French. This takes place in Quebec what do you expect. But it was annoying. I can recognize some French words and phrases (hey thanks 3 years of French in high school) but for your average reader they will not have a clue. Sometimes there is a translation after the French word or phrase, like Allons-y, Let’s go. But that is few and far between.

This book shows it age as well. Since it was published in 1997, the internet and home computers were starting to be in full swing. Brennan talks about their one person new computer research department and how new computers are. I did grow up in the 90s so I recall these days (oh God I am making myself sound so ancient) but I feel like if a teenager or preteen picked up this book they would be in such confusion. It’s been a little over 10 years since this book was published but man have times changed.

There is forensic talk and graphic gore but if you aren’t new to this genre or shows like Bones it will be nothing new to you or nothing to freak you out too badly. I found it interesting actually. Very detailed and the process intriguing.

I found this to be an enjoyable read despite all the book’s issues and differences from the TV show. If you are into the crime genre/someone outside the police helps the police genre then go ahead and pick this up. If you want to read it because of Bones go ahead but be warned it is really nothing like the show otherwise you will probably not like it.

Worst part: Very predictable.

Best part: I actually enjoyed the forensics of it.

Grade: C

Recommend For: Fans of the TV show Bones, fans of crime, people who like it when people outside the police solve crimes

Other Books by This Author: Bones Are Forever and Fatal Voyage

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