Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Book Review: Monday Mourning

I probably wouldn't have bothered reading this on my own, but Leann was looking for something to read. When I spotted this book at DI (along with several other books by Kathy Reichs), I called her to see if she was interested, since we've been watching the television show Bones lately [1] and that series is based on these books by Kathy Reichs. Ultimately Leann didn't read it for reasons discussed below. Most of Reichs' books have the word bones in the title, but this one inexplicably didn't—I say inexplicably because the title had absolutely nothing (as far as I could tell) to do with the plot. It seems it was chosen willy-nilly.

Overall, I was surprised to find that the science is more pervasive in the television show and that the characters on the show are both more interesting and more literary than their counterparts in the books. The forensic anthropology was surprisingly sparse. The only concepts that were brought up were 1. grave wax, 2. that atomic testing altered the 14C content of Earth's atmosphere, and 3. that the ratios of strontium isotopes in bones can be used to determine where a person lived.

Many of the characters behave in unbelievable ways. For example, Temperance Brennan (the main character) is told that her boyfriend, Ryan, is cheating on her with a much younger girl. Does she confront him? No. Does she end the relationship? No. She continues to see him. A few times she shouts at him and makes veiled accusations. But for the most part she just goes on long car rides (or to dinner) with him and manages to say nothing about it and sometimes nothing at all.

My verdict: Too much profanity for my taste. My sister-in-law, Jennie, read the book before me. Since Leann was thinking about reading it, Jennie crossed out all the swear words and replaced them with minced oaths.[2] But I could usually still tell what was written there. That, combined with the complaints listed above, make me inclined to forgo reading any more books by Kathy Reichs.


[1] For my reviews of Seasons 6.0 and 6.5 of Bones see here and here, respectively.

[2] Side note as a footnote: Jennie's the only person I know who says "Have Mercy!"

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