Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Spider Bones, by Kathy Reichs

The books in Kathy Reichs's Temperance Brennan series are often quite informative. In Spider Bones, Tempe is trying to figure out who is buried in the 40-year-old grave of a man who has just died in Montreal--it appears that the body was misidentified in Vietnam 40 years ago. The mystery takes her to Hawaii to work with the U.S. military's Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command; through that collaboration, readers learn a lot about the military's ongoing efforts to find and identify Americans missing from conflicts as far back as the Second World War.

Of course, two bodies are not enough of a challenge for Tempe; as she identifies additional collections of body parts that turn up in various locations in Hawaii, she untangles two cases that appear to be unrelated but actually are closely intertwined. In the process, we learn about sharks, Samoan gangs, and a bizarre genetic anomaly. Frankly, the story is farfetched, but it's still moderately interesting.

The sexual tension with Detective Andrew Ryan actually seems to be gone. Still, the two, along with their daughters--both facing problems of their own--share a house in Hawaii, providing domestic turmoil to accompany the professional challenge.

Not a great mystery--but interesting enough to devote a few hours to.

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