Kathy Reichs “Bones” series of books first came to my attention a few years ago. At the time I read several of them in short order, the books were full of real information mixed up with a story with plenty of wit. Recently I spotted Spider Bones in a store, and purchased it for my reading pleasure.

As with all the Temperance Brennan tales, the story itself is full of twists and turns and maybe at times a little far fetched considering the scrapes a forensic scientist can end up in throughout the novel. I suppose if you are a conspiracy theorist then they could make sense. But the reason to read a story is to suspend belief and escape real life for a while, and the Tempe stories certainly make a great way to do that.

Spider Bones contains some unusual subjects too, like auto-erotic suffocation (look it up if you need to know more 😉 ) as the first victim has died in some strange self gratifying experiment gone wrong, or has he? Which is the second thing which makes this book readable, the mystery side of things as the plot unravels the strange web following the deceaseds life, and uncovers more riddles.

For me though the greatest achievement in all the “Bones” books and including Spider Bones is the superbly rounded characters. They are all believable, Temperance Brennan (Tempe) the divorced single mum and forensic expert, her on off boyfriend Andrew Ryan (Ryan) Canadian Homicide detective, and all the other characters with human frailties and emotions. Included in the characters profiles is a level of witty humour which rounds them out nicely, making the book more pleasurable to read. That is something else which Kathy Reichs has to be complemented on, mixing humour with world of the post mortem and carrying it off so well.

In addition to the characters, humour and readable story, there is also a lot of factual information about forensic science to take in. Again Reichs makes it simple to grasp, and plausibly uses up to date forensic methods to work with the plot of Spider Bones. You can learn a little about Mitochondrial DNA, fingerprinting and dental identification by reading Spider Bones, and you won’t feel preched to or like someone is being clever for the sake of it as the explanations are made to help characters and the readers understand why and how an identification is made on a body.

So all in all, Spider bones is a great read to while away the time, learn a little, chuckle a little maybe and enjoy a well crafted story with well developed characters you can believe in. Out of 5 stars, I give it 4.5 and if you haven’t tried a Kathy Reichs novel, Spider Bones is a nice introduction as it will stand alone without the other novels.

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