‘Deja Dead’ by Kathy Reichs (#1 Temperance Brennan Series)

Author: Kathy Reichs
Genre: Fiction, Crime, Thriller
First Published: 1997
Pages: 509

After recovering a dead body, Dr. Temperance Brennan is convinced that a serial killer is at large. However, with no one on the police force believing her, it is up to Tempe to track down the killer herself. Before long, it becomes personal.

Dr. Temperance Brennan is the Director of Anthropology for the province of Quebec, Canada. It is her job to assess any bones discovered in the region, to determine whether a police investigation is required. When they unearth the body of a young woman, Brennan has a strange feeling of déjà vu. The precise dismemberment of the body reminds her of an earlier case, which then triggers the memory of another. After studying the cases closely, Tempe is convinced they were all committed by the same person. With no support from the police in her suspicions, she decides to track down the killer herself.

As the bodies begin to pile up, the message starts to become clearer – it’s getting personal. Tempe receives a gruesome message from the killer, and soon the lives of those she loves are under threat. When Tempe finally thinks she is safe, she must face the killer face to face.

I haven’t read a crime book for quite a long time now and I wasn’t sure if I would still love the genre as much as I used to. However, I had nothing to fear because as soon as I picked this book up it was impossible to put it down. I wasn’t sure how Reichs would successfully draw out the plot over five-hundred pages while maintaining the pace, but she achieved it brilliantly. The end of almost every chapter is left on an agonising cliff-hanger, which will keep you reading well into the night. The other thing that really struck me about the book was the effect that it had on me; it really had me feeling on edge, (even from the safety of my own room!) to the point of looking over my shoulder. However, Reichs also managed to successfully add in elements of black humour, at which you do find yourself chuckling.

As a lover of the TV series ‘Bones,’ I was surprised how much the books differed. Tempe is much less socially awkward in the books, but still as headstrong as the actor portrays her. If anyone was a fan of the show and wanted to read the books I would suggest them to consider the books separate from the TV programme, as they are incredibly different but equally brilliant. After reading ‘Déjà Dead’ I am eager to start reading the other books in the series, and see how Reichs adapts the stories to make them all unique.

Favourite Quotes: ‘I’d painstakingly examined the hair, searching for fibres or other trace evidence. As I separated the damp strands, I couldn’t help imagining the last time the victim had combed it, wondering if she’d been pleased, frustrated, indifferent. Good hair day. Bad hair day. Dead hair day.’ (p. 18)

‘He looked like a tall, confused dandelion, with his long, thin stem and puff of white hair.’ (p. 36)

Rating: 9/10

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