Winter has come to North Carolina and, with it, a drop in crime. Freed from a heavy work schedule, Tempe Brennan is content to dote on her daughter Katy, finally returned to civilian life from the army. But when mother and daughter meet at Tempe’s place one night, they find a box on the back porch. Inside: a very fresh human eyeball.
GPS coordinates etched into the eyeball lead to a Benedictine monastery where an equally macabre discovery awaits. Soon after, Tempe examines a mummified corpse in a state park, and her anxiety deepens.
There seems to be no pattern to the subsequent killings uncovered, except that each mimics in some way a homicide that a younger Tempe had been called in to analyze. Who or what is targeting her, and why?
Helping Tempe search for answers is detective Erskine “Skinny” Slidell, retired but still volunteering with the CMPD cold case unit—and still displaying his gallows humor. Also pulled into the mystery: Andrew Ryan, Tempe’s Montreal-based beau, now working as a private detective.
Could this elaborately staged skein of mayhem be the prelude to a twist that is even more shocking? Tempe is at a loss to establish the motive for what is going on…and then her daughter disappears.
At its core, Cold, Cold Bones is a novel of revenge—one in which revisiting the past may prove the only way to unravel the present.
I’ve read some of the other Brennan books and I enjoyed them, but I barely made myself finish this one. Tempe kept doing stupid stuff, frankly, and that wasn’t very believable for me, knowing this character. Oh, I know a serial copycat killer is after me and someone just busted my window in the middle of the night, but I’m going outside to see if someone is out there…No. This just did not work for me. A character that’s supposed to be smart making repeatedly dumb moves just sours the entire book for me.
Kathy Reichs is a bestselling author. Cold Cold Bones is her newest novel.
(Galley courtesy of Scribner in exchange for an honest review.)