(Above is the US cover)

​Available on Amazon.com at: amzn.to/2TmaZFJ

3 out of 5 ***’s

Dr. Temperance Brennan is recovering from neurosurgery for an aneurysm and suffering from post-op migraines and hallucinations when she receives some anonymous text messages containing photos of a dead male with no face or hands.

This unknown corpse pits Tempe against her new boss who’s determined to keep her away from the case, and she must elicit the help of ex-homicide inspector Skinny Slidell to get to the final truth behind this man’s identity.

My review:

This is Kathy Reich’s come back thriller after a year off due to serious health issues. She gives those same issues to Tempe Brennan, which must’ve been therapeutic as Reichs recovered. Still, I found this book lacked the smooth storytelling Reich’s is known for, along with her detailed plotting.

As I hadn’t read the preceding book, which she refers to throughout this story, I felt at a disadvantage and I wished she hadn’t relied so much on the reader knowing about Larabee’s death and why Ryan had taken off for Europe. The entire story rests on Tempe teaming up with Detective Slidell, a side character who she’s mainly stayed away from, or secretly loathed in other books. This partnership struck me as off-putting and when no other main characters (other than Tempe’s mother here and there) appeared in the story, it started to feel quite “one note”.

Ryan makes an overnight appearance from Paris but almost immediately returns to do his PI work after he checks in on Tempe to make sure she’s going to live, but they do nothing to repair or move their relationship forward. As she’s turned down his marriage proposal, and that was supposedly a big deal in the last book, this felt stilted and just an “add on” to the main story.

Also, Reichs led us down one path thinking that the criminal elements are going in a certain direction, but the ending is tied up too quickly and that “path” turns out to be a non sequitur. It’s unsatisfying for the reader and I was disappointed that she took the easy way out. I can’t say more without spoilers, but I really wanted Tempe’s nemesis and the “bad guys” she was unmasking to have a more concrete comeuppance and go away for a long time. But she pulled back on the trigger and the ending falls flat.

I’m looking forward to her next book, when she’s hopefully fully regained her health and brings Tempe and Ryan into a more legitimate relationship and hasn’t killed off any more of her readers favourite characters. Tempe has lots of possibilities ahead of her going into middle age and regaining her reputation – please, Ms. Reichs, don’t disappoint your many fans!

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