Tempe Brennan’s latest outing takes her from her home in Quebec to the wastes of the outer edge of the Arctic Circle.
The story moves from the apparently straight forward case of a missing mother who has killed her babies to the hostile environment of diamond claims, convoluted family loyalties and unfriendly locals. Add to that Tempe’s own complex relationships with her colleagues and you have another classic Kathy Reichs thriller which zings along at high speed, full of insoluble conundrums. Despite Tempe’s constant exposure to the brutal and macabre, she is still touchingly moved and distressed by the details of this latest case and draws on all her professional skills plus those of close colleagues to uncover truth. For a long time all she exposes are more questions of increasing opacity. But of course in the end everything falls in to place, motives become clear and the innocent are exonerated while the guilty get their true come-uppance.
Tempe’s dedication and commitment are almost surreal and certainly her budget is beyond most official bodies these days. Where she does ring true as a character is in her connections with other characters. Her relationships with the two men on her team exemplify the skill of a woman dealing with testosterone-fuelled rivalry; her touch is amusing and deft. As a brisk summer read, Kathy Reichs is unparalleled enjoyment. For those readers who would prefer some growth in their heroine, she is somewhat disappointing.