Monday, March 2, 2009

THE DEVIL'S BONES by Jefferson Bass

By Jefferson Bass
William Morrow/Harper Collins
10 East 53rd Street
New York, NY 10022
ISBN: 9780060759858
Hardback, 315 pages, $24.95
Genre: Mystery

Forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton is trying to figure out who murdered Mary Latham and how her car caught fire and burned so extensively when his criminal defense attorney gives him what are claimed to be the cremains (cremated remains) of his aunt, which look more like concrete mix than bone ash. With the help of forensic scientist Art Bohanan, Brockton investigates the crematorium in Georgia that was responsible for the cremation but keeps butting up against stone walls. Eventually, he discovers a horror the likes of which he has never seen before. Meanwhile, he learns that his nemesis, former medical examiner Garland Hamilton, has escaped from prison and is on the prowl. Knowing he’s in Hamilton’s sites, Brockton is relieved to learn Hamilton’s charred body is discovered at a fire scene in Cooke County. However, as Brockton soon finds out, things are not always as they seem.

This third installment in the Body Farm series is, as usual, chock full of interesting forensics information relayed through Brockton and his assistant, Miranda. Readers may find the book distracting as it seems to meander along from one investigation to the other, then dashes off to the conflict between Brockton and Hamilton. Although the three mysteries within the plot are good ones, perhaps focusing on one or two would provide a stronger read. The forensics investigations help buffer the distraction and will keep the reader invested throughout the book.

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