Something like a year ago, I was consistently trolling the mystery section of my various Half-Price Books in search of the Dexter books, because of how that show is so very, very good. And it occurred to me, hey, why not look for the Bones books, too? Bones, see, is this show on Fox starring TV’s Angel as well as a forensic anthropologist, and together they fight crime in Washington D.C.! Except, despite how ironically I’m painting the picture, it really is awesome, and mostly because of the character of Temperance Brennan and her inability to put up with people being all needlessly human. Plus, the show is really funny, and rarely gets bogged down in CSI-style self-congratulatory evidence analysis. Plus plus, anthropology is one of my secret interests. Anyway, said show was based on this series of books, right? And that’s what I was looking for, and I found some, and now you know!
What you don’t know is that I managed to pry myself away from Harry Dresden long enough to fulfill my long-standing rule against consecutive books and read Déjà Dead this week. In thumbnail, Dr. Brennan uses her skill at analyzing bones as well as some natural investigative talent to catch a serial killer, much as you’d expect as a fan of the show. (Which surely you are.) But in the details… well, there’s Brennan, who is at least pretty close to the one on TV, but she lives in Montreal and mostly hangs out with French police who are not in any way reminiscent of vampires. Plus, the research team part is entirely missing. Plus, lots and lots of French. So that took some period of adjustment, but after a few dozen pages I started pretending that these books are being written by TV’s Bones (as she is canonically known to do), and then it became a lot easier to adjust to, even down to maybe trying to pick out some of the character-analogs from the show (as they are canonically known to do; try to find themselves as characters in Bones’ books, I mean.)
Upshot: extremely well-written thriller without too much technobabble, no danger of anyone starting up a vampire-werewolf love triangle (this is a bigger problem with modern fiction than you might expect), and more than one engaging character. I was starting to get annoyed by the way that she’d keep going off by herself into danger for no obviously good reason, but even that was handled fairly plausibly, and I think it will be less of a concern in future books.