Becky’s One Hundred and Forty-Seventh Book Review: “Déjà Dead” by Kathy Reichs

“Déjà Dead” by Kathy Reichs is the first book in the series that the television show Bones is based off of. I have been curious about this book for a while and finally got around to reading it. I was pretty underwhelmed with the book to start with but soon found myself absorbed in the story. I found the way that Reichs writes the story to be very interesting and unusual, this probably stems from the fact that she was a forensic anthropologist first and a novelist second. There was a lot of technical language that I found to be confusing and I also disliked the fact that there was so much French in the book. That aside, I did find myself drawn into the world of Dr. Brennan.

“Déjà Dead” follows a forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan, who is called in to assist when a body is discovered that is too decomposed for a standard autopsy. Brennan begins to work on the body and soon believes that the murder is the work of a serial killer. This theory is not well received by Detective Claudel who believes that Brennan is just stirring up trouble and will cause unnecessary panic. Claudel spends a lot of time trying to curb Brennan’s investigation and it is only when more bodies start to pile up that he considers her theory.

There were several instances when I was reading “Déjà Dead” where I was taken up by the writing and how powerful it seemed. For example, “I’ve long suspected that many of my memories of childhood are actually drawn from old pictures, that they are a composite of snapshots, a mosaic of celluloid images networked into a remembered reality. Kodak cast backwards. Maybe it’s better to recall the past that way. We rarely take pictures of sad occasions.” (Déjà Dead, loc 677). I remember actually pausing when I read this passage and just reflecting on the words that she had written. I found this happening multiple times when I was reading. “Was he relishing what he’d done today? Was his blood lust satiated, or was his need to kill heightened by the act itself?” (Déjà Dead, loc 1144). Another quote that I really enjoyed was, “The wind had stopped during my labors, leaving an unsettling hush. The quiet pounded on my ears.” (Déjà Dead, loc 2426). I felt this was a quote that anyone could relate to. Reading that sentence I could place myself in Brennan’s shoes.

Would I recommend this book? Not to everyone. I think that there are some people that might find this book to be very entertaining and there are others who dislike having to read something that takes a while to develop. I don’t think this is a book that I will pick up to reread; however I am going to continue reading the series. “Déjà Dead” definitely got exciting after the first third of the book or so. I hope that the series improves steadily.


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