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Carved in Bone    by Jefferson Bass order for
Carved in Bone
by Jefferson Bass
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson comprise the writing team of Jefferson Bass. Both men have the credentials to write this engrossing novel. Dr. Bass, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist, is the founder of the real-life Body Farm in Tennessee - popularized in Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta thrillers. Jefferson is a veteran journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker. Carved in Bone is the result of the collaboration of two gifted men.

The reader finds Dr. Bill Brockton doing research at the body farm when a sheriff's deputy interrupts him. A woman's corpse has been found in a cave in the mountains of East Tennessee. By the condition of the body, covered in a waxy-like coating, Dr. Bass is able to determine that the woman has been dead at least thirty years. He also discovers that the victim had been pregnant and was murdered.

The tale progresses from this point with enough action to satisfy any mystery reader - and enough forensic detail to keep the reader gasping. Though they may not be for the squeamish, I found the forensic details fascinating. The human body is so finely crafted and mysterious. A wonder to behold. The authors never lose sight of the fact that the bones they work on are human and deserve to be treated with respect. Which is not the way the living bad guys treat their victims. And bad guys do abound.

Carved in Bone has a great plot line to go along with the unique character of the Tennessee mountains. I have been in that part of the world and can appreciate the beauty built into the story. Suspense, murder, mayhem, moonshine, a love story gone wrong, marijuana and ginseng - everything a mystery could possibly want without being trite. Carved in Bone is a first novel not to be missed. The reader can only hope that another Jefferson Bass collaboration is in the works.

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