Select one of the keywords
The Devil's Bones: A Body Farm Novel    by Jefferson Bass order for
Devil's Bones
by Jefferson Bass
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2008 (2008)

Read an Excerpt

* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Two authors write this series starring forensic anthropologist Bill Brockton under the pen name of Jefferson Bass - forensic anthropologist and Body Farm founder Dr. Bill Blass, and Jon Jefferson, journalist, writer and documentary filmmaker. Though I missed the previous two entries, Carved in Bone and Flesh and Bone, that in no way diminished my enjoyment of The Devil's Bones.

Protagonist Bill Brockton runs the Body Farm, the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Research Facility where human corpses are left to the elements on three acres of land, in order to better understand human decomposition. As The Devil's Bones opens, Brockton is still grieving over the murder of his lover, Chattanooga medical examiner Dr. Jess Carter by another medical examiner, Garland Hamilton (Brockton himself was a prime suspect for the killing in Flesh and Bone).

Several different forensic puzzles pull readers through the plot this time. Bill's asked to investigate the case of Mary Louise Latham, found burned to death in her car on a Knoxville farm. Her husband Stuart is the obvious suspect, since he inherits, but the method is not obvious. Also Burt DeVriess, who acted as Bill's criminal defense attorney, asks him to assess the cremains of his aunt (which are missing her titanium knees) - leading to the discovery of a Georgia crematorium taking serious shortcuts.

As if these problems were not enough, Brockton's evil nemesis, Garland Hamilton, escapes custody, bent on revenge against Bill and those close to him. What begins as a slow, meandering - though fascinating - read builds to an outstanding and very dramatic conclusion, in which the tables are turned in a highly satisfactory manner - after both Bill Brockton and his brilliant, brave and lovely graduate assistant Miranda are singed, kitchen matches win the day.

I enjoyed The Devil's Bones, not only for its credible forensic and Body Farm research details - and insights into topics like spontaneous combustion - but also for the ongoing witty banter between Bill Brockton and colleagues like criminalist Art Bohanan. This is a series that I intend to follow.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews