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A Conspiracy of Bones: A Temperance Brennan Novel    by Kathy Reichs order for
Conspiracy of Bones
by Kathy Reichs
Order:  USA  Can
Scribner, 2020 (2020)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

A Conspiracy of Bones is the nineteenth in Kathy Reichs' deservedly popular series starring forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance Brennan. Tempe typically shares her time between Charlotte, North Carolina and Montreal, Quebec, working in both locations.

At this stage in the series, her relationship with blue-eyed Quebec Detective Andrew Ryan has evolved to the point where they are sharing their apartments (when they are in the same city) in Montreal and Charlotte. Tempe's job situation is less rosy though, as is her health. After the death of the boss she respected, her arch-enemy, Dr. Margot Heavner ('forensic pathologist, author, and showboat extraordinaire' known as Dr. Morgue) has been hired as the new Medical Examiner. She began freezing out Tempe immediately.

This mystery begins when gory photos of a dead man, his face 'a horror show of macerated flesh and bone', are sent to Tempe on her mobile. Of course, she starts digging, getting some help - and information - from an ally in the ME office, old death investigator Joe Hawkins, and working with Detective Skinny Slidell (who's also no fan of Heavner's). Tempe discovers that a note found on the victim was in Latvian, and another piece of paper they find has Tempe's own mobile number on it!

Another clue links to a missing child, still an open case, and Tempe learned that the dead man might have been a spy and had accessed information on missing kids on the deep net. Reckless as always, Tempe is attacked more than once. She finds a connection to conspiracy theory sleazebag Nick Body, and to a business selling underground bunkers - what's this all about? Finally a pattern emerges - and Heavner is part of it. A Conspiracy of Bones is one of the best in an edgy, engrossing series.

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