Published - 1998
Publisher - Arrow Books
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - Rarely has a debut
crime novel inspired such widespread excitement. A born storyteller, Dr.
Kathy Reichs walks in the steps of her heroine, Dr. Temperance Brennan.
She spends her days in the autopsy suite, the courtroom, the crime lab,
with cops, and at exhumation sites. Often her long days turn into
It's June in Montreal, and Tempe, who has left a
shaky marriage back home in North Carolina to take on the challenging
assignment of director of forensic anthropology for the province of
Quebec, looks forward to a relaxing weekend.
First, though, she
must stop at a newly uncovered burial site in the heart of the city. One
look at the decomposed and decapitated corpse, stored neatly in plastic
bags, tells her she'll spend the weekend in the crime lab. This is
homicide of the worst kind. To begin to find some answers, Tempe must
first identify the victim. Who is this person with the reddish hair and a
small bone structure?
Déja Dead is the first book in the Temperance Brennan series written by Kathy Reichs and also the basis for FOX's TV show Bones in which Brennan is an Anthropologist -turn - author of books about Kathy Reichs! However, I would say this book is for fans of the crime genre and not specifically for fans of the TV show as it is significantly different. The only character with the same name is Temperance Brennan but personality wise, Brennan is not the same character. There are some similarities between characters on the TV show and those in the books but not so specific as to pin them down.
The book had me interested from the start although i'm unsure if that is due to the writing or because I have been a fan of the show for years and have been wanting to read this book for at least 12 months! By about the half way point Déja Dead was definitely un-putdownable! I think the book was very well written and the plot was definitely interesting. However, I have 2 points to make.
1. Even though my guesses at who the killer was were wrong, I found at least part of the plot too predictable and I had predicted it by the third chapter.
2. There were parts where the motives behind Brennan's actions completely confused me, even with the book being told from her point of view.
Kathy Reichs, being a real life forensic anthropologist, describes what Brennan does with the bones, the marks she looks at and the tests she does, in accurate detail. These are real tests and the marks left behind by a saw and what these marks indicate are facts; tests she actually performed in real life. I don't think these would be too hard to follow for a non-scientist, and those who are might appreciate the realism. Again on the knowledge front, Déja Dead being set in Montreal, Quebec is heavy on the French. You don't need a French vocab past yes, no, Mr & Mrs, with most dialogue (including French dialogue) being written in English but it is heavy on French names and thr names of official organisations. Maybe an ability to pronounce these French words might help, as I have none!
Overall it was a very enjoyable read and I can't wait to read the next one: Death Du Jour.