Thursday, 23 January 2014

Brianna Reviews - Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs

First Published - July 17th 2001
Publisher - Arrow Books
Format - Paperback
Synopsis - When a plane crashes high in the mountains of North Carolina, Dr. Temperence Brennan is first on the scene. As a forensic anthropologist for the state, she serves on the disaster response team. The task that cofronts her is a sad and sickening one. A chance discovery concerns Tempe: a severed foor, away from the main crash site. A deserted house is buried so deep in the woods that locals know nothing of its existence. And her investigation throws up more questions than answers. Before she can make any progress Tempe's profesiional standing is threatened. But she fears that, air tragedy aside, another corpse lies in the woods. Pitting herself against a conspiracy of silence, Tempe vows to bring justice for her mystery victim

As you might remember from my last Tempe Brennan review I was really mad at the way it ended, so it should come as a surprise that I went out and bought the next book as soon as possible.
Tempe is driving back to Quebec when a plane crashes in North Carolina as a member of DMORT (Disaster Mortuary Response Ream) and she is redirected to the site of the crash to help with the identification process. This book however is not really about the identification of the victims of the crash. While at the crash site, she uncovers a much more disturbing mystery than how the plane came down (and that really says something for how disturbing it is!).

In short I enjoyed reading Fatal Voyage, as again with the previous books, it gives the scientific explanations for some of the techniques and evidence. They are still a little long winded for me in places but I like them. I like knowing these things and why this tiny patch in that soil sample is important. I have a small problem with Kathy Reich’s writing style though. I know this has taken until the fourth book to mention but it is only now that I’m sure it’s the books and not me, and that is sometimes in dialogue it’s a little difficult to work out who is talking and who said what. Eventually I work it out but sometimes it takes rereading the conversation a few times which really slows down the reading process. The questions of Tempe's integrity make her consider why she is in such a morbid career which she has already answered in previous books but without specifically saying "this is why I do it", so it's nice to be definitely told.
Apologies for the constant referral to past reviews but this is a kind of series so suck it up. For the past 3 books I’ve been saying that I think Tempe is too short/mean/ horrible to Ryan. Well this book tipped that on its head a little. Ryan reappears in this book (and I may have squealed slightly – thankfully I was at home and not in public) after his partial disappearance from the last book and you will also remember that I wanted more answers to what was going on. Well he comes back and doesn’t say a word about it. Not only that but he acts like a complete ass with Tempe and this time he deserves the way she has previously treated him, although this time she is actually nicer to him. It is somewhat understandable given the whole Bertrand situation but I don’t think it is excusable.  
The Bertrand situation is something about this book that I really like (not the situation itself - I’m not that evil). But the fact that it has carried part of a past case into the current book I like that touch of continuity. I guess it's what makes a series a series because I always have difficulty with how to classify these kinds of books with a recurring main character but entirely separate cases because they are the kind of book that you could read entirely independent of the rest of the series and you wouldn't really miss out on too much - except character development and history. But once you start dragging old cases into it no matter how minor a part or detail it makes it a more coherent series.
Kathy Reichs teases us at the start with the suggestion that yet another member of Tempe’s family is involved or in danger in this book, thankfully they are not, but someone Tempe knows is… seriously people,  avoid her like the plague! Tempe could also use some lessons in common sense as yet again she rushes herself off into danger, and as per every other book she has friends who are police, this time she even tries to phone some of them, gets halfway through dialling Ryan’s number  before deciding not to, maybe she actually has a death wish.
In summary I did really enjoy this book, it felt comfortable to read, and there were the times when I really didn’t want to put it down. I’m resigned to Tempe having no sense of self preservation and to always being frustrated about everything to do with Ryan… I still need that explanation for the drugs thing and is it all over now? So although I still rant about them I don’t think they take anything away from the books (although an explanation about Ryan might add a couple of pages… just saying.) I of course plan on reading the next one, but I don’t yet own it and I’m not in any rush right now.

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