review copy; 352 pages
Temperance Brennan Series #19
A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs is a highly recommended 19th novel in the series featuring forensic anthropologist Temperance (Tempe) Brennan.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, Tempe is recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm when she receives a series of texts, each containing a picture of a faceless, hand-less corpse. Her interest is immediately piqued. She doesn't know who the sender is, but she wants to discovery the identity of the man and why the pictures were sent to her. A corpse turns up, but Tempe's new boss, Medical Examiner Margot Heavner, doesn't like her and has not called her in to assist.
Tempe manages to collect clues from the corpse and moves forward with her clandestine investigation, with help from ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell. As Tempe uses all her skills to try and uncover the twisted trails leading to the truth, she uncovers the name of the dead man. That leads to even more follows trails that include crimes against children, a spiritual retreat, and into a site on the dark web. She is also questioning herself because she experiences migraines, nightmares, and thinks she might be hallucinating.
Fans of the long running series will be pleased to see Tempe's return, but especially to see Reichs back writing the series. The focus of this installment is more about Tempe's ability to still puzzle through clues and solve a case, while recovering and overcoming health concerns. While I haven't read all the novels in the series, this was a well-written investigative novel and Tempe is a fascinating character. Her health is a concern, but she still is compelled to investigate.
The development of Tempe's character moves forward and evolves, as she is the main focus of the novel. She does interact with other known characters from the series. While you could read this as a stand-alone novel, it might be more beneficial to read some of the earlier novels in order to establish more background information about the characters and the series.
Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Simon & Schuster.