December 8, 2023


Forensic anthropologist, Temperance Brennan, is ‘back-in-action’ just in time for the NASCAR Race Week. Battling murderers, opposing theories and over 200,000 ecstatic fans at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, Brennan must use her forensic knowledge and wit to unearth the mystery of a dead body found near the racetrack in “Flash and Bones,” published by Simon & Schuster, Inc. in August.


In her 14th novel of her Temperance Brennan series, author Kathy Reichs expertly weaves together a forensic thriller that keeps readers on the edge of their seats from beginning to end. Focusing on scientific procedures and extensive NASCAR history, this fast-paced read does not lower its standards for readers but brings the audience to Brennan’s level of expertise through witty and thorough explanation.


At the beginning, Brennan’s laid-back lifestyle conveys a sense of lacking or monotony. However, this feeling quickly disappears when she is soon faced with an unknown body buried in asphalt, a case of two missing teenagers once involved in a right-wing extremist group and multiple possibilities at love vying for her attention.


When asked about the angle of extremist groups in an interview at the end of her latest book, Reichs said, “Preferring comfort in numbers, some right-wing fanatics form clubs or militias. That is the case in ‘Flash and Bones.’ Tempe is drawn into the world of an extremist group and must learn their philosophy and decipher their code of conduct in order to determine their role in a cold case that disturbs her greatly.”


Reichs, like Brennan, is a forensic anthropologist that determines causes of death in murder victims for police investigations. Her expert knowledge is called upon in infamous cases like the murders of Canadian serial killer Serge Archambault and the recent Casey Anthony trial, according to USA Today’s feature article on Reichs’ career.


Her real-life experiences from casework greatly influence her novels.


“I am like a scavenger, always on the lookout for a snack,” she said in her interview, “but instead of food, it is criminal twists I am after. I keep my eyes and ears open for interesting characters, bizarre case elements and cutting edge science. A Temperance Brennan plot may derive from any number of sources.”


Her forensic cases’ twists and turns are so intriguing, in fact, that Fox Network created “Bones,” the successful crime drama TV series currently in its seventh season, loosely based on Brennan and inspired by Reichs herself. As a producer on the show, it is obvious that her fame spreads across much more than the forensic community.


Whether readers start with the first book of the Brennan series or go directly to its latest volume, they are in for a forensic treat. Best read in a relaxed and extended sitting, this book is great for a beach trip or cozy weekend curled up with a blanket. Any way it is read, “Flash and Bones” is sure to whet the appetite of readers looking for an intellectual thrill.


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