"Grave Secrets", by Kathy Reichs

Grave Secrets  - Kathy Reichs

Book #5 in the Temperance Brenna series

I have been following this series for a very long time and for one reason or another I missed “Grave Secrets” the library had it so I seized the opportunity.

This story takes us from the familiar American and Canadian locations to a village in Guatemala. Between 1962 and 1996 during the country’s civil war, a bloody massacre occurred and thousands of souls lost their lives. The story echoes Ms. Reichs’ real life experience when she was asked to be part of an international team of forensic experts to excavate a mass grave site, identify the victims and determine how they died. Temperance Brennan plays the fictional role and will soon learn first-hand what a depressing assignment it will turn out to be, politics sometimes trumps justice. 

We get to the heart of the story and the action picks up momentum when Tempe is pulled from the mass burial site to investigate other remains. The gravity of the situation is amplified when it is learned that many young girls are missing and Tempe quickly suspects there could be a serial killer on the loose and may even have ties to a respected Canadian ambassador. Tempe under pressure from Canadian authorities is encouraged to treat the disappearance of the young girls from Guatemala City as her new priority. 

Teaming up with Special Crimes Investigator Bartolomé Galiano and Montreal detective Andrew Ryan, the trio find themselves in the hot seat facing a deadly adversary where power, money, and greed are pitted against the best in police technology. 

After reading many novels I have come to expect lots of technical details about forensics and its related fields, this time I found myself saturated to a point I needed to skim through some. Nevertheless the plotting is quite crafty and the story very interesting although I did find the narration to have a backroom style peppered with many old clichés. The main characters are well rounded, likeable and realistic and as a diversion, Ms. Reichs added a juicy and funny love triangle and a series of red herrings to entertain us.

All this said and done, this chilling mystery may not have been my favourite, however I did enjoy it.