Sunday, March 08, 2009

Kathy Reichs: Bones to Ashes

There are a few moments left of Sunday, so I'm sitting here stuffing myself with chocolate (not even particularly good chocolate to be honest) before it's Monday again and my Lenten conscience starts nagging me. It often doesn't stop me from, shall we say indulging, sadly, but it smarts, it smarts. Anyway, the plan is to eat all the chocolate and write several blog posts. I've only just realised that's what a lot of smart bloggers do - they write the posts in advance and keep them saved, so that when they don't have time to write they can publish from the stash and maintain an active and updated blog. This is clearly the way to go. My blog is what I in Swedish would call a "sorgebarn", i.e. something that causes me a lot of grief and anxiety. I'd like it to be so much better, by which I mean that I'd like to do the books more justice. In the beginning I tried keeping notes while I read but I couldn't keep it up. I must devise some sort of method though, because it frustrates me to remember what I meant to write about a particular novel three days later, and then forgetting AGAIN. Also, letting posts pile up and then quickly writing something to get rid of the queue is a sure-fire way to short and meaningless posts. One of the reasons why I don't read other reader blogs is that I'd feel much to inferior. Ha.

Anyway, none of this has any bearing on Bones to Ashes. It did have bearing on something else, but I've forgotten my point long ago. It's not going to make me press delete though, I mean what the hell. If my few readers have waited so long for my update I'm sure they feel that the more words the better, right?

Back to the book. I do like Kathy Reichs, and the books are SO much better than the absolutely dreadful tv series based on her novels. I mean, it's good enough to watch as re-runs at 3 am when working nights (not that tv3 are airing such re-runs at the moment, but I'm just saying it'd work), but not entertaining enough for the 8 p.m. slot which it mysteriously occupies. The tv version of Temperance Brennan has none of the charm of the novel one. In the novel we have a middle-aged (well, past 40 anyway) woman with a lifetime of experience and a quick wit and real relationships. On tv we have a slip of a girl who seems to be mildly autistic or something. But what the hell, I don't begrudge Ms Reichs the extra income. And Boreanaz had to do something after Angel, after all.

This was a typical Temperance Brennan story, with lots of different plotlines that tie together at the end in a fashion I frankly don't find altogether satisfying. Here, it starts with a Canadian childhood friend of Tempe's who disappeared long ago, and whom she has always remembered fondly (yet never before tried to locate, despite having worked in Québec for so long? I don't buy it). Also there is a skull that a rural cop uses as a paperweight, and a string of teenage abductions and murders. All of these turn out to be sort of connected, and like I said, it's a little too convenient. But it doesn't matter much. Reichs is still very readable. The banter between Brennan and Ryan is still quick and fluid, and the shop talk bits are very educational. As usual with a Reichs novel there is a strong undercurrent of real pathos, since these books are written by a woman who has worked in the crime business and seen the actual horrors first-hand. This is a strength in her work. She's not selling gore, I feel like she wants to instill empathy. I'll remain loyal to the fan club.

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