Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Déjà Dead - Kathy Reichs

At the moment I seem to be somewhat of a dreamer when it comes to reading.  I spend a lot of time thinking about books or series of books that I would like to read, and often browse them in my local library.  But actually reading the books is still difficult as ever.  When juggling various tasks all day even making time to read in bed has been going out the window.  So it's nice to know that sometimes I do manage to read the books I hunt down.

Déjà Dead is the first book in Kathy Reichs' series about Dr Temperence Brennan, an anthropologist specialising in bones.  This may sound familiar to you for the same reason I was aware of the series, in that they are the books upon which the TV series Bones is based.  I say 'based' in a very loose sense though.  The books are based in Montreal, a city that has fascinated me for quite some time and adds a different cultural element for an ignorant Brit.  Dr Brennan works with the regional law enforcement and helps to identify remains of dead bodies from their bones.  When subsequent major cases seem a bit similar Tempe tries to get a bit more involved with the different aspects of solving a crime, with escalating consequences.

Clearly reading a crime book wasn't a huge departure for me, but reading 'modern' crime was a little different.  The story is set in the 90s and so seems a lot more relevant than those from 50 or 100 years before that.  In some ways it does show its age.  Data is moved around on CD-ROMs and there is a very cute explanation of how Tempe is able to write a message on her computer and send it to her daughter's.  Still, it was recent enough to give the same realism factor that you get from watching crime TV shows.  Which helped with the scary factor.  That and I've never been good at dealing with stalker plotlines.  This also contributed to me not being able to read before bed.  I did try it at one point and hardly slept all night.

I think my reading experience suffered from me having watched so many episodes of Bones.  I kept making comparisons.  It's kind of difficult to treat them separately in your head, even when after just a few pages you're aware of how many differences there are.  It's a shame as, reflecting on what I read, I think I actually prefer the characters and the setup in this book to what I've watched.  The strengths and weaknesses of those involved were interesting to discover, as were the interpersonal relations.  I just wish I'd started with a blank canvas.  Or at least could have done a find-and-replace on Tempe's name.

Setting out to read this book I wasn't necessarily planning to read more of the series.  It was just one of those things I thought I should have read.  But it seems to have got me enough to want to read a little more.  That's not saying I'll keep reading til I run out though.  And whether my nerves will hold out through another of these books is a different matter entirely.  For now I will just continue to do what I have been doing, chipping through my to-read list at an annoyingly slow rate.  Hopefully one day I might manage to make that list shorter rather than longer...

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