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A quick & okay read (3.5*)
am 27. August 2011
The fourteenth book in Reich's Temperance Brennan-series is entirely set in Reich's and Tempe's home town Charlotte one week after her Hawaii vacation in "Spider Bones", right at the start of NASCAR Race Week. Tempe is asked to identify a body found in a barrel of asphalt near the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Simultaneously she is drawn into the reinvestigation of a teenage couple that disappeared in 1998. Both cases seem to be connected to NASCAR in general to the speedway in particular and may also have to do with right-wing supremacist groups. The FBI interferes with the investigation, files disappear, another person involved with the NASCAR races dies, a busted ex-cop turned head of security for the speedway has his own interest in the cases and Pete's soon-to-be-dumber-than-protozoa-but-cup-D-bride barges in on Tempe with the request to help her get Pete interested in planning their nuptials and all the while there are shards of Tempe's love life...
As you can see there is a lot going on in the latest Tempe Brennan novel. Readers new to this series need not worry that they won't be able to follow, Reichs cues readers in on Tempes job, qualifications and personal relations. Speaking of those: For a (more than welcome) change no lovey-dovey talk in this one, although Tempe's hormones are about to overrule her neocortex more than once.
Even though I enjoyed Charlotte and the good ole South as the setting, biggest problem for me was that most of the plot evolved around NASCAR and I am not interested in NASCAR races at all. Reichs usually provides interesting tidbits, but she did not succeed in getting me interested this time. In fact I found all the NASCAR-stuff quite dull. Therefore the first one- star- deduction.
The next deduction of half a star is due to the fact that there were far too many characters involved which were not evenly developed well, and that there were subplots/relations that did not really lead anywhere but may have been meant to provide groundwork for further books to come.
Although I read this one in one sitting (it is only 278 pages including bonus Q&A), I keep wondering what has happened to the old Tempe in her truly thrilling and chilling ventures and whether she will ever be back. If you are a fan to this series, read this one - it is a quick and okay read. If you are new to the series, better start at the beginning with "Deja Dead (Temperance Brennan Novels)" to experience Dr. Temperance Brennan in her first and truly bone-chilling adventure.