Newest Review: ... looking at the characters and then the plot, the conclusions and then what I think of the book. But this time I'm doing it differently, con... more
Deadly Dull and Descriptive aka I may have made the wrong Decision!
Deadly Decisions - Kathy Reichs
Member Name: Emma1973
Deadly Decisions - Kathy Reichs
Advantages: An interesting way to pass an afternoon, excellent if you want to learn about Forensic Science
Disadvantages: Implausible character, writing smacks of sheer laziness.
I did quite well in Sainsburys I thought. I managed to find this book at only £1.99, add in Karin Slaughter at 2 for £3 and my reading was set for the next couple of days.
Kathy Reichs has managed to create a character that has made itself familiar to fans of the crime genre and tv watchers of the same. Temperance Brennan is the star of the show 'Bones', along with her lover and sidekick Andrew Ryan. Personally I hate the tv show and have avoided watching it after the first couple of episodes. Thankfully in the books she has evolved into a great character. And I have to admit I watched the programme more for David Borneaz than anything else.
Deadly Decisions is the third outing for Tempe Brennan after the fabulous Deja Dead and Death Du Jour. If you havent read the first two I'll give you a little information. Tempe is a Forensic Anthropologist who lives and works between North Carolina and Montreal. She teached down in Carolina and works for the fabulously named Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale, a forensic science laboratry in short. A Forensic Anthropolist basically works with the dead whose remains are too decomposed for ordinary forensic scientists to deal with. It could be someone badly burnt in a fire or someone whose body has been found after many years. Forensic Anthropologists are used to work alongside the police. My apologies for the lecture but it does help to understand the work Tempe does in the novel.
Deadly Decisions involves a little girl shot in a drive-by shooting, a biker war which is upping the corpse numbers and bones of a teenager found hundreds of miles away from when she was murdered. The usual stuff and in Reichs way, not a cheerful moment in sight! She starts by trying to seperate the bones of identical twins who get the Darwin Award for managing to blow themselves and gets dragged deeper into the world of bikers and Hells Angels.
Usually I start writing books reviews by looking at the characters and then the plot, the conclusions and then what I think of the book. But this time I'm doing it differently, conclusion first!
I really really didnt like this book and thought it was poor writing and hard going, if I had read this one first the only way I'd be getting anymore would be if they were 20p at the charity or downloaded for free. I've got hundreds of books unreviewed but I knew halfway through this book I'd be writing a review to warn people about it.
The characters are a problem, Tempe is her usual staid self, if you met her in real life you'd be forgiven for thinking she was a bit uptight, snobbish even. She certainly doesnt come across as someone who'd let her hair down and dance all night long. Reichs doesnt even really explore the notion of hidden depths to her even though it's obvious she loves her family, dysfunctional as they are, and definately has a thing going on for Andrew Ryan. Why she has to continually go it alone into dangerous situations like biker bars without telling people where she is is an unknown to me, perhaps Reichs is trying to set her up as a tough independent person but I'm more likely to think, daft mare!
Tempe doesnt develop through the book at all, and although she gets the prerequisite mugging/kidnapping/beating that she gets in practically every book doesnt seem to phase her at all, Tempe is a very wooden character in this novel.
Andrew Ryan is a fleeting moment in Deadly Decisions, appearing much more often in the other novels. This is because he ends up be arrested at the start of the book for drug and corruption offences. What happens to him is so cliche and obvious it's almost embarressing. It's slightly amusing but doesnt add anything to his character or the story.
Kit, her travelling nephew turns up on her doorstep looking for a place to stay which she gladly gives him He's fascinated by her work and makes to much of a friendship with Lyle Crease, a journalist who seems intent on wooing Tempe and getting into her life. Kit appears to be getting himself drawn towards the biker gang and luckily for him Lyle seems to have the contacts. Kit is a likeable character, a proper cheeky chappie. He's probably the only character you do feel any emotion for, hoping and looking out for the fact that he doesnt put himself in danger. Kit seems to be the only one who can get Tempe to show any humanity in the book.
All the rest of the characters particularly the police that Tempe works with dont seem to add anything except as linkages to add the storyline together. Claudel, her nemesis as we see in later books just comes across as an annoyance to be rude, Quickwater a Native American expert on biker gang culture probably doesnt say more than about 30 words in the entire story, there seems to be an explanation for this later in the book but it doesnt explain the lack of character and dialogue. LeManche, her boss is hospitalised fairly early on so theres another character Reich doesnt need to bother writing about. The mysterious new admin assistant at the lab could have been developed so much more to add a real twist but it just doesnt happen.
The storyline is ok, bikers get bloody, innocents suffer, Tempe sorts it all out and everything is ok with all the twists and plots nicely wrapped up. It's not original but nothing is really left out, even if some of it is implausible and some events and people put in there rather accommodatingly to make sure its all smoothly done. The use of such characters and events strikes me as rather convenient and often shows a laziness by the author just to make things easier.
I do have a big gripe with this book though, if I wanted to read a factual book and find out certain information I would go and do so, not a fictional thriller. Theres just too much 'real' information. Knowing about the NCIC, Americas National Crime Information Center does help but three lines of what it is and does would be sufficient. I really dont need to know what it is, when it started, where it was started, where its based now, and what it covers. This actually took 2 pages and was completely irrelevant.
In the beginning the chapters began with a presentation about biker gangs, no I havent put the s on the end of chapters as a mistake. You basically get to know the entire history of the Hells Angels, what the different groups are, the hierachies and how many of them they are. Indeed you get to find out about the different types of bikes especially Harleys. I now know all about the different engines, tank shapes, etc. But I didnt particularly want to know, especially as it has no relevance to the storyline. Then theres an entire chapter on blood spatter analysis down to the minutest details, helpful if I was reading a book on forensic science but boring in a thriller. Theres also detailed pages on entomologists, autopsies, forensic anthropologists, etc. It was in real danger of it being more about this than writing the fictional parts of the book. In my opinion just massive amounts of fillers, hints of laziness and I'm being generous with the words hints. It's almost as if Reichs came very close to her publishers deadlines and realised her imagination hadnt conjured up enough.
It really is quite poor and lets Reich down dreadfully, Death Du Jour, her first book was fabulous and won quite a lot of awards, her second not quite so, but then her writing picks right up after this book. Unfortunately I think if this was the first novel you picked up you would never read the rest. I'm not the only one who thinks so, on Amazon reviews as many people gave it 1 and 2 stars as did 4 and 5, quite surprising when you consider her reputation now.
I recommend you steer clear of this book and only buy it to complete your collection when you have read the rest, not that I think Reich is going to write any more about Tempe as she has started writing about her great-niece Tory, also a forensic anthropologist. Perhaps Reich has run out of ideas and originality for Tempe and I could well believe it!
Summary: The third in the Tempe Brennan series