Thursday, December 14, 2006

Grave Secrets - Kathy Reichs

Since I posted about Bones I couldn't resist posting my review of Grave Secrets. It's not your typical review because I first picked it up after hearing it was better than Cornwell's series about Kay Scarpetta and I wanted to compare them. This is what came out:

I read my first Kathy Reichs yesterday, I picked up Grave Secrets.

On a summer morning in 1982, soldiers enter a Guatemalan village and massacre its women and children. Terrified of meeting a similar fate, returning relatives quickly bury their dead in makeshift graves. Today these families refer to their lost members as "the disappeared," and human rights teams are trying to find them. Dr. Temperance Brennan, international forensic anthropologist, has been asked to investigate one of the most heart-breaking cases of her career.

As she digs in the cold, damp soil, clues emerge: a hair clip, a tiny sneaker, the hip bone of a child less than two years old. Something savage happened in the highlands two decades ago, and something savage is happening today. Four girls are missing from Guatemala City, and the victims may be linked.

An American human rights investigator is murdered as Tempe listens to her screams on the phone. Will Tempe be the next victim in a web of intrigue that spans decades?

As she did in her earlier bestsellers, Reichs has woven cutting-edge science throughout the novel--from analysis of fetal bone structure to septic tank chemistry. Grave Secrets is gripping, chillingly realistic, and showcases a queen of the genre at the top of her game.

I enjoyed it, the mystery was interesting. I think I would have liked to know more about the massacre (just that alone could make a worthy plot I think) and I really couldn't stop reading till I reached the end.

Now how does she compare to Cornwell? I thought they were totally diferent! I do realise I've read 7 or 8 Scarpetta books by now and just one Brennan so it's not really the same. As in the Scarpetta book you probably "get to know" Brennan's characters throughout the series and not just from one book sp I can't really judge on character deph and development.

But there were 2 big differences to me. Scarpetta faces the real dark side, she deals with serial killers or people who are completely devoid of humanity in them. Brennan, at least in this book, deals with murders for gain or political reasons.

That brings us to the second difference, they are both first person stories and that really lets you see that Kay is a lot colder and cynical then Tempe. Kay has seen to much, she analyses the people she meets and draws conclusions, she practices a lot of introspection too and a big part of the book is devoted to her, how she deals with her work and being a female in a world of men, how we have to face obstacles and people who don't like us. She is a strong character.

I found nothing like that in Tempe who seemed a much lighter character. There are no dark feelings here, besides the investigation she has to deal with 2 love interests but there are no hidden feelings, no dark side. There are the good guys and there are the bad guys and she doesn't spend a big amount of time thinking about life and whatnot.

I say again that my conclusions may be coloured by having read just one Reichs book, problem which I plan to correct asap. But so far Kay Scarpetta is still my favourite character!

I joined a bookring for the rest of her books at Bookcrossing so I hope to read the whole series in the near future.

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