July 2001's Author of the Month
Kathy Reichs
(Chosen by reviewer, Annie Bonneau )
Kathy, Montreal, & Me

About Kathy


Book Reviews

Kathy, Montreal, & Me

In 1998 I was employed by a company in downtown Montreal and had to take the metro to get to work.  I had just started reading books written in English a couple of months earlier.  I didn't have a big selection of them in my library.  Back then, I had about 100 books at home, but most were in French.  I had less than 10 English books on my shelves.

One day, I finished a book on the way to work and had no choice but to buy another one because I also read during my breaks and lunch time.  Fortunately for me, every convenience store in each metro station has a collection of French and English paperbacks.  DEJA DEAD, by Kathy Reichs, was the one I picked up.  It was so interesting!!  It was about an American anthropologist named Tempe Brennan, who also works in Montreal.  I thought the book had potential and I was psyched to read a book set in my hometown.

I had way more breaks than usual that day and I went to sleep exhausted and way too late.  By the end of the book, - and the night - I was a friend of Tempe Brennan and a new fan of Kathy Reichs!  Needless to say, I didn't wait for the paperback copies of the second (DEATH DU JOUR) and third (DEADLY DECICISON) installments!  I bought them in hardcover the first day they were sold.

I had the privilege of chatting with her in the "Author Chat" at ivillage.  She is bilingual and was glad to write a few phrases in perfect French.  She rarely ventures to comment on her personal life.  All the information she gave was that she has kids.

When asked why the character, Tempe, was an ex-alcoholic, she simply said that she wanted the characters in her books to have faults.  She wanted Tempe to have a fault that she needed to control.

I like the way Kathy Reichs writes and just love that the action is set in Montreal where I can recognize and relate to streets, buildings and some French-Canadian food! It's an added pleasure for me.  I can hardly wait for the July 19th release of her next book  "Fatal Voyage", the 4th installment!

Annie Bonneau

About Kathy
Examining bones is what Kathy Reichs does for a living.  She is a forensic anthropologist for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, State of North Carolina, and for the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciairies et de Médecine Légale for the province of Quebec.  In the lab, she tries to piece together the many bones that come in, often without an identity or an obvious cause of death.

She is one of only fifty forensic anthropologists certified by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology and is on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences.  A professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Dr. Reichs is a native of Chicago, where she received her Ph.D. at Northwestern.  She also teaches FBI agents at Quantico how to detect and recover human remains.  She now divides her time between Charlotte and Montreal and is a frequent expert witness in criminal trials.

Kathy's first Temperance Brennan novel, Déjà Dead, catapulted her to fame when it became a New York Times bestseller and won the 1997 Crime Writers of Canada's Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel.

Because she thinks people like to learn a little something when they read, she wants to put enough science in her books, without crossing the line, so people can have a sense of what a crime scene or an autopsy is really like.

From her casework come her novels.  For example, back in 1990 when Reichs received a call from the Catholic archdiocese in Quebec and was asked to examine the remains of a nun; another set of bones.  She has inspired herself from this casework for the start of her second book, Death Du Jour.



Déjà Dead (1997)
Death du Jour (1999)

Deadly Décision (2000)

Fatal Voyage (2001)



Scribner – July 2000
ISBN: 0684859718

Reviewed by Pam Stone
Buy a Copy

This is the 3rd installment of Temperance Brennan, the 1st was Deja Dead and the 2nd was Death du Jour.

Tempe is back with an even more complex case this time around. She is still the forensic anthropologist in both Montreal and North Carolina. Pierre LaManche is Tempe's boss, and he is in the hospital so Tempe must take over the case. A child is involved so it really gets to the core of her being, and she wants to solve the case and fast, but she knows it will not be easy. Two Outlawed Motorcycle Gang members are dead from a vicious and ongoing altercation between the Heathens and the Vipers. The two gang members were blown up by a bomb into a million small parts, and what makes it even harder for Tempe. The bikers were identical twins with matching DNA. Tempe takes identifying the bikers as relatively routine part of her job, like putting a forensic puzzle together. The Heathens strike back at the Vipers, and unfortunately a nine-year-old girl named Emily Anne Toussant, who was on her way to school, gets caught in the crossfire. For Tempe that becomes her cataplasm she joins the gang task force. They discover a teenaged girl's body buried at a biker clubhouse. The girl is Savannah Osprey who was last seen thumbing a ride with a transient biker. Also drawn into the case is Tempe's nephew Kit, who doesn't realize that these gangs are the kiss of death for outsiders. Lyle Crease is a smart-aleck newscaster who wants to use Kit to get to Tempe. Be prepared for the body count to rise in this outing.

I was as grabbed with Deadly Decisions as I was with Deja Dead and Death du Jour. This book is filled with rich details of the cutting edge forensic techniques that Kathy Reichs uses in her real life work, that’s why the forensic details are so gruesome. The author takes the reader into the dark and shocking world of the international motorcycle gangs, and what a wild ride it is, it will scare the pants off of you at times.

This book was fast-paced and bone chilling and is going to make Kathy Reichs star shine even brighter than before.


DEATH DEJOUR by Kathy Reichs
Scribner  - Aug 2000
ISBN: 0671011375

Reviewed by Pam Stone
Buy It Here

Dr. Tempe Brennen is back again. This time there are two stories blended into one, and the transition is easy to follow.  The bones of Sister Elisabeth Nicolet who has been dead for over a century, have been moved and tampered with, and a deadly house fire, which is suspected as arson, and a university teaching assistant who disappears after joining a cult. Homicide Detective Andrew Ryan, whom Tempe has had a combustive relationship with, in the past, joins her in the investigation. I enjoyed this book as much as I did Deja Dead.  Tempe is an amazing heroine. the medical details are exact and accurate, the plot is exciting and has lots of twists and turns.

This book really grabbed me from the very first page and held me on the end of my seat, and what a wonderful ride it was. I cannot wait for the next installment of Tempe, which will be Death Decisions. To entice us, Dr. Reichs gave a sampling of the new book in the back of Death DeJour.


DEJA DEAD by Kathy Reichs
Scribner   - 1997
ISBN: 068481177

Reviewed by Pam Stone 
Buy It Here

Dr. Temperance Brennen, (Tempe for short) moves from North Carolina, leaving behind a shaky marriage and bad memories for Quebec to be the Director of Forensic Anthropology.  When an unidentified female corpse is discovered meticulously dismembered and stashed in plastic trash bags, Tempe remembers a case that was very much like this one in North Carolina, but she cannot convince the police department so she must investigate on her own, which puts her life and some of her loved ones in danger, Can she solve the case before this happens?

This is one of the most gripping thrillers that I have ever read. I was always a big Patricia Cornwell fan, but Kathy Reichs’ heroine, Dr. Tempe Brennen, has more depth and personality to her than Dr. Kay Scarpetta. When Kathy Reichs describes scenes, they are amazing in detail, especially in the forensic anthropology area. There are many surprising twists and turn throughout the book, and the ending is the real shocker.

Move over Patricia Cornwell you have been replaced by Dr. Kathy Reichs as far as I am concerned.

2001's Honorary List

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