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DêJA DEAD by Kathy Reichs

DêJA DEAD

By Kathy Reichs

Pub Date: Aug. 20th, 1997
ISBN: 0-684-84117-7
Publisher: Scribner

 Dr. Temperance Brennan, the forensic anthropologist transplanted from North Carolina to Montreal, hopes the bones found at Le Grand SÇminaire are too ancient to fall within her purview. No such luck. Not only has Isabelle Gagnon been recently and horribly killed, but Tempe's memory of another grisly discovery in a bunch of trash bags marks this death as the work of a sadistic serial killer who's far from finished. To catch this monster, Tempe and her colleagues at the Laboratoire de MÇdicine LÇgale take a long look at several sets of teeth, compare the traces left on human bone by different kinds of saws, and consider exactly what it means to find a bathroom plunger, or a statue of the Virgin Mary, inside a rotting rib cage. As a break from her exhaustive lab sessions, Tempe spars with Sgt. Luc Claudel, the homicide cop who has a problem with interfering women, and hangs out with her grad school friend Gabby Macaulay, whose study of the mating habits of prostitutes is bound to be more closely connected to Tempe's case than she realizes. Tempe is an appealing new heroine, and the forensic detail is gripping, but because Reichs--whose rÇsumÇ sounds a lot like her heroine's- -lacks the whiplash control of Patricia Cornwell at her best, the story seems overlong, overpeopled (more lifeless walk-ons than the phone book), and overwrought. (The hysterical scenes between Tempe and Gabby, who keeps babbling about the unspeakable secrets she just can't share with her old friend, are especially annoying.) But readers ravenous for ghoulish detail and hints of unfathomable evil, spruced up by the modishly effective Quebec setting, will gobble this first course greedily and expect better-balanced nutrition next time. (Book-of-the-Month Club main selection; author tour; radio satellite tour)