Review by Alexius White
How do you get someone who doesn’t read a lot of crime novels to want to read yours? Easy, put a dead body in a barrel; in the middle of a land fill next the Charlotte Motor Speedway during one of NASCAR major races. I am a southerner and a fan of NASCAR. I was hooked from the first page. I don’t read a lot of novels that don’t have some element of supernatural in them; this being said I will do my best not to seem odd in my review. Written by Kathy Reichs, Flash and Bones is the fourteenth novel in the Temperance Brennan series; however, it is the first one I read.
Flash and Bones spans the course of about two or three weeks and takes place in the Mecklenburg County. Tempe, who is the County Medical Examiner, has to identify the body found in the barrel. The day after the barrel is found Wayne Gamble shows up at Tempe’s office. Gamble believes the body in the barrel is his long lost sister, Cindi. She along with her boyfriend, Cale Lovette, disappeared in 1998. Gamble bases his belief on the fact that his sister was never found and that the FBI and police where very quick to close out the case and put it behind them. After Tempe decides to look into the case a lot of strange things start to happen. First, the FBI take and burn the body that was in the barrel. However, they claimed it was a mix-up in paper work. Another strange thing is that Gamble and Tempe both start to get death threats. To top it off, a man who works for the government goes missing and police think he might have been the body in the barrel. (There is a lot going on in this novel.)
As I said earlier this is my first time reading anything in the series; in spite of not having read anything in the Temperance Brennan series, or watching the television show Bones, which is based off the novel series, I did not have a problem following the story line. To be truthful, this could have been a standalone novel. There was nothing, I could tell, to link it to the older novels beyond the characters and their relationships.
My favorite parts of the novel were the NASCAR history and the poisons. If I didn’t know anything about NASCAR before reading this novel, I know a lot about it now. The novel covers everything from indie car racing to the Coca Cola 500. Then there was the poison, which anyone with a chemistry set can tell you that you can make a poison out of flowers. The third thing is that the bad guy in the novel used a blowgun. Yes, you read correctly, a blowgun. I had to reread that line twice. Think about it for a second. In the age of cell phone and semi automatics, the bad guy used a blowgun.
There were a few things about the novel that I didn’t like. One was the bad guy; I won’t tell you who it is. Yet it is easy to figure out. The main reason is because no matter how much time has passed no one ever gives up or stops checking the mail box. (You have to read the novel to understand.) Another thing is that I’m not sure whether or not Tempe is still married or divorced. Yes, I understand this really doesn’t matter in the overall appeal of the novel. However, she is helping her (ex) husband’s fiancé (who reminds me of Barbra Jean from the television show Reba) plan their wedding. The third thing about the novel that I didn’t like is that Tempe is indifferent about several things. Like when Gamble called her and left a message saying, “I know who’s been following me around. I’ve seen him at the track. I’m going to confront him.” Tempe never called Gamble back. I’m sorry but if someone leaves you a voice message like that, the next button you should press is redial.
Overall, I liked the novel. There were a few points that I didn’t like about it and then there were a lot of other points I did like. I don’t think I will be reading the novel again, but I am interested in reading some of the others in the series. I give the novel 3 stars.