Forensic anthropologist Kathy Reichs returns with another mystery where the bones hold the key to a complicated demise. This time her leading lady Dr Tempe Brennan (yes, she inspired the television series 'Bones') is asked to delve into a case which is not quite what it seems.
When a set of remains are identified as belonging to a soldier who supposedly died many years before, Dr Brennan is forced to ask some tough questions of the next-of-kin, as she investigates the possible mix-up. But when a third set of remains point to the same person, bigger questions must be asked. Brennan heads off to Honolulu in her quest to close at least one of the cases, enlisting the company and help of old flame Detective Andrew Ryan, with both of them dragging their rebellious daughters along in an attempt to bond with them.
But Brennan soon discovers that this isn't going to be an easy case to crack, with certain people determined to keep the truth hidden, at any cost, putting her and her extended 'family' unit in danger.
Anyone who is familiar with the previous cases of Dr Tempe Brennan will no doubt enjoy her latest adventure here, but you can also easily read this as a stand-alone book. There are plenty of back-references and returning characters but Reichs is careful enough to fill in any gaps that a new reader might confront.
The story is pacey enough to keep your interest, with a nice mix of science and personality. At times the balance tips in favour of science, making it a read that requires a bit more concentration that your average crime/mystery but for many that detail will be what sets Reichs apart from other writers in the genre, as, once again, she manages to bring her real-life expertise to bear on this story.
'Mortal Remains' has plenty going on, with several different cases lapping over, but it is to Reichs' credit that this fact doesn't cause your interest to wan half-way-through the book. You'll be willing the stories to their conclusion as the momentum gathers but you will also get plenty of twists along the way.