November 9, 2012

Review : The Bone Thief by Jefferson Bass

Title : The Bone Thief

Author : Jefferson Bass

Reading Dates : 30 Sep - 5 Oct 2012

Total Pages :385

The Body Farm
From Amazon :
Dr. Bill Brockton has been called in on a seemingly routine case, to exhume a body and obtain a bone sample for a DNA paternity test. But when the coffin is opened, Brockton and his colleagues, including his graduate assistant Miranda Lovelady, are stunned to see that the corpse has been horribly violated.

Brockton’s initial shock gives way to astonishment as he uncovers a flourishing and lucrative black market in body parts. At the center of this ghoulish empire is a daring and prosperous grave robber. Soon Brockton finds himself drawn into the dangerous enterprise when the FBI recruits him to bring down the postmortem chop shop—using corpses from the Body Farm as bait in an undercover sting operation.

As Brockton struggles to play the unscrupulous role the FBI asks of him, his friend and colleague medical examiner Eddie Garcia faces a devastating injury that could end his career. Exposed to a near-lethal dose of radioactivity, Dr. Garcia has lost most of his right hand and his entire left hand. Out of options, he embarks on a desperate quest: both of his ravaged hands will be severed at the wrist and replaced with those from a cadaver. But unless suitable ones are found soon, the opportunity will be lost.

As Brockton delves deep into the clandestine trade, he is faced with an agonizing choice: Is he willing to risk an FBI investigation—and his own principles—to help his friend? Will he be able to live with himself if he crosses that line? Will he be able to live with himself if he doesn’t? And as the criminal case and the medical crisis converge, a pair of simpler questions arise: Will Dr. Garcia survive—and will Brockton?

Book Review of The Bone Thief.

The Bone Thief was a better read than the Bones of Betrayal. While what Dr. Bill Brockton does most of the time still doesn’t jibe with what I had thought the job of a forensic anthropologist to be, these seemed more incidental than intentional.

While it strikes me as strange that all these people want to involve the protagonist in what should be their job, at least this seems more plausible than what happened in Bones of Betrayal. It is still too coincidental for my tastes but I suppose it is within the realm of possibility that he would be consulted in anything with a scientific bent or the handling of bodies.

Bill Brockton also seems to have grown on me although I find him too straight-laced at times. There are limits to being nice. Wrongly handled, and characters can come off as boring. More than once, I was irritated by his reaction to the situations he finds himself in, a situation he should have expected in the first place.

What I had a hard time swallowing was his relationship with his assistant, Miranda. When she learns that she had misunderstood his earlier actions, there doesn’t seem to be any bitterness on his part. Even if he had knowingly caused the situation, I find it impossible to believe that he didn’t feel even the slightest bit of hurt or angered that she could so easily believe him to be a criminal. I would have expected some recriminations. Not a lot, but at least something.

My conclusions :

  • Would I re-read the book ? No.
  • Would I want to read the next book in the series ? Not really, not unless I could get the books on discounted prices.
  • Would I want to own my personal copy if I didn’t already own it ? No.
  • Who would I recommend this too? Crime fiction readers.
  • For those looking to read the book, would I recommend buying or borrowing the book? Borrow it.

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