Monday, 28 January 2013

Book 3 of 2013: Flash and Bones

I started reading Kathy Reichs' Temperance Brennan books shortly after my 20th birthday when I received some money and, as I'd been enjoying the series Bones, decided to give the books a go. I bought the first three and was back about a week later buying the next three; one of my friends couldn't believe that I'd spent £20 on books each of which I read in about a day and a half.

I picked up the first few books fairly quickly and for a while I would get each new one as it came out; rereading the books that had come earlier before I started the new ones. Then, of all things, a change in the covers slowed me down. I mean, they were starting to get a bit repetitive and predictable, which helped lessen the urgency to buy the latest one, but not being able to get a copy which matched all the others kind of put me off for a while. I've got over that now, and I've been able to pick up all of the most recent ones (ignoring the fact that they don't match the covers of my earlier copies) in charity shops.

The last one in my current collection is Flash and Bones, the fourteenth book in the Tempe Brennan series. We were in Clydebank before Christmas and I insisted on a trip round the charity shops there which aren't usually too hot for clothes, but are often really good for books, and spotted this one. I wasn't sure whether it was one I already had so figured for the sake of £2 I'd take it and see. And got home to find it wasn't one of the ones already on my shelf.

This book begins with a body being discovered at a landfill site beside the Charlotte Speedway. The hunt for the body's identity gets Tempe involved in looking at an old missing person's case as well as educating her about NASCAR. It follows the regular format for a Tempe novel (one which the last book diverted from ever so slightly), and takes place entirely in Charlotte with minimal input from Ryan, but does introduce ex-dective Cotton Galimore.

One of the things I really like about the Kathy Reichs books is that they are nice quick reads. I probably could have read this in just a couple of sittings (if I hadn't had an essay to write which ate into my precious reading time). As it was, I still had it finished pretty quickly, and I even stayed up pretty late one night to finish it, knowing full well I would be exhausted the next day. The problem with these books is that Reichs is brilliant at leaving chapters on cliffhangers so you just have to keep reading a little longer (the trick here is to read the first page of the next chapter, then stick the bookmark in and go to sleep).

I was a little worried when I picked this up that the NASCAR stuff was going to be lost on me. I'm really not at all sporty or into cars so I knew nothing about it. What made it easier is that Tempe is largely in the same boat, so everything is explained quite nicely and there are moments where she puzzles at things that puzzled me. I liked that. I expect someone who was into that sort of thing would be able to feel a bit smug that they got what characters were talking about when Tempe didn't.

One slightly unfortunate thing was that every time the Speedway was mentioned I kept thinking of the following clip from Whose Line Is It Anyway? I was never really a hundred percent certain what a Speedway was, now I know, and I have Wayne Brady singing in my head!

I liked the way that this one was written. All the clues were dotted through the book and I sort of took note of them, but didn't piece them all together until Tempe did it for me at the end. If I'd not been reading it insanely late at night on a work night, I probably would have figured out at least part of it myself. I love being able to do this with books.

This book also introduces the idea of the character Tory Brennan, the lead character in Reichs' new series of books. I have picked up what I think is the first of the series. It does answer one question that was bugging me, how her surname can be Brennan and exactly how she is related to Tempe. It was a neat little way to introduce the idea withouth smacking you over the head with a new book series that you might want to read. If you weren't interested in the new series or didn't know about it, it's glossed over in about three paragraphs. It's succeeded in making me curious though and as I've not got the next Tempe Brennan book, I might visit the Tory Brennan one I do have to see how it compares.

Next up I'm reading Fyodor Dostoyevsky's The Idiot, another of the books listed in 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. I was a bit apprehensive of starting it and flipped between reading it and another book beginning with I (for the last letter in the Winter Challenge). I'm excited for reading another book that's been translated from another language, from another culture, but at the same time a little nervous that I won't enjoy it and I'll find it really heavy going like Eugenie Grandet. We'll see how it goes.

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