Kathy Reichs, Fatal Voyage (2001)

This will be a quick-and-dirty, dash-it-through-your-lunch-pause review, but I really read this book the same way, during one long, cold, rainy Sunday afternoon in bed. While I was in the middle of 2 large novels, Berlin Alexanderplatz and Philip Roth’s Plot against America, I suddenly craved for an easy read, a thriller, just like I would crave a juicy quarterpounder at Mc’D (yes, the one in France we call “Royal Cheese”, at least that much of Pulp Fiction is realistic…). This is a pure literary pregnant woman’s craving. At no calorie. 

Fatal Voyage was exactly what I needed: entertaining, fast-paced, efficient, gore in its scientific  details (easily squirmed readers need not apply). A regional plane crashes in North Carolina mountains and Dr. Temperance Brennan, an expert in forensic anthropology, is called to identify the burnt corpses. Yet, she finds a foot that doesn’t belong there. So… she soon sets herself to trace another murder, and she discovers that starting this investigation on her own puts her into a heap of trouble. She is accused of unethical behavior and discharged from the case. I really liked the paranoiac feeling when your work is questioned, your authority challenged and you can’t do anything to justify yourself. It was really well done. The resolution, though, was really far-fetched, but at this point, it didn’t spoilt my pleasure. 

I used to be a fan of early Kay Scarpetta thrillers, then got weary of them. This one compares to the best Patricia Cornwell’s. I’ve read some other Temperance Brennan’s novels, so the characters were familiar to me, but this one is also quite good in the series, a lot better than Cross Bones (I don’t particularly read the novels in the order because it’s a sudden craving, not a rational step-by-step approach). Actually, since I got rid of our TV last year, this is the literary equivalent of slouching in front of a show like CSI or Law and Order, but at least I’m spared the close-up on corpses!

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