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Deja Dead: 08/11/08

Back in December 2007, I received Cross Bones, the second in the Temperance Brennan series. Déjá Dead (1997) is the book that started it.

Déjá Dead is a pun on déja mort (already dead), a term that comes up in one of the autopsies of bodies found dismembered and stuffed in garbage bags. To Tempe the recent murders look oddly familiar, giving her an unsettling feeling of déjá vu.

Like the Cross Bones, the book suffers from being too long. A little bit of Quebecois culture would suffice in setting the stage and showing that Tempe isn't a native of Montreal. After a while, though, the plot gets bogged down with Tempe's endless asides on the cultural quirks and her own troubles with Québec's dialect of French.

The other main weakness which is supposed to be a feature of the novel is Tempe's personal life. Unfortunately, like so many mystery-thrillers, all that personal life padding is a big red flashing sign saying that Tempe and / or her loved ones will be targets of the yet to be discovered killer. It's so painfully obvious by about page 50, that when these events do finally played out, it's a relief to have them over.

Whether in the book as an older, wiser character living in Montreal or as the younger and almost completely socially inept television version, Tempe's personal life is still a boring distraction from the mysteries.

Comments (2)

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Comment #1: Tuesday, August, 12, 2008 at 19:34:51

Nicola Manning

Oh man, sorry Sarah but I have to disagree this time. I love Reichs' books and the mystery in this one really got me going.

"Personally, as a mystery fan, I just love series that focus on the main character's personal life. It's what keeps me reading the whole darn series.

"The TV show, Bones, on the other hand, which has nothing to do with the books, is not anywhere near as good as the books. But I watch it because Angel (oops, I mean David Boreanaz) is so dreamy!"

Comment #2: Wednesday, August, 13, 2008 at 10:20:15


I don't mind a little bit of personal character development but I don't think 300 pages of a 500 page mystery novel should be taken up with Tempe's day to day drama. I'm reading the book for the mystery, not the soap opera.

"I realize too that the books and the TV shows aren't the same but both make the effort to market the other. The newer books mention the "hit TV show" on the cover blurbs and the commercials for the TV show do sometimes mention the books. In both cases the plots often times get bogged down with personal stuff."

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