Sunday, February 04, 2007

Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass

Carved in Bone, the remarkable break-out novel by Jefferson Bass, is forensic fiction at its best. "Jefferson Bass" is the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass, world-renowned forensic anthropologist, and Jon Jefferson, veteran writer/film maker. These two entangle the reader in a story about skeletons, literally and figuratively, from the very first page.

Page one introduces the “body farm” where Dr. Bill Brockton is pushing a knife through the back of one of his male cadavers for a murder case he’s working on. The body farm is a three-acre patch of ground located near the University of Tennessee, used for forensic science; it houses dozens of bodies in different state of decomposition.

A visiting Deputy from Cook County interrupts Dr. Brocton in the middle of his experiment with an interesting case: a mummified corpse of a young woman dead for 30 years has been discovered in a cave in the Appalachian Mountains.

Brockton’s investigation threatens to kick open the door of Cook County family skeleton closets and he finds himself on the wrong end of a gun more than once. Dealing with the death of his wife, Brockton is vigilant in solving the mystery of the dead woman.

This tale is thick with the typical forensic questions and has amazing detail when it comes to the subject of anthropology - not for the weak-stomached or the squeamish.

Carved in Bone has an array of compelling characters ranging from chicken-fighting FBI agents to attractive anthropology assistants and on to towering redneck sidekicks. The characters, setting and dialogue are all first-rate and compete with the best writers of today.

The book also includes an intriguing “Q & A” with Dr. Bill Bass, covering some of the “ins and outs” in the field of anthropology.

Next out for this series is Flesh and Bone, coming in hardcover next month.