I decided when I signed up for my new audiobook service that I would dedicate it to reading more mainstream titles. I see people reading Grafton and Patterson and whatnot, and while I don’t consider that my thing, I figured I should at least get a taste so that I can compare and contrast. This is the first book along those lines.
There are people who chew through CSI-type crime novels. I’m not one of those people. Don’t get me wrong—I have nothing against them. There’s generally more exposition than I prefer, as the whole point is that they are all about the minutia behind the deduction and discovery. But, I’ll grant that the “I figured it out before the main character” factor can be a draw.
I’m also not big on abridged versions of books. In this case, however, the removed portions weren’t so obvious as to be distracting. There were a couple of jumps where you could tell that something was missing, but they were tame.
Bare Bones is the sixth in a series about forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan. I hadn’t realized that it was so far into the series when I rented it, but it was episodic enough that it wasn’t a problem to start there. The plot is formulaic, but amusing and not too contrived: bodies are found, evidence is examined, multiple storylines diverge and then rush back together, and bad guys are caught. The journey is interesting, and there are enough breadcrumbs along the way so that you don’t feel left behind, bogged down in detail.
I should add one word of caution for those who are new to the series, like me: the narrator, Michele Pawk, has the local southern drawl down cold. She does an excellent job with it—maybe too good. The contrast between the neutral narrative voice and some of the characters’ drawls can be jarring. Once you’ve gotten used to it, I think it does add something to the performance, but there is an adjustment period.
Kathy Reich’s Bare Bones doesn’t suck, and pretty much exemplifies the CSI/forensic investigator genre. It doesn’t stretch any boundaries, but it’s a decent enough read that it’s not a waste of time. Michele Pawk’s narration is solid, and the production is clean.