Carved in Bone ~ Jefferson Bass
This is the first novel from the writing team of Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Dr. Bass is one of the world's leading forensic anthropologists and the founder of "The Body Farm" in Tennessee, a leading tool in forensic anthropology. Jon Jefferson is a veteran filmmaker and journalist. I've known of Dr. Bass for years, even before reading about The Body Farm and watching C.S.I, ever since I took forensic anthropology in university, and his book Human Osteology was our textbook. So when I was digging through the library shelves a few weeks ago, I stumbled across a novel by Jefferson Bass. I immediately took it home when I realized who it was. It was NOT this book though, it was their third novel, The Devil's Bones. So because I read them out of order, I knew some of the story already.
This book has such a soft spot to me though. At two points in the book they mention Patricia Cornwell/Kay Scarpetta. Once at the beginning when they are talking about how the Anthropology Research Facility has been coined 'The Body Farm' thanks to Patricia Cornwell's novel, and the second time they mention Kay Scarpetta as one of the coroners they can call in on their case. Both instances made me smile.
Plot-wise, it's a pretty standard murder mystery. What makes this book (and the later novels by them) so interesting is the in-depth Body Farm details and all the little behind-the-scenes activity that happen while working on a case. It may be more interesting to me because of courses I've taken in the past (and my inappropriate love of forensic type books, tv shows and movies) but anyone who is a fan of forensics would enjoy it. The writing is sharp and snappy too and I found myself fully involved in the main character, who is loosely based on Dr. Bass himself.
All three of their novels that I've read have been great. The writing and plots got stronger in the later books, and I have some of the non-fiction they've written on my list for later this year. A good strong mystery novel and one I'd probably pick up again to read. That soft spot can't be denied.