Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs. 370 pages.
I've read all of the previous Temperance Brennan books to Rob and we've both enjoyed them a fair bit. Reichs has her faults as a writer, not least the enormous and sometimes largely irrelevant infodumps she like to regale her readers with, but this book seemed not to be up to her usual standard. To begin with, we thought this was because the two previous books I'd read to Rob had been by Lois McMaster Bujold and Terry Pratchett, either of whom could teach Reichs an entire college course on how to write well, but eventually it seemed that it wasn't just the contrast that was the problem.
The biggest issue we had with the book was a major plot point, so I'll stick it under a cut as there'll be major spoilers.
Early in the book, a headless body is discovered, wrapped in plastic at a lakeside. Brennan is puzzled, because eyewitness reports suggest the body has been there for several days, in high temperatures, but decomposition is not nearly as advanced as might be expected under those conditions, Later, slides taken from the corpse's bones show microfractures deep inside the bone structure. Rob and I immediately deduced that this probably meant that the body had been frozen before being dumped. It takes Brennan, an expert in forensic pathology, most of the rest of the book to work this out, despite the fact that she spends half the year in Montreal, where frozen corpses surfacing in the spring are presumably far from unknown. Admittedly, Brennan has other things on her mind for much of the time, but nevertheless, this borders on being an "idiot plot" where the characters behave like idiots to serve the plot.
Also, it makes me wonder whether previous books have been similarly flawed, in that they might have had situations like this, where the casual reader wouldn't necessarily have worked out what was going on but a trained professional like Brennan should have.
It also seemed to me that some things were left unresolved at the end of the book in favour of pointless withering. I hope the next book in the series will be better.
Glory in Death by J.D. Robb. 312 pages.
In contrast, this second book in the Eve Dallas series is quite a bit better than the first. There's still the occasional rapid perspective change, but not nearly as many as in the first book and the relationship between Eve and Roarke is less irritating, although he can still be annoying.
This time, a high-powered prosecuting attorney is found dead in a dodgy neighbourhood and Eve is assigned to the case. Suspicion points toward the victim's family, but then a second woman is murdered and Eve is under pressure from all sides to catch the killer.
Much more fun than the Reichs book.