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Publisher's Summary

It's a summer of sizzling heat in Charlotte where Dr. Temperance Brennan, forensic anthropologist for the North Carolina medical examiner, looks forward to her first vacation in years. A romantic vacation. She's almost out the door when the bones start appearing.

A newborn's charred remains turn up in a woodstove. A small plane crashes in a North Carolina cornfield on a sunny afternoon. Both pilot and passenger are burned beyond recognition. And what is the mysterious black substance covering the bodies? Most puzzling of all are the bones discovered at a remote farm outside Charlotte. The remains seem to be of animal origin, but Tempe is shocked when she gets them to her lab.

With help from a special detective friend, Tempe must investigate a poignant and terrifying case that comes at the worst possible moment. Daughter Katy has a new boyfriend who Tempe fears may have something to hide. And important personal decisions face Tempe. Is it time for emotional commitment? Will she have the chance to find out?

Everything must wait on the bones. Why are the X rays and DNA so perplexing? Who is trying to keep Tempe from the answers? Someone is following her, and must be stopped before it's too late.

Don't miss any of Tempe Brennan's investigations.
©2003 Temperance Brennan, L.P. (P)2003 Simon & Schuster Inc. All Rights Reserved. AUDIOWORKS. is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic Reviews

"...the science is fascinating, and every minute in the morgue with Tempe is golden." (The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings


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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Not as good

I am a fan of Kathy Reich and have read all her books and listened to all available too but this was a disappontment. No real suspense, the science was nothing new and the romance was boring.
I also dislike this new narrator. She does not have the same kanck for accents that the previous narrator Kateherine Borowitz does.

20 of 21 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Lawrence
  • Greensboro, NC, United States
  • 08-10-04

Atrocious narration

The narration ruins this audiobook for several reasons. First, the accents are hideous. I spent most of my life in North Carolina and never heard anything resembling the "southern accents" in this audiobook. Even the most urban creatures such as pathologists and Charlotte detectives are assigned a backwoods drawl that is so poorly delivered that it borders on the comic.

Second, the mispronunciations are distracting and sometimes misleading. Place names are routinely mangled, even for relatively well-known cities such as Manteo. At one point the word decedent is repeatedly rendered as descendent.

Third, the delivery often goes astray distorting the meaning of the text. For instance at one point there is a discussion regarding lesions on the body of an airplane crash victim. The narrator delivers a passage in such a way that as to suggest that the victim did not have even one lesion on his face. It is abundantly clear from the context however that what the author intended to convey was that the victim did not have a face as a result of the violent deceleration trauma.

The problems with the delivery are legion; only a few are outlined above. Ms. Reichs is an engaging author. One would be well advised to skip this audio and pick up a copy of the paper version of this book.

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

VERY bare bones, indeed.

I didn't bother to download the unabridged version when it was offered at no further cost. The abridged version was quite tedious enough for me. No suspense. No plot twists. No intellectual challenges. Even the love interest was cornball and pedestrian. Yawn....

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Heimo
  • Frankfurt, Germany
  • 04-14-10


this is the first unabridged recording of one of her books i have listened to. it will be the last. i had no problems with the reader. i am from the south and am quite used to listening to sad efforts. if only readers and actors could understand that southerners speak all their words with an accent, not just some of the words, some of the time. but, alas, that was not my problem with this book.

there was no history involved in the crime, it was too modern and uninteresting. i also found the descriptions of cruelty to animals a bit over the top. how many times did we have to hear what happened to these poor bears? i applaud her efforts to bring to greater light this horrifying reality, but i am a reader who bought her book, not the enemy.

i also have to say that the love interest, Ryan, came off as creepy as Slidell, the ignorant cop. both of them had smart mouths and were two sides of the same coin. the doc comes off looking a bit worse in this book. if i want to read about women "in heat" (her words, not mine) i do not want it in a book about endless death.

bring on the abridged...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Fran
  • Bronte, TX, USA
  • 03-05-07

Good Reading

Tempe Brennan, as always, puts everything together in the last few pages. Entertaining, although sometimes it is hard to keep the characters straight.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • David
  • White Plains, NY, USA
  • 08-18-03

Bare Bones: Hard to Follow in Abridged Format

I became a fan of Kathy Reichs after reading Grave Secrets, which I also downloaded from So, I was anxious to read Bare Bones when it became available. The story line is quite good, but I found it somewhat hard to follow, and had to listen to some sections a couple of times. When I got to the end, I realized that I had erroneously downloaded the abridged version. As a matter of policy, I NEVER read the abridged version because important elements of the story have been removed. I realize that it was hard to follow because essential portions of the story line were omitted. Thus, my error caused me to waste five hours of valuable reading time, and resulted in an unsatisfying experience. My suggestion: stick with unabridged books in all cases.

45 of 56 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Another great Brennan book

I have been enjoying the Brennan series and this is exactly what you would expect if you have listened to any of the others.
For new listeners to the series, the forensics are accurate but are not overblown, they take a second seat to plot and character. The books are classic detective tales with a fully fleshed out female lead. Internal dialog adds depth to the character.
All in all very much worth listening to.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Ellen
  • Carrboro, NC, USA
  • 04-15-10

Reader is terrible

If you are going to narrate a regionally-based book, at least research how to say the place names.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    out of 5 stars
  • Zoe
  • albuquerque, NM, USA
  • 10-06-04

Not quite the book as some of her others

But a good listen (read) nevertheless.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Richard
  • Greenville, SC, USA
  • 08-18-08

not quite up to par

I like Ms. Reichs works, but this one... not so much. There seemed to be a few too many characters and threads, making it hard to follow at times. Also, the ending is rather anti-climactic and unsatisfying.

What REALLY drops the stock is the narrator. The Southern accent she tries to affect is horrible! It sounds more like a mockery than an effort to imitate it. In fact, it's absolutely grating.

So I gave the book a 4, but the narration a 2.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful