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Grave Secrets  By  cover art

Grave Secrets

By: Kathy Reichs
Narrated by: Katherine Borowitz
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Publisher's summary

It was a summer morning in 1982 when soldiers ravaged the village of Chupan Ya, raping and killing women and children. Twenty-three victims are said to lie in the well where Dr. Temperance Brennan and a team from the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation now dig. No records were kept. To their families, the dead are "the disappeared."

The team is packing up for the day when an urgent satellite call comes in. Two colleagues are under attack. Shots ring out, and Tempe listens in horror to a woman's screams. Then there is silence. Dead silence.

With this new violence, Tempe is asked by the Guatemalan police for her expertise on another case. Four privileged young women have vanished from Guatemala City in recent months. One is the Canadian ambassador's daughter. Some remains have turned up in a septic tank. Unfortunately, Tempe knows septic tanks.

Teaming with Special Crimes Investigator Bartolomé Galiano, and with Montreal detective Andrew Ryan, Tempe soon finds herself in a dangerous web that stretches far beyond Guatemala's borders. As power, money, greed, and science converge, Tempe must make life-altering choices.

From cutting-edge science in the lab, where Tempe studies fetal bones and cat hair DNA, to a chilling encounter in a lonely morgue, Grave Secrets is powerful entertainment from a crime fiction superstar who combines riveting authenticity with witty, elegant prose.

Don't miss any of Tempe Brennan's investigations.
©2002 Temperance Brennan, L.P., All Rights Reserved (P)2002 Simon & Schuster Inc., All Rights Reserved, AUDIOWORKS Is an Imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division, Simon & Schuster Inc.

Critic reviews

"The author keeps the twists coming, and by the novel's climax, she has skillfully interwoven her many subplots and red herrings into a satisfying puddle of sex, sleaze, greed and gore." (Publishers Weekly)
"One of [crime fiction's] more complex and interesting protagonists." (

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Give it up, already

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I tend not to recommend books which use derision and ridicule against real politicians, no matter what the party affiliations.

What was most disappointing about Kathy Reichs’s story?

Warning: Spoilers!The suggestion that if human embryonic stem cell research WASN'T limited to specific lines, then a black market wouldn't exist, or that embryos wouldn't be created for the sake of harvesting them is lame. And for a character that supposedly has a difficult time with violence done to children, Tempe seems to be flippant when it comes to using aborted children for research. Has she ever seen an aborted baby? Probably. But she won't let that won't stand in the way of progress!

Near the end, how Tempe manages to get into the killer's location seems totally irrational for a sensible professional who works closely with law enforcement. To throw away characteristic common sense to move the story along is a cheat.

Any additional comments?

For the most part, I liked this book. The twists were often surprising and at points I wanted to slap characters upside the head (including Tempe-- quit thinking like a scorned high school sophomore), which means I found myself thoroughly engaged.

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