The Bone Thief: A Body Farm Novel by Jefferson Bass (William Morrow, $24.99, 359 pages)
The authors of this true-to-life, crime scene investigation novel are a team: Dr. Bill Bass and Jon Jefferson. Together they write as Jefferson Bass, in the same fashion that Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child write as Preston Child.
Bass and Jefferson have written several novels based on the work of Dr. Bass, who is a highly respected forensic anthropologist. In these novels, unlike the CSI shows on television, there is no criminology practiced that relies on magic technological crime-fighting equipment dreamed up by a screenwriter. The characters in The Bone Thief must employ intellect, observation, and plain old footwork to solve a most perplexing series of body part thefts.
Dr. Bill Brockton, the chief protagonist, is a forensic anthropologist who works at the University of Tennessee managing the Body Farm, where the decomposition of human remains is studied. He and his research assistant Miranda Lovelady (a name that’s a bit overly obvious) are drawn into a mystery involving the Federal Bureau of Investigation, while at the same time they’re on a quest to find a fresh set of hands for a colleague who received a massive dose of radiation while performing an autopsy. The surgeon’s skillful hands are being destroyed by the radiation he encountered.
The story here is told in the first person by Dr. Brockton. The underlying theme of the tale is Brockton’s introspection on choices he and others make, relationships and human frailty. Recommended.
This review was written by Ruta Arellano. Reprinted courtesy of Sacramento Book Review. It is said that there is a real-life Body Farm managed by Dr. Bass.