Tale of infanticide tough to write for crime master Kathy Reichs
Published Monday, August 27, 2012 1:58PM EDT
Since her first novel, “Déjà Dead,” was published in 1997, American author Kathy Reichs has topped the New York Times bestsellers list 13 times.
Now the real-life forensic anthropologist and producer of the TV series “Bones,” returns with her 15th novel, “Bones Are Forever.” It’s yet another baffling case for her fictional heroine, Temperance Brennan, to solve.
“Keeping things fresh is a challenge in my books,” Reichs said in an interview on CTV’s Canada AM Monday morning.
“I want the forensic science to be accurate. But it’s got to be entertaining. That’s tough to do,” she said.
Moving from Montreal to Yellowknife in this story, this latest thriller finds Dr. Brennan investigating a grisly tale of infanticide.
As the book unfolds, a newborn baby is found wedged into a vanity cabinet in a dilapidated apartment outside of Montreal. Forensic anthropologist Dr. Brennan is called in to investigate the scene.
As she goes to work, Temperance discovers the mummified remains of two more babies in the same room. Once more details are uncovered about the children, Dr. Brennan travels to a desolate mining town close to the Arctic Circle to find the killer.
“Both my daughter and my daughter-in-law were pregnant when I was writing this,” said Reichs.
Reichs was also working on three homicide cases simultaneously as she wrote this book -- one in Canada and two in the United States.
Reichs, a professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, currently works on cases for a forensic crime lab in Quebec, the Laboratoire des Sciences Judiciares et de Médecine Légale.
Her three recent cases impacted Reichs’ work, as did the idea of innocent children coming to tragic ends through no fault of their own.
“I’m a scientist. So I have to be objective when I write. But some cases are harder for me than others. For me the really tough ones are about children,” said Reichs.
Like the heroine that she has created, Reichs is fastidious about her work as an author and a scientist.
“To some extent I write for my colleagues. If I get something wrong, I’ll hear it from them,” said Reichs.
Still, Reichs has not let the success of the TV series “Bones” alter the way she writes her books.
“I think of ‘TV’ Temperance as a prequel to ‘book’ Temperance,” said Reichs.
“TV Temperance is younger. She’s 30-something. She’s in Washington. It’s before her years in Montreal and North Carolina,” she said.
However, Reichs’ powers of scientific observation helm every action that Temperance makes both in her books or on the TV series, “Bones.”
“I’m writing novels -- not science books,” said Reichs.
“The challenge is to get the science right, keep things jargon-free and make it interesting. That’s hard to do,” she said.