I’m continuing to push through on this series, which is the basis of the TV show “Bones.” In this book, Temperance Brennan finds a modern skeleton mixed in with the skeletons of pre-Columbian people on a historical dig. It’s not actually her jurisdiction, but the local coroner is a friend of hers who is also fighting cancer so she’s willing to help out as much as she can.
Her husband–from whom she’s been separated since the beginning of the series–is staying at the same beach house that she is as he is pursuing a financial investigation for a client that tangentially involves tracking a missing person, all affiliated with a religious organization and their free health clinic.
When a second body is discovered with the same very unusual markings on the bones as the one found at the historical dig, and that body turns out to be the private investigator looking for that same missing person, it seems like the cases have a point of intersection.
Her Canadian boyfriend comes for a visit, making for awkward in-house socialization, and he helps her pursue the possibility that something is very wrong at the free health clinic. This feeling is strengthened when they find yet another body with the same cause of death, this one belonging to a patient of the free clinic.
They convince the sheriff to serve a search warrant on the clinic and find a far better equipped operating room than is necessary for a free clinic, plus the presumptive murder weapon, a wire loop used for garroting the victims. Very very nasty.
The question then becomes, who is responsible for the murders? The doctor who runs the clinic, or his nurse, who is a trained surgical nurse? The idea is that the victims were killed for organ harvesting, and the amount of surgical skill needed to remove organs if you’re not trying to keep the donor alive is not beyond that of a surgical nurse.
These books are so good. They’re easy to read, even for people like me with no medical knowledge, and they’re always interesting and hit a nice balance of intense enough to be exciting without being terrifying.