There’s an abundance of dead bodies in a pair of recent crime novels that are overflowing with dangerous threats and devious villains.
Each book showcases an exceptionally popular main character that has appeared in a successful television series or in movies.
“The Bone Hacker” by Kathy Reichs (Scribner, $27.99) is the 22nd in her series starring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan.
This time out, she gets involved in a case that’s not in Quebec nor North Carolina — but in the Caribbean Turks and Caicos Islands. A current case has ties to the islands, but Brennan is called in because she’s a top-notch specialist.
Authorities there are trying to track down a serial killer who is hacking off the hands of victims. Brennan is also looking into the mysterious deaths of five men on a luxury fishing boat. Intense questioning garners a deadly response — soon her life is in danger!
Reichs is known for her convoluted plots; she doesn’t disappoint her loyal fans.
The long-running “Bones” television series is based on Reichs’ books, but “The Bone Hacker” works well as a standalone novel.
“The Secret” by Lee Child and Andrew Child (Delacorte, $28.99) is the latest in the bestselling series featuring Jack Reacher.
It’s set in the U.S. in 1992, with flashbacks to an earlier deadly situation in India. Suspicious deaths are occurring; one elderly victim is thrown out of a hospital window.
Reacher, still in the military police, is called in by the secretary of defense to serve as the representative of the U.S. Army in the multi-unit task force that will be investigating. Others on the task force include members of the FBI, CIA and the Treasury Department.
Two clever avenging killers are out for information, seeking the identity of one of the individuals involved in the earlier scenario in India. Reacher and the others are asking lots of questions with few satisfactory results: many leads don’t pan out.
Lee Child is in fine form, with many scenes of swift, heavy violence. His brother, Andrew, who has co-written three earlier novels in the series, is not quite as adept.
Diehard readers of the Reacher books are likely to find “The Secret” a bit less satisfying than ones set in a more recent time frame.
Ray Walsh, owner of East Lansing’s Curious Book Shop, has been reviewing crime novels and Michigan books regularly since 1987. His email address is firstname.lastname@example.org.