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Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs

Grave Secrets (2002)

by Kathy Reichs

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Temperance Brennan (5)

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3,157482,724 (3.71)48
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 when Dr. Temperance Brennan and the 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 ...… (more)



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English (46)  French (2)  All languages (48)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
Most of the action in this novel takes place in Guatemala. Tempe investigates 2 cases. A decades old mass murder, and a recent, possible serial killer. The 2 story lines are for the most part unrelated and I am not sure why there are 2 strong cases presented. Either one could have been the basis for it's own book. It was interesting reading about a different culture. I was a little bothered when Ryan shows up in Guatemala. How does he manage to get assigned to a case in a foreign country that just happens to be where Tempe is working? The coincidence seemed too forced to me. ( )
  readingover50 | Jun 11, 2019 |
Never really got into this one. An okay read, but nothing more than that for me. I often find myself a tad disappointed with this series, but still continue with it. ( )
  Andrew-theQM | Jul 31, 2016 |
Tempe finds herself in Guatemala investigating a mass grave, and while she's there, the local police decide to avail themselves of her forensics expertise to investigate four missing girls and one dead body in a sewer.
The cast of characters is large and there's some historical elements included related to Guatemalan history.
Tempe bounces around Guatemala too much, helping the only honest detective in a sea of corruption, and figures out missing girls, links to stem cell research, and takes her sweet time doing it. She even finds time to link it to her friends in Montreal, who just so happen to have gone to school with her detective partner in Guatemala. Beyond far-fetched, and casting aspersions on everyone she describes and the way they work, this one should have been a secret Reichs took to the grave. And finally, a bit of a spoiler, she rips off Janet Evanovich's technique of not finishing the romance part of the book -- you know she's chosen someone but not whom. Stay tuned to the next in the series to find out which one, I suppose.
Pass on this one in the series
I received no compensation, not even a free copy, in exchange for this review. I am not personal friends with the author, nor do I follow her on social media. ( )
  polywogg | Mar 19, 2016 |
In Kathy Reichs' fifth novel, the story takes us to a Guatemalan village, the site of a political massacre during that country's civil war. Although the bloody struggles that took the lives of thousands occurred from 1962 to 1996, an international team of forensic experts that includes Dr. Temperance Brennan has been asked to excavate a mass grave site, identify victims and determine how they died. Even though it's only a short-term assignment, Tempe is finding it to be one of the most depressing projects she's ever been involved with. As the villagers look on, the team excavates an old well to remove the bodies of women and children murdered by government soldiers. They are hoping to find evidence that would identify those responsible and, more importantly, identify the victims so their families can give them a decent burial.

Their heart-wrenching work is made even more stressful by an attack on two of their team members by what are presumably local thieves. One teammate is killed, but the other, left for dead, lingers in a coma fighting for her life. With this new violence, everything changes, both for the team and for Tempe, who's asked by the Guatemalan police for her expertise on another case. Four wealthy 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, and Tempe unfortunately knows septic tanks.

Grave Secrets is very interesting as both a suspense mystery and from the forensics aspect of a real-life event in Guatemala. It has some strong characters and a tension-filled plot. There's a mix of humor as well, which you need for some of the more unpleasant aspects of the forensics that are an integral part of this story.
( )
  Olivermagnus | Jan 17, 2016 |
Audio book narrated by Katherine Borowitz

Forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is in Guatemala working to excavate a decades-old mass grave and identify the bodies buried there, when she is asked to help local police with their investigation into the disappearance of four young women. Is there a serial killer on the loose? Why is the DA hampering the investigation? What is the Canadian ambassador’s wife hiding? Is the local detective truly interested in her – in a personal way – or is she imagining this because she misses Ryan?

Reichs crafts a fast-moving, intricate plot. The pace is unrelenting, with just enough scientific information to make Tempe an interesting professional, but not so much that the non-scientist reader loses interest. There are enough red herrings here to distract the most dedicated sleuth. I know that I was still thinking, “what about …?” when the final reveal came, and I like being surprised. But let’s talk about our heroine. Tempe is – for the most part – an independent and intelligent woman. She doesn’t take s**t from anyone and she’s pretty capable when it comes to taking care of herself. So why does she – yet again – go off chasing the bad guy without backup or even her cell phone? ARRGH. I typically give up on a series after about three or four installments; it’s not necessarily the fault of the author, but I get bored reading about the same character in similar settings over and over again. Grave Secrets is the 5th in this series, and I may have reached my limit.

Borowitz does a great job narrating this thriller. Her pacing is quick, and she does a reasonable job of the various accents required in this story. I’d listen to her again.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kathy Reichsprimary authorall editionscalculated
Borowitz, KatherineNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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New York, New York
Arlington, Virginia
Shanksville, Pennsylvannia

September 11, 2001

I have touched their bones. I mourn for them.
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"I am dead. They killed me as well."
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