My review of Carved in Bone (2006, Harper, #1 Body Farm) was originally posted on GoodReads, then on Books That Hook. I’ve edited this review more than once, and I’m adding a little more to it now for this blog post.
Quick Review: Poorly written but interesting forensics
Renowned anthropologist Dr. Bill Brockton has spent his career surrounded by death at the Body Farm. Now he’s being called upon to help solve a baffling puzzle in a remote mountain community. The mummified corpse of a young woman dead for thirty years has been discovered in a cave, the body bizarrely preserved and transformed by the environment’s unique chemistry. But Brockton’s investigation is threatening to open old wounds among an insular people who won’t forget or forgive. And a long-buried secret prematurely exposed could inflame Brockton’s own guilt—and the dangerous hostility of bitter enemies determined to see him fail . . . by any means necessary.
With Fascinating Insider Information on the Body Farm!
Jen’s Review of CARVED IN BONE
I have mixed feelings. I was really looking forward to reading this book because I live in Tennessee and the body farm at U.T. is one of our claims to fame. Also, I like shows and books about forensics, so this seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately, it fell short of my expectations. Here are some of my thoughts about the book:
Positives: character development; dialect of the locals; suspense; research.
Negatives: Bill was stiff at the beginning, but changed for no apparent reason as the story went on.
Bill’s dialect changed as the story progressed, which didn’t seem right.
The dialogue between Bill and his colleagues was awkward, unnatural.
Overall, I liked the story, but it bothered me that the main character was revered as a genius in his field by everyone he met. They all lauded him with praise and practically fell at his feet. Since the main character appears to be based on one of the authors, it seemed like a case of ‘tooting your own horn.’ He may very well be a genius, but he didn’t need to keep saying it. It got annoying very fast.
The best aspect of Carved in Bone is the forensics. If you care more about the science than the characters, this is a book worth reading. I’ve gone back and forth several times about whether I am going to continue reading this series. As of now, I’m planning on skipping some of the older books and reading at least one of the newer ones. I’m sure the writing has improved after ten books.
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars (C)