For a quick read

Bite-sized book reviews.

Bones are Forever, by Kathy Reichs

William Heinemann,

304 pages; R225

Kathy Reichs is like the aunt you are forced to invite to big family functions. It’s not that you actively dislike her. It’s just that she’s annoying.

In her latest, forensic anthropologist Reichs writes about forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan. Brennan investigates the death of three newborn babies whose tiny remains are found in an apartment near Montreal. This takes her on a cross-country excursion involving guns, diamonds, money and long-buried secrets.

Entire pages are taken up by incredibly dry descriptions of complex scientific procedure, which really wrecks the flow of an otherwise solid thriller.

Bones are Foreveris a reasonable way to spend a few hours. – Natasha Joseph

Alex Cross, Run, by James Patterson

Century

416 pages; R179

Anyone who has read Patterson’s Kiss the Girls will know that he can weave one hell of a thrilling tale.

His latest is no exception. I devoured it in an afternoon, my hands actually shaking in parts. His noble detective, Alex Cross, is chasing three serial killers – and someone is hunting him at the same time.

The characters are fairly one dimensional, but that’s not a train smash in this sort of story. The good guys are good, if complex.

The bad guys are just creepy. The chapters are short, the action really fast, the climax suitably exciting and when it’s all over, you can put the book down, have a cup of tea or a nap, and move on with your life. Perfect holiday fodder. – Natasha Joseph

The Cutting Season, by Attica Locke

Serpent’s Tail

352 pages; R213

Displaced by Hurricane Katrina, Caren Gray returns to the home of her childhood, a restored slave plantation in Louisiana. She stumbles over the body of a young female migrant worker, and so the present collides with the past.

The strongest features of The Cutting Season are its shifts in time and its strong sense of place and history. Gray’s ancestors were slaves here and the dark atmosphere of this evocative part of the world is used well to create a few genuinely unnerving moments.

But Attica Locke’s second novel is not just a simple whodunit thriller. It’s also a gripping examination of complex family, identity and historical issues that will manage to keep you guessing to the end. – Margaret Whitaker

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