Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs
A wonderful, thrilling book!, October 9, 2003
from United States
Kathy Reichs is fast becoming one of my very favorite authors and this book is no exception. Usually her main character, Tempe Brennan, a forensic anthropologist, stays in the USA or in Canada within each book, but this time she is in Guatemala in a village called Chupan Ya, where a terrible incident happened in 1982. Soldiers invaded the village, raping the women, then killing them and the children there. Although this was a well-known incident, no records were kept and Tempe joins up with the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation to uncover the graves and recover the bones of the dead. Things get off to a bang when the team is packing up for the day and get a satellite phone call from two of their colleagues, who are driving towards the city. While talking, Tempe hears other voices, screams, shots, then nothing. The man is dead, but the woman is rushed to the hospital and goes into a coma. Dealing with this is bad enough, then Tempe is asked by the Guatemalan police to help with a case they've been working on - four well-to-do young women have mysteriously vanished from Guatemala City in recent months and none of their bodies have been found, nor have any of them turned up alive. One of the woman is the daughter of the Canadian ambassador, which is why Tempe thinks she's been asked to help. But it's the discovery of a body in a septic tank that is the real reason - Tempe had worked on a case before involving a body found in a septic tank. She reluctantly agrees to assist and finds some cat hairs and fetal bones in the tank among a young woman's remains. For whatever reason, she tucks some of the cat hair and fetal bones in her pocket and it's a good thing she did, because the remains are suddenly whisked away from further investigation Frustrated, but not about to give up, Tempe sends the hair off to a colleague who knows cat hairs, asks questions of the families of the missing young women and begins to realize there just might be a connection to the Chupan Ya massacre and these current disappearances. Plus, the ambush of her colleagues in the car may not have been meant for them, but for her instead. There are plenty of twists and turns in this book, and Katherine Borowitz, who has read almost all of Kathy Reich's other books, does an outstanding job of putting you right in the middle of this must-read (or must-hear) thriller.