Monday, July 17, 2006

If you have ever tried to read

one of Kathy Reichs' Tempe Brennan series, go and take a look at John Crace's digested version of Break No Bones. The books which respond best to this approach are those which already read like self-parody....


  1. I find her books so clogged up that I don't think I could actually bear to even look at a parody.
    She's going just like P. Cornwell...when is something going to happen, darn it, the reader is always thinking.

    Other writers of the genre can write about not much happening and it is good, page-turning stuff. (Karin Slaughter). What is it with Reichs? The plot runs out of steam one-third way through and the book cannot recover. (Bit like after the interval in most modern plays.)

  2. I don't care so much about the plot, it's the prose style I can't stomach; and also I really, really hate the melodramatic one-sentence paragraphs where TB reflects on her erstwhile drinking problem. I'm, like, "I don't care that you're a reformed alcoholic! Big deal!" It's like she looked up the instruction book and it said "your main character has to have overcome an obstacle with which she still struggles" and stuck a pin onto substance abuse....

  3. Ralph Hitchens7/17/2006 4:53 PM

    OK, I'll 'fess up. I love KR in spite of her somewhat artificial intensity. Unlike her far more popular rival Patricia Cornwell, Ms. Reichs has walked the walk. Her character is not her wannabe, but basically her. In person she's witty and gracious, and if you accept that within this genre of crime fiction the forensics get top billing, she delivers better than Cornwell or any of the others. Just one guy’s opinion.

  4. Thank you, Ralph, for your kinder-spirited comments! I have been gratuitously snarky here, against my common habit, and feel duly reproached--I wish Ms. Reichs all the best, and I know many readers who greatly enjoy her books....

  5. Eventually my review of BREAK NO BONES will run somewhere but Reichs, to me, is Cornwell's mirror - where Patsy goes for operatic melodrama, Reichs opts for stylistic minimalism and even though the forensic descriptions are dead on (and where she has the most obvious interest) the end result is...well, eh. Cornwell fails, but at least it's spectacular failure.