Bare Bones : Temperance Brennan Series, Book 6
"Down time" is not a phrase in Tempe Brennan's vocabulary. A string of disturbing cases has put her vacation plans on hold; instead, she heads to the lab to analyze charred remains from a suspicious fire, and a mysterious black residue from a small plane crash. But most troubling of all are the bones. Even more disturbing is the fact that bones turns up on a family picnic in North Carolina—but are they animal or human? X-rays and DNA may link the crimes, but they can't reveal who is closing in on Tempe and her family. And how far they will go to keep her from uncovering the truth?
More About Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs; Michele Pawk
- Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
- Date: July 2003
From the book
As I was packaging what remained of the dead baby, the man I would kill was burning pavement north toward Charlotte.
I didn't know that at the time. I'd never heard the man's name, knew nothing of the grisly game in which he was a player.
At that moment I was focused on what I would say to Gideon Banks. How would I break the news that his grandchild was dead, his youngest daughter on the run?
My brain cells had been bickering all morning. You're a forensic anthropologist, the logic guys would say. Visiting the family is not your responsibility. The medical examiner will report your findings. The homicide detective will deliver the news. A phone call.
All valid points, the conscience guys would counter. But this case is different. You know Gideon Banks.
I felt a deep sadness as I tucked the tiny bundle of bones into its container, fastened the lid, and wrote a file number across the plastic. So little to examine. Such a short life.
As I secured the tub in an evidence locker, the memory cells floated an image of Gideon Banks. Wrinkled brown face, fuzzy gray hair, voice like ripping duct tape.
Expand the image.
A small man in a plaid flannel shirt arcing a string mop across a tile floor.
The memory cells had been offering the same image all morning. Though I'd tried to conjure up others, this one kept reappearing.
Gideon Banks and I had worked together at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for almost two decades until his retirement three years back. I'd periodically thanked him for keeping my office and lab clean, given him birthday cards and a small gift each Christmas. I knew he was conscientious, polite, deeply religious, and devoted to his kids.
And he kept the corridors spotless.
That was it. Beyond the workplace, our lives did not connect.
Until Tamela Banks placed her newborn in a woodstove and vanished.
Crossing to my office, I booted up my laptop and spread my notes across the desktop. I'd barely begun my report when a form filled the open doorway.
"A home visit really is above and beyond."
I hit "save" and looked up.
The Mecklenburg County medical examiner was wearing green surgical scrubs. A stain on his right shoulder mimicked the shape of Massachusetts in dull red.
"I don't mind." Like I didn't mind suppurating boils on my buttocks.
"I'll be glad to speak to him."