Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
Jacket Blurb: Assaulted by the bitter
cold of a Montreal winter, the American-born Dr. Temperance Breman,
Forensic Anthropologist for the Province of Quebec, digs for a corpse
where Sister Elisabeth Nicolet, dead over a century and now a candidate
for sainthood, should lie in her grave. A strange, small coffin, buried
in the recesses of a decaying church, holds the first clue to the
cloistered nun's fate. The puzzle surrounding Sister Elisabeth's life
and death provides a welcome contrast to discoveries at a burning
chalet, where scorched and twisted bodies await Tempe's professional
expertise. Who were these people? What brought them to this gruesome
fate? Homicide Detective Andrew Ryan, with whom Tempe has a combustive
history, joins her in the arson investigation. From the fire scene they
are drawn into the worlds of an enigmatic and controversial professor, a
mysterious commune, and a primate colony on a Carolina island.
Read as an audiobook.
What could have been a really good forensics based mystery was overshadowed by the protagonists poor behavior: sulking because her sister 'might' have slept with Andy Ryan, snapping at Ryan like she was menopausal or some jealous teenager, going off like a tea kettle from anxiety attacks, demanding that someone drive her around in a very dangerous ice/snow storm at 4 am in the morning or she would By God! do it herself! It was like watching a grown adult throw a childish temper tantrum. She was moody, demanding, prone to hysterics, subject to stupidity, and unreasonable often all within a matter of pages. By the end of the book I detested the main character. She needed a solid slap upside the head.
I grew increasingly annoyed with the over use of "...a cold wind gripped by body," "..ice flowed through my veins,"; "...an icy fear stopped my heart," "...fear clenched my stomach." "...my heart was gripped with fear," "...my throat clenched with anxiety,".
By the end of the book all the interesting forensics details had gone by the wayside and I was left with panicked ruminations, foreboding dreams, an ice storm that shut down the Province (except Ryan and Tempe could drive around), and theatrics. I was quite relieved when I hit that final disk. By this point I'm sure I've got a lump on the back of my head where I was banging it against my car seat.
Book one: Tempe's house is broken into. Book two: Tempe's house is broken into.
Book one: Tempe is threatened. Book two: Tempe is threatened.
Book one: Tempe is strangled. Book two: Tempe is strangled.
Book one: Tempe is subjected to bodily harm. Book two: Tempe is subjected to bodily harm.
Book one: Tempe's best friend is harmed. Book two: Tempe's sister is harmed.
Do you sense a trend? I'm sensing a trend, and not one I'm entirely pleased about.
What I did like about the book was the descriptions of the Low Country down by Beaufort. The talk of the coast, of the island, of the inter-coastal waterway. I also like the descriptions and history of Montreal. And as I said before, the forensics aspect can be really fascinating. But ultimately, it wasn't enough to over come the issues I had with the protagonist. Which I'm rather bummed about because I was hoping to sink my teeth into another series. Oh well. Very reluctant recommendations.
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