Hurricane, epidemic and unsolved murders in his new book, “The Bone Code” (podcast “1on1 with Jon Evans”)
WILMINGTON, North Carolina (WECT) – Kathy reichs was already employed in 1996. She had a full-time career as a professor at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte. She had her doctorate. in physical anthropology and had achieved the highest level of certification recognized by the American Board of Forensic Anthropology. Married with three children wishing to attend private colleges, the aspiring author decided to use some of her precious free time to write a book.
“I had just worked on a serial murder case which had some very interesting elements, so I had the basic idea of a story,” Reichs said in an interview from his family home in Isle of Palms. , South Carolina. “So I thought I had a colleague who was going through paperback novels and making some money. So all of these things kind of came together and I said, ‘I’m going to try this. I’ll give it a shot. I never wrote fiction ”. I promised myself to finish the book. I did it in secret, it took me two years because I wrote it in the morning before going to campus or on weekends or holidays, that sort of thing. It’s like that Already dead came about. “
Reich’s first murder mystery starring forensic anthropologist Temperance Brennan has become a New York Times bestseller, won the 1997 Ellis Award for Best First Novel and launched a steadfast career more than two decades later.
“I just thought maybe someone would publish this book,” Reichs said, thinking back to the beginnings. “I was just an unknown fiction writer and I didn’t think much beyond that.”
Reichs just released The bone code, the 20th book of most sold BONE series. In it, the author of Charlotte presents Brennan facing a hurricane, an outbreak of disease in South Carolina, and the discovery of two bodies in which the fictional forensic anthropologist looks back at an unsolved case from her past. . While many books in his series have drawn from his own cases, Reichs describes The bone code as being “out of the headlines”.
“We have now mapped the entire human genome,” she says. “We have tools that can edit the genome, CRISPR. I read a little story about a doctor in China who against all ethical agreements took our knowledge, he took this technology and went ahead and changed the genomes of two unborn babies. So I read that, and I was like, ‘Uh, that’s an interesting premise. What if someone does this for nefarious reasons, for unworthy reasons, for profit or whatever? That’s kind of what started the whole process of wondering what if this, and if that.
Reichs says it takes him a year to write his books, and they’ve been in production for a year. She started to write The bone code before COVID-19 took hold in the United States and around the world. During the final stages of editing, she says her editor suggested putting something in the story to refer to the pandemic, which Reichs did. In the book, Brennan travels to Quebec to work on an unresolved case from fifteen years ago. This reflects Reichs’ career working in Canada. She is a consultant in forensic anthropology at the prestigious forensic science laboratory of Quebec, the Laboratory of Judicial Sciences and Forensic Medicine. She has also served as a consultant for the Office of the Medical Examiner in Mecklenberg County and for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She uses her experiences to educate readers about the processes used by experts to solve complex cases.
“I write detective novels, good old-fashioned detective stories,” she says. “But the difference is that the solutions are guided by science. So, I give details on the science. I’m trying to keep it short because people don’t want to read a manual. but I think they want to learn something along the way. So, I put details. I stay away from the jargon that we would use among ourselves as specialists. Hope this is a little informative and understandable.
Fans also enjoyed Temperance Brennan as part of the BONE TV shows, which ran from 2005 to 2017 on Fox, becoming the longest-running scripted drama series in network history. Reichs worked as a producer on the series and wrote several episodes. After presenting several offers to take his character to the small screen, Reichs felt his conversations with (executive producer) Barry Josephson and (writer and showrunner) Hart Hanson landed on the same page.
“We wanted a show based on characters, not another police procedure,” is how she describes their collective vision for BONE. “We wanted to create characters that people would get involved in, that people would care about. I liked Hart’s idea of doing a gender role reversal where Seely Booth, the man, is usually the one who was emotional, who leads by his instincts. While Temperance Brennan, the woman, is the one who makes sense and insists on hypothesis training and testing. We’ve kind of reversed those gender stereotypes. We thought it would lend itself to comedy, and he did. I put humor in my books, and they wanted to put humor in the show. I had a good experience. I think our writers were fantastic, our producers were beyond wonderful. Emily (Deschanel) was brilliant and what she did with that role. The chemistry between Emily and David (Boreanaz), you can’t make it up. We did 246 episodes, so apparently what we were doing was working.
In addition to writing the 20 books of the BONE series, Reichs worked with his son Brendan to co-write eight books in the Viral series, which features Temperance Brennan’s niece Tory. There are also accompanying books and short stories with the two characters. Lots of options for new readers to devour. I asked Reichs to share his recommendation on where newbies to his catalog should start.
“I usually say it depends on how your mind works,” she suggested. “If your mind is linear, and mine tends to be, I like to read things in chronological order. So I would tell them to start at the beginning with Already dead. If that doesn’t matter to you, you can take any book as these are all stand-alone stories. You don’t need to read them before or after. If you like to be in the know, I would take the most recent, The bone code. Start with this one, see if you like it, then you can always go back and read the previous ones.
I enjoyed getting to know Kathy Reichs during our interview, learning about the process of writing Temperance Brennan’s books and creating the BONE TV show. The bone code is available now from all major booksellers. Pick it up, it’s a good read!
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