By Kathy Reichs

Scribner, September, 1997 $24.00

Setting: Montreal, Quebec, Canada

Reviewed by: Cherie Jung

If you haven't already heard the hype, be prepared. Many critics will undoubtedly compare Dr. Reichs with that other writer whose series features a female forensic expert who solves grisly crimes. (Hint: Patricia Cornwell)

Variety has already hailed Kathy Reichs, a first time novelist, as "the next Patricia Cornwell," which may be a blessing or a curse, depending upon whether you are one of the many readers who have tired of Ms. Cornwell's series.

In this case, I encourage you to give DEJA DEAD (and its author) a chance to win you over.

The author is a "real-life" forensic anthropologist, who, like her fictional character, divides her time between working as a medical examiner in Montreal, Canada and in North Carolina. Dr. Reichs is also a professor of anthropology at the University of North Carolina, Charlotte.

The fictional forensic-anthropologist-protagonist is Temperance Brennan. Tempe, to her friends. She is on the trail of a serial killer even though the local police do not believe there is connection between the seemingly random killings.

Make no mistake. This is not a traditional mystery. It is a sometimes grisly and gritty thriller.

The author's expertise is quite evident in the writing. I enjoyed the first half of the book, especially the author/protagonist's sense of humor. The latter half of the book dissolved into what I would describe as a standard thriller. No surprises there. However, that said, this is still the best book I've read in nearly a year. And I am looking forward to the next book in the series. (The author has a two-book contract and I am making the assumption that book number two will again feature this protagonist.)

For more information on the author's publicity tour, please check your local listings. Dr. Reichs is scheduled to tour in 12 cities, U.S. and Canada.

Foreign rights have been sold in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Israel, and Spain.

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