BOOK REVIEW: BY CARVED IN BONE
Dr. Bill Brockton, the main character in Carved in Bone, who set up and maintains the “Body Farm”, which is actually the Anthropology Research Facility located at the University of Tennessee. The “Body Farm” was set up to try to determine more accurate times and causes of death from decomposing bodies placed in various different settings. Dr. Bill Brockton uses the knowledge he gains from his studies to help in homicide investigations. Sheriff, Tom Kitchings, of Cooke County, requests that Dr. Brockton come to Cooke County to examine skeletal remains of a young woman found in a cave there.
The girl’s body had apparently been in the cave approximately 30 years and appeared to be the victim of a homicide. The sheriff calls in Dr. Brockton to try to determine the girl’s identity and cause of death. It is apparent from the start that the girl was probably very beautiful. The corpse was covered with adipocere, a grave wax, which in this case helped in preserving the corpse. It also appears as if the crime was personal as the body is set up almost like a shrine in the cave.
Dr. Brockton soon finds out that not all is as it seems in Cooke County. In Carved in Bone, Cooke County is a hotbed of illegal activity with one of the primary cash crops being marijuana among other activities. There are also numerous family fueds still alive and going strong that have lasted for decades and Dr. Brockton has to step very carefully in his investigation to avoid being caught in the middle. He also finds out that he has no idea who he can trust in Cooke County and soon finds himself in grave danger and wonders if he will survive long enough to help solve this homicide.
Jefferson Bass has created a colorful cast of characters in Carved in Bone. The young woman found in the cave tears at one’s heart to read of her life ending so young and someone getting away with the crime for such a long period of time. Living in West Virginia, it was very easy for me to be able to picture the people, roads, etc. in Cooke County as the terrain and community described there seemed to be very similar to that here, although we do not have the extent of the crime described in Cooke County. Carved in Bone was a very interesting read but not one for those with a weak stomach.
REVIEWED BY GINA METZ
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