Attention Kathy Reichs: I’ve figured you out. I’ve been reading your Temperance Brennan series, and I think that I’m ready to take over if you ever get tired of doing them. I might need some help with the forensics, but I’ve figured out all of the other necessary plot elements:
- Temperance Brennan must get bonked on the head and knocked unconscious at least once per novel — but twice must be better. If twice, one incident should occur about a third of the way through the novel, and the other should occur right at the climactic moment. (Lady’s skull must be harder than a rock. Or maybe she’s just punch-drunk all the time, and that’s why the cops don’t take her seriously.)
- Secondary characters should have one physical characteristic or mannerism that is mentioned over and over. Detective Ryan has Very Blue Eyes. Claudel is The Impeccable Dresser. Tempe’s sister is The Crazy One. Repeat as necessary.
- Some wackadoo from Tempe’s past will show up in Montreal and take over the guest bedroom. Said guest will then disappear for several days, which Tempe will not notice for those same several days, despite the fact that (a) this always happens, and (b) it is almost always really bad. Like my-best-friend-was-murdered-because-I-thought-she-just-needed-some-space bad.
- Pattern recognition: thankfully, none appears to be needed! Must be all the concussions.
- Tempe will know how to solve the mystery — except that it will be Stuck! In! Her! Subconscious! until about the point that she’s actually tied up and hanging on a meathook (or whatever the psycho of the day deems appropriate).
- Convergent with not being able to remember important things: weird, prophetic dreams that provide clues that the readers can see, but Tempe usually can’t.
- Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
I like these books, mostly. I find all of the forensics stuff fascinating, and the stories themselves are usually quite good. But here’s the thing: they are woefully predictable. I read these three right in a row, and I think that was a mistake, because there are definite patterns at play and my brain couldn’t help but pick them up after a book or two. If you like mysteries and don’t mind gore you might enjoy these books — just make sure to space them out!