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Sunday, November 3, 2013

Book 336: CUT TO THE BONE Review

Cut to the Bone: A Body Farm Novel (Body Farm 0.5) by Jefferson Bass
ISBN:  9780062262301 (hardcover)
ISBN:  9780062262325 (ebook)
ASIN:  B00BATNLJC (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 24, 2013 
Publisher: William Morrow


In this long-awaited prequel to his New York Times bestselling series, Jefferson Bass turns the clock back to reveal the Body Farm's creation-and Dr. Bill Brockton's deadly duel with a serial killer
In the summer of 1992, Arkansas Governor Bill Clinton and Tennessee Senator Albert Gore begin their long-shot campaign to win the White House. In the sweltering hills of Knoxville at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Bill Brockton, the bright, ambitious young head of the Anthropology Department, launches an unusual-some would call it macabre-research facility, unlike any other in existence. Brockton is determined to revolutionize the study of forensics to help law enforcement better solve crime. But his plans are derailed by a chilling murder that leaves the scientist reeling from a sense of déjà vu. Followed by another. And then another: bodies that bear eerie resemblances to cases from Brockton's past.
The police chalk up the first corpse to coincidence. But as the body count rises, the victims' fatal injuries grow more and more distinctive-a spiral of death that holds dark implications for Brockton himself. If the killer isn't found quickly, the death toll could be staggering. And the list of victims could include Brockton. . . and everyone he holds dear.

The year is 1992; it's summer in Knoxville, Tennessee, and forensic anthropology is still in its infancy. All of that is about to change due to the efforts of Dr. Bill Brockton, head of the Anthropology Department at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville and his graduate assistant, Tyler Wainwright. This particular summer sees a number of bodies found that all seem familiar to Dr. Brockton, but he can't quite put his finger on why. What does come from the number of bodies is the notion that perhaps the evolution of insects on the corpses can reveal greater accuracy in determining how long they've been deceased. This idea culminates in what is to become the "body farm" located mere yards away from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville hospital. As the summer continues it becomes clear that this particular killer may be directing his kills specifically toward Dr. Brockton's attention. When the killer strikes a bit closer to home, it becomes a race to beat the clock. Can Brockton, the police and the FBI identify and contain the killer before Dr. Brockton, or his family, become the killer's final targets?

Cut to the Bone is actually the first book I've read by Jefferson Bass. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I think it was probably something along the lines of Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwell's series on forensics and forensic anthropology. This was so much more (and I thoroughly enjoy reading both series by Ms. Reichs and Ms. Cornwell). Perhaps it's because I attended graduate school at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, but the images brought to mind by the descriptions of the Anthropology Department in Neyland stadium and the Knoxville area were quite vivid. I could literally close my eyes and see the picture painted by the author's words. The descriptions of the murdered bodies were a bit more gruesome than I'm used to, but it definitely added to the overall tension and suspense while reading. This was one story where the bad guy is really, really bad and the good guys were really good and should all have been wearing white hats. I liked Dr. Bill Brockton and found him to be realistic and flawed. His relationship with family and friends only added to his realism and believability. It was intriguing to watch Dr. Brockton's learning curve with this series of murders and the implications it had on the burgeoning field of forensic anthropology. Cut to the Bone is an extremely well-written suspense thriller that had me turning on all of the lights at night (okay, it was just one night). Cut to the Bone is intended as a prequel to the Body Farm series by Jefferson Bass. As previously stated this is the first in this series that I've read, but hopefully not the last. I look forward to adding this series and this author to my ever growing TBR list.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book free for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."



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