Grave Secrets Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Grave Secrets

Pathologist Tempe Brennan works half her time in Canada and half in the US but this book commences at the unearthing of a mass grave in Guatemala.   At the end of the day twenty bodies, mostly women and child, have been recovered. That is when a call comes in to say two of her colleagues have been shot. One is dead, and the other clinging to life. When Tempe returns to the city a local police officer seeks her out to help in another mystery, a girl's body in a septic tank. This is part of an ongoing investigation into the disappearance of four missing girls. Apart from the abundance of characters and seemingly unrelated cases the problems are all solved and as usual with Riechs work they are connected. Needless to say Brennan's emotional life gets a mention when Montreal cop Andrew Ryan joins the investigation. If there are any criticisms of this novel it is in the lengthy explanations of technical origin such as DNA and stem cell research. Reichs also spends time describing locations.
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The review of this Book prepared by Penny

Scribner, July 2002, 25.00, 336 pp.
ISBN 0684859734

Between the years of 1962-1996, Guatemala was involved in a bloody civil war and many of the peasants who were thought to be rebels were killed or disappeared. In the present, the government is now sending in forensic teams to find and identify the victims so they can be given a proper burial. Dr. Temperance Brennan, a famous forensic anthropologist, is one of the members who are trying to sort out the body parts on the site of a massacre.

While doing her work, she is asked by an honest policeman to examine the body of a woman who was found in a septic tank. It seems that in the past few months, four young women have gone missing and the authorities fear they have a serial killer on their hands. While working the case, Temperance finds herself in danger from an unexpected source and only a miracle will save her life.

Kathy Reichs is a fantastic writer of crime thrillers and her latest work GRAVE SECRETS is even better than usual because of its locations. Based on facts and true events, readers get an inside look at a Central American country where genocide on the local people occurred for more than three decades. Temperance is the kind of heroine most women aspires to be.

Harriet Klausner

The review of this Book prepared by Harriet Klausner

Chapter Analysis of Grave Secrets

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book descript. of violence and chases 10%Planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 20%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 20%How society works & physical descript. (people, objects, places) 50% Tone of story    -   suspenseful (sophisticated fear) How difficult to spot villain?    -   Difficult, but some clues given Time/era of story:    -   2000+ (Present) What % of story relates directly to the mystery, not the subplot?    -   60% Special suspect?    -   investigator him/herself Misc. Murder Plotlets    -   Big focus on forensic evidence    -   Big focus on autopsies Kind of investigator    -   police procedural, American Kid or adult book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Any non-mystery subplot?    -   life in that culture Crime Thriller    -   Yes Murder Mystery (killer unknown)    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Female Profession/status:    -   doctor Age:    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Race    -   White/American


The Americas (not US):    -   Yes The Americas:    -   Canada    -   Central    -   South

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   generic/vague references to death/punishment    -   very gorey references to deaths/dead bodies and torture A lot of techno jargon?    -   Yes Kind of jargon?    -   archaeology Amount of dialog    -   mostly dialog

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Kathy Reichs Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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