Grave Secrets

Version: Unabridged (Abridged version available here)
Author: Kathy Reichs
Narrator: Katherine Borowitz
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Mystery, Thriller & Horror
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Published In: July 2002
# of Units: 9 CDs
Length: 10 hours
Ratings:
Tell Your Friends:

Overview

It was a summer morning in 1982 when soldiers ravaged the village of Chupan Ya, raping and killing women and children. Twenty-three victims are said to lie in the well when Dr. Temperance Brennan and the team from the Guatemalan Forensic Anthropology Foundation now dig. No records were kept. To their families, the dead are "the disappeared."

The team is packing up for the day when an urgent satellite call comes in. Two colleagues are under attack. Shots ring out, and Tempe listens in horror to a woman's sreams. Then there is silence. Dead silence.

With this new violence, Tempe is asked by the Guatemalan police for her expertise on another case. Four privlidged young women have vanished from Guatemala City in recent months. One is the Canadian's ambassador's daughter. Some remains have turned up in the septic tank. Unfortunately, Tempe knows septic tanks.

Teaming with Special Crimes Investigator Bartolome Galiano, and with Montreal detective Andrew Ryan, Tempe soon finds herself in a dangerous web that streches far beyond Guatemala's borders. As power, money, greed, and science converge, Tempe must make life-altering choices.

"Grave Secrets" is powerful entertainment from a crime fiction superstar who combines riveting authenticity with witty, elegant prose.

Reviews (9)

Grave Secrets

Written by Kathy on December 29th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This book is quick paced plot and an interesting read. The author did an excellent job describing more than I needed to know about a septic tank. Reichs is an author that I look for when I want a good read.

First Reichs - Not the last

Written by K Griffin on September 17th, 2007

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This was the first novel by Kathy Reichs that I have "read". It was kind of slow at first, but about half-way through it became much more interesting. I think that there might have been a few too many threads going on at the same time, with what seemed like a rushed tie-up on some of them. I am definitely going to give some of her other books a try.

Worth the listen

Written by Howeln from Alpine, CA on April 27th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I liked this book, and the first one I have listened too/read by Reichs, which I only did because of the TV show Bones. The writing is very descriptive but well balanced. I'm not the best person to judge mysteries, but I did think it was well done.

Grave Secrets

Written by June Frost on September 10th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 5/5

A typical entertaining Reichs read/listen. I am a Reichs fan, so my review is biased. Good descriptive writing, with believable dialogue. Temperance, the main character, is a strong, well educated, smart woman who knows what she wants (most of the time) and is unafraid to show her independence, even when her beliefs are different from the crowd. Good woman's book for motivation, and my husband liked it too.

Grave Secrets

Written by Bonnie Enzian on July 26th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This was a great story. There were many different plots going on and lots of interesting characters. The explosive civil turbulence that took place in Guatemala for 30 years was fascinating to learn about and of course, disturbing at the same time. The forensic anthropology lessons were also very interesting and made the murder investigations personal-waiting to hear how the cat hairs found on the victim, or the tiny bones wrapped up in a shirt sleeve would help find the killer(s). I thought this book was narrated very well and it definitely kept me interested all the way through. This was the first Kathy Reichs book I've listened to and I will do be renting another one of her titles soon.

Grave Secrets

Written by Summer from Provo, UT on June 2nd, 2005

  • Book Rating: 3/5

Good Book. Starts out slow but is worth renting. Pretty good mystery.

Grave Secrets

Written by Anonymous on February 23rd, 2005

  • Book Rating: 4/5

If you enjoy Kathy Reichs, you will enjoy the story. The narrator is somber given the serious nature of the crimes and I tried to accept this as a creative interpreation. However, it just turned on horrific crime versus, not a dramatic reading for enjoyment/entertainment.

grave secrets

Written by Anonymous from jacksonville, FL on February 4th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 3/5

interesting book where reader is educated about anthropological research and a little about stem cell research. However, moved a little too slowly and weak ending

Grave Secrets

Written by Deborah Martinson on November 17th, 2004

  • Book Rating: 4/5

Good listening. Good plot. Interesting background about forensic anthropology and Guatamala's civil war. I recommend it. Fascinating.

Author Details

Author Details

Reichs, Kathy

Both a forensics expert who has seen -- firsthand -- the aftermath of murderers and a novelist whose heroine tracks villains like the "Blade Cowboy," Kathy Reichs has some ideas about what the face of evil looks like: ordinary. "I see the perpetrator across the courtroom when I'm testifying. Generally, I'm underwhelmed," she said in a 2000 interview published on her web site." I'm always shocked by how totally normal they look. They look like my Uncle Frank, usually."

Reichs mulled over those experiences for about seven years before deciding to apply her ideas to fiction. Out came Déjà Dead in 1997, introducing mystery fans to a new but, more likely than not, recognizable heroine: forensics expert Temperance Brennan, a fortyish, recovering alcoholic on the run from a wobbling marriage. Brennan – a sort of mix between Nancy Drew and Quincy – is also something of a hothead, prone to marching off on her own when she runs afoul of a sexist male cop. This is the kind of woman who would sit down to brunch with Vic Warshawski, Kay Scarpetta, or Jane Tennison, if any of them did brunch.

As a forensic anthropologist for the state of North Carolina, as well as the province of Québec, Reichs draws heavily from her own experiences standing over the autopsy table. Her novels -- Death du Jour, Deadly Decisions, Grave Secrets and the like – are packed with the kind of well informed clinical details that make critics take notice. "The doctor clearly knows a hawk from a handsaw," wrote The New York Times about one of her books.

She also built some parallels to her own biography when creating Tempe Brennan. Both women are forensic anthropologists with the unlikely dual addresses of North Carolina and Canada. But Reichs rolls her eyes when asked about the comparisons. "Personally, she's completely her own person," Reichs told USA Today in 1997. "She gets physically involved. She takes risks I've never been tempted to take."

Reichs was editing forensics textbooks when she began toying with writing a novel. The initial result, she said, was a dud: slow, boring, and in the third person. But it picked up steam when she came up with the Brennan character. Inspired by friend and medical examiner Bill Maples, author of Dead Men Do Tell Tales, she sat down to write, meticulously drafting an outline of her story and getting up early to write before teaching classes at the University of North Carolina. It took her two years.

The effort paid off when her manuscript made the rounds of the Frankfurt Book Fair. A heated auction won Reichs a million-dollar, two-book deal.

Critics and readers alike loved Tempe. Wrote the Library Journal, "Despite her ability to work among fetid, putrefying smells that 'leap out and grab' and her 'go-to-hell attitude' with seasoned cops, Tempe is as vulnerable as a soft Carolina morning." And People magazine said, "Reichs not only serves up a delicious plot, she also brings a new recipe to hard-boiled cop talk."

Over chicken salad lunches with newspaper reporters, Reichs will casually talk about dismembered bodies, maggots, and concerns for her children's security in light of some of the unsavory characters she'd testified against. But then she'll confess her true idea of a waking nightmare. "[My] idea of horror would be to sit in a little gray office all day and add up columns of numbers," she told USA Today. "I say to people, 'How do you do that?"'