Book Review

Death Du Jour

Death du Jour

  • Author: Kathy Reichs
  • Genre: Mystery Thriller
  • Publication Date: June 1, 1999
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Series: Temperance Brennan #2

CONTENT WARNING: death, gore, murder, death of a child, use of an ableist slur, violence, death of an animal

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Assaulted by the bitter cold of a Montreal winter, the American-born Dr. Temperance Breman, Forensic Anthropologist for the Province of Quebec, digs for a corpse where Sister Elisabeth Nicolet, dead over a century and now a candidate for sainthood, should lie in her grave. A strange, small coffin, buried in the recesses of a decaying church, holds the first clue to the cloistered nun’s fate. The puzzle surrounding Sister Elisabeth’s life and death provides a welcome contrast to discoveries at a burning chalet, where scorched and twisted bodies await Tempe’s professional expertise. Who were these people? What brought them to this gruesome fate? Homicide Detective Andrew Ryan, with whom Tempe has a combustive history, joins her in the arson investigation. From the fire scene they are drawn into the worlds of an enigmatic and controversial professor, a mysterious commune, and a primate colony on a Carolina island.

I decided to give the second book in this series a shot as an audiobook. But about halfway through, I figured I probably should have just stuck with reading the hard copy. No shade to the narrator, Bonnie Hurren, who did an awesome job with this story. This is a perfect example of “it’s not you, it’s me.” Mainly because this is a convoluted story with so many moving pieces, and I think it would have been easier for me to follow printed words.

We’re introduced to some more of Tempe’s family in this book, as the story shifts between Montreal and the American South. As she’s working on one case for the church, she gets pulled into another, and then a third which is seemingly unrelated — but we know better. 

The story moves fairly quickly, with twists and turns that I was surprised to see coming, and some I saw in advance. As i’ve come to expect, there was a lot of gore involved in the story, although I definitely could have done without seeing harm to animals. And I was quite disappointed to see it fall back on the tired misconception of “the villain with a mental illness,” furthering an already stigmatized population. Finally, the use of an ableist slur, using the “r” word, which was already understood as inappropriate even when this book was published, wasn’t cool at all. 

Hopefully, this series will improve, because there are some things that I do like about it. I like Tempe’s personality, her brains, her tenacity, and her willingness to go to bat for victims who can’t speak up for themselves. There’s also the biology geek side of me that loves seeing how much she can uncover just from looking at skeletons, and I seriously want to see what happens in her personal life. There’s a sexual tension between her and Andrew Ryan, and I’m not quite ready to give up on the Temperance Brennan books just yet. 

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 10

9 replies »

  1. Great review, Leah! I was just thinking about picking these books up again.. It’s been over ten years but what I did read of the series was intelligent and interesting!
    Shame you weren’t able to enjoy the audio version!

    Liked by 1 person

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