Up in the mountains of North Carolina, where the last towns nestle into the Appalachian wilderness, a commercial airliner crashes. Kathy Reichs’ long time heroine, forensic pathologist Temperance ‘Tempe’ Brennan, is called in to assist with identifying remains. As the police try to determine the source of the crash, Tempe uncovers a foot that doesn’t appear to belong to anyone on the flight manifest- leading her to a whole different investigation. Rounding out the mystery with some love story tension is the appearance on the scene of another Reichs’ standard character, Tempe’s on again/off-again love interest, Quebec police detective Andrew Ryan. Ryan’s partner was escorting a gang-connected prisoner on an extradition to Canada, so Ryan is up at the mountainous crash site to confirm the deaths of partner and prisoner, and also investigate whether the cause of the crash is connected to a gang.
Reichs usually writes a good mystery, and Tempe is a fun lead- competent, curious, hard-edged. The last few Reichs novels I’ve read were set largely in Canada and Israel, so a return to North Carolina was a nice change. Rather than Charlotte, where Tempe lives, the Bryson City/ Appalachians location drew me in- I did a lot of googling locations to get an idea of just how mountainous these mountains are (living near the Rockies has given me the opinion that the Appalachians are just big hills- google image search tells me they are lovely even if they are just big hills ;). The mystery itself was good, and dark- par for the Reichs course. A nice, solid entry in the series.
Based on the Appalachian setting I’m counting this one as ‘The Wilds’ square for cbr13bingo.