Best-selling author Kathy Reichs’ top five beach reads

The inspiration behind the TV series Bones and the author of Death Du Jour, Bones Are Forever and Code, which came out this spring, shares her favourite books to take on vacation.

Author Kathy Reichs

Author Kathy Reichs

You might not realize this, but the character of Bones in the TV show of the same name is based on the work and novels of a real person: author Kathy Reichs. Her Temperence Brennan mysteries follow a character loosely based on Reichs’ own life as a forensic anthropologist flying back and forth from North Carolina to Montreal, examining human remains and tracking down criminals with the results.

Reichs’ credentials are many: She’s acted as a consultant to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina and at the Laboratoire de Sciences Judiciaires et de Médecine Légale for the province of Québec and is a member of the National Police Services Advisory Council in Canada. She’s also travelled the world in her capacity as a forensic anthropologist, working in places such as Rwanda, Guatemala and Southeast Asia.

Despite being in such demand on the criminal front, she does find time to take it easy and escape between the covers of a good book. Here, she shares her top relaxing summer reads.

1. Isle of Palms, Dorothea Benton Frank, $17.

This summer I’ll be spending a lot of time on a barrier island called Isle of Palms, outside Charleston, South Carolina. If you like the low country atmosphere, Dorothea Benton Frank is a perfect choice. Her characters are pure Dixie, her descriptions so real you can taste the boiled shrimp and smell the salt water. A great beach read.

Isle of Palms by Dorothea Benton Frank

2. Anything in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett, from $12.

Wizards, Sages, Unseen University. One of my favorites is Soul Music. In this, the sixteenth novel, the emergence of rock and roll is viewed through the rise and fall of a Discworld group called The Band with Rocks. Brilliantly hilarious satire.


Soul Music by Terry Pratchett, Discworld

3. The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die, Colin Cotterill, $26.

This is the ninth in Cotterill’s series featuring Dr. Siri Paiboun, the reluctant, septuagenarian Laotian coroner. As the story opens a woman has been killed by a burglar in a small Lao village, given a funeral, and buried. Days later she returns, claiming to be conversant with the dead. Intrigued, Dr. Siri agrees to help find the remains of a man speaking to the newbie clairvoyant from the other side. How’s that for a plot line?

The Woman Who Wouldn't Die  by Colin Cotterill

4. State of Wonder, Anne Patchett, $18.

Set in the Amazon jungle, this tale captures the magic and savagery still alive in the remotest parts of our world. With cutting edge scientific research, an intriguing mystery, and complex and engaging characters, Patchett explores the essence of humanity in any setting.

State of Wonder: A Novel  by Ann Patchett


5. Await Your Reply, Dan Chaon, $18.

Through the use of shifting points of view, and a mystery involving cybercrime, Chaon explores the fragile nature of identity. The narrative is clean, the individual stories cleverly woven to create a unique and absorbing thriller.

Await Your Reply: A Novel  by Dan Chaon

And, of course…

6. Leaving Unknown, Kerry Reichs, $18.

Sure, I’m biased. It’s my kid. Still, it’s a great read. And available in French as L’épopée du perroquet.

Kathy Reichs, Bones of the Lost

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