The Bone Thief
Morrow, Mar 2010, $24.99
University of Tennessee’s anthropology department chairman and the head of the school’s human decomposition research facility the Body Farm, Dr. Bill Brockton and his grad assistant Miranda Lovelady open a coffin to obtain a sample for a DNA paternity test. However, the remains inside have been desecrated.
The FBI asks Brockton to assist them on ending a lucrative body parts black market operation. He agrees to play the role of a supplier though he remains preoccupied by his last case Bones of Betrayal. At the same time he struggles with an undercover role to end a chop shop, his medical examiner friend Eddie Garcia has been exposed to a dose of radioactivity that has cost him both hands amputated and likely his job unless he takes an illegal underhanded spin with his hope being Brockton.
This is an entertaining Body Farm mystery as the hero is caught in a personal value’s dilemma between helping his friend and ending the black market sales of body parts. This issue comes on top of his inability to move past the betrayal that “murdered” his heart. Although two late shaky spins detract from an otherwise solid undercover tale, forensic fans will enjoy Dr. Brockton’s moral crisis.