Cut to the Bone: A Body Farm Novel

Cut to the Bone: A Body Farm Novel - Jefferson Bass 4.5 star read

The year is 1992; it's summer in Knoxville, Tennessee, and forensic anthropology is still in its infancy. All of that is about to change due to the efforts of Dr. Bill Brockton, head of the Anthropology Department at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville and his graduate assistant, Tyler Wainwright. This particular summer sees a number of bodies found that all seem familiar to Dr. Brockton, but he can't quite put his finger on why. What does come from the number of bodies is the notion that perhaps the evolution of insects on the corpses can reveal greater accuracy in determining how long they've been deceased. This idea culminates in what is to become the "body farm" located mere yards away from the University of Tennessee - Knoxville hospital. As the summer continues it becomes clear that this particular killer may be directing his kills specifically toward Dr. Brockton's attention. When the killer strikes a bit closer to home, it becomes a race to beat the clock. Can Brockton, the police and the FBI identify and contain the killer before Dr. Brockton, or his family, become the killer's final targets?

Cut to the Bone is actually the first book I've read by Jefferson Bass. I wasn't quite sure what to expect, but I think it was probably something along the lines of Kathy Reichs or Patricia Cornwell's series on forensics and forensic anthropology. This was so much more (and I thoroughly enjoy reading both series by Ms. Reichs and Ms. Cornwell). Perhaps it's because I attended graduate school at the University of Tennessee - Knoxville, but the images brought to mind by the descriptions of the Anthropology Department in Neyland stadium and the Knoxville area were quite vivid. I could literally close my eyes and see the picture painted by the author's words. The descriptions of the murdered bodies were a bit more gruesome than I'm used to, but it definitely added to the overall tension and suspense while reading. This was one story where the bad guy is really, really bad and the good guys were really good and should all have been wearing white hats. I liked Dr. Bill Brockton and found him to be realistic and flawed. His relationship with family and friends only added to his realism and believability. It was intriguing to watch Dr. Brockton's learning curve with this series of murders and the implications it had on the burgeoning field of forensic anthropology. Cut to the Bone is an extremely well-written suspense thriller that had me turning on all of the lights at night (okay, it was just one night). Cut to the Bone is intended as a prequel to the Body Farm series by Jefferson Bass. As previously stated this is the first in this series that I've read, but hopefully not the last. I look forward to adding this series and this author to my ever growing TBR list.