Deja Dead is Kathy Reichs' first novel, and it's a riveting read. Her dialog can be a bit stilted, but her characters were excellent, and the plot kept me guessing, which is actually a bit unusual for a mystery.
I don't mean that in a conceited way -- I love reading mysteries, and I don't usually try to figure out whodunit or anything else. I like letting the stories unfold before me, without me spending time trying to outsmart the author. If I do figure the ending out ahead of time, I get all disappointed and feel like the author didn't do their job very well.
But while I read Deja Dead, I couldn't stop the story from popping into my head while I wasn't reading it. I had theories on who the bad guy was (all wrong, yay!) and who would die next (I was mostly wrong, so mostly yay!), and I kept trying to figure out how I was going to get creeped out next.
Yes, this is a somewhat creepy book. Reichs is a real-life forensic anthropologist, like her protagonist, Dr. Temperance Brennan. She fills this book with all sorts of vivid details about death and other not-so-yummy-things -- so vivid sometimes that my skin started to crawl. If you're a fan of forensic TV shows like Bones, NCIS, and the CSI: shows, then you'll probably do fine here. If those churn your stomach, you might want to avoid this book.
Speaking of Bones, these books by Kathy Reichs spawned that show. I've been a fan of the show right from the start, due to the presence of David Boreanaz (who had starred in my second-most-favorite-show-ever, Angel). Bones is a really fun show, revolving around the characters of Dr. Temperance Brennan (Emily Deschanel) and FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (Boreanaz). I think my biggest surprise while reading this book wasn't at all related to the plot -- it was regarding how different the book's Dr. Brennan is from the one on the show. On Bones, Dr. Brennan is socially awkward and has a pretty unusual view of life, people, relationships, everything. The Deja Dead Dr. Brennan is cerebral, but not to the point of social awkwardness. She's actually a divorcee with a college-age daughter, and seems to have no problem relating to "normal" people. There was no Seeley Booth, but I'm hoping he pops up in one of the next books in the series.
So, I enjoyed Deja Dead, and I hope to read the next book or two later this summer. If you like forensic mysteries, you'll dig it!