Temperance ‘Bones’ Brennan books in order
Looking for Kathy Reichs’ Temperance Brennan books in order? Look no further!
If you’ve seen the American television series Bones you’ll know Dr Temperance ‘Tempe’ Brennan as the genius forensic anthropologist who investigates human remains leading her to unearth secrets, search for killers and ultimately solve murders.
Kathy Reichs’ forensic thriller series, where the television series originated, is a blisteringly-detailed portrayal of forensics based on Reichs’ own career working in the profession.
Written with an attention to character, narrative and plot as detailed as a forensic assessment, this is an often gruesome, but always thrilling, must-read series.
Kathy Reichs’ ‘Bones’ or Dr Temperance Brennan books in order:
Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
1. Deja Dead (1997)
Bagged and discarded, the dismembered body of a woman is discovered in the grounds of an abandoned monastery. Dr Temperance Brennan, Director of Forensic Anthropology for the province of Quebec, has been researching recent disappearances in the city.
Soon she is convinced that a serial killer is at work. But when no one else seems to care, her anger forces her to take matters into her own hands. Her determined probing has placed those closest to her in mortal danger, however. Can Tempe make her crucial breakthrough before the killer strikes again?
Death du Jour by Kathy Reichs
2. Death du Jour (1999)
On a bitterly cold March night in Montreal, forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan is exhuming the remains of a nun in the grounds of an old church. Hours later, Tempe is called to the scene of a horrifying arson. A young family has perished, but there is no explanation, no motive, and no witnesses.
From the charred remains of the inferno, to a trail of sinister cult activity, Tempe faces a nerve-shattering case which will test her forensic expertise – and her instinct for survival.
Deadly Decisions by Kathy Reichs
3. Deadly Decisions (2000)
A nine-year-old girl is killed in crossfire on her way to ballet class. Soon afterwards, the body of a teenager killed in North Carolina is found hundreds of miles away. Dr Temperance Brennan knows she must stay professional, but when the young girl’s body is wheeled into the morgue she cannot help but react.
And when an exhumation reveals the bones of yet another innocent in a hidden grave close to a biker gang headquarters, Tempe begins a lone and risky investigation into the lawless underworld of organised crime.
Fatal Voyage by Kathy Reichs
4. Fatal Voyage (2001)
A plane crashes high in the mountains of North Carolina. But a severed foot is discovered a good distance from the crash site. Dr Temperance Brennan is first on the scene. Her task is a sickening one, and her investigation seems to be raising more questions than answers.
But when Tempe starts asking dangerous questions, her professional standing is threatened. Convinced that another corpse lies in the woods, Tempe pits herself against a conspiracy of silence – and uncovers a shocking tale of deceit and depravity.
Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs
5. Grave Secrets (2002)
In the searing heat of Guatemala, Dr Temperance Brennan must harden herself against the horrors she excavates. And then four young girls go missing from Guatemala City.
When a skeleton is found at the back of a rundown hotel, only someone with Tempe’s expertise can deduce the identity and cause of death. But as she searches for answers, her path is blocked at every turn. It is clear that some people will stop at nothing to keep Guatemala’s secrets buried.
Bare Bones by Kathy Reichs
6. Bare Bones (2003)
During one of the hottest summers on record, Dr Temperance Brennan is haunted by a string of horrifying events. First, the bones of a newborn baby are discovered in a wood stove. The mother is nowhere to be found. Next, a plane flies into a rock face. The dead pilot and passenger are burned beyond recognition, and covered in an unknown substance.
And then a store of bones is found in a remote corner of the county. What has happened, and who will be the next victim? The answers lie hidden deep within the bones – but Tempe must find them in time to stop further disaster.
Monday Mourning by Kathy Reichs
7. Monday Mourning (2003)
Three skeletons are found in a Montreal basement. The building is old, and the homicide detective in charge dismisses the remains as historic. Not his case. Not his concern. Dr Temperance Brennan is not so sure. Something about the bones of these three young women suggests a different message: murder.
Soon she finds herself drawn ever deeper into a web of evil from which there may be no escape. Three women have disappeared, never to return. Will Tempe be next?
Cross Bones by Kathy Reichs
8. Cross Bones (2003)
A full week after death, a barely recognisable body is discovered in a closet. ‘Death by self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head’ is the initial assessment, but the victim’s relatives are adamant that this was not suicide. Extreme heat has accelerated decomposition, and Dr Temperance Brennan’s forensic expertise is required. Even for her, it is virtually impossible to determine the trajectory of the bullet.
But just as Tempe is attempting to make sense of the evidence, an unknown man slips her a photograph of a skeleton. Could this hold the answer to the victim’s death?
Break No Bones by Kathy Reichs
9. Break No Bones (2006)
Dr Temperance Brennan and her students are working on a site of prehistoric graves on an island near Charleston, South Carolina, when a decomposing body is uncovered in a shallow grave off a lonely beach. The bone is fresh and the remains are still topped by wisps of hair – it’s a recent burial, and a case Tempe must take.
Tempe determines that the deceased is a middle-aged white male – but who was he? Why was he buried in a clandestine grave? And what does an unusual vertical fracture of one of the vertebrae signify? Before long, another body is discovered – and Tempe finds herself drawn deeper into a shocking investigation which will challenge her entire view of humanity.
Bones to Ashes by Kathy Reichs
10. Bones to Ashes (2007)
Dr Temperance Brennan takes on a case that uncovers horrors she could never have predicted. It is the skeleton of a young girl, no more than fourteen years old – and forensic anthropologist Tempe Brennan is struggling to control her emotions.
The coroner is being evasive, insisting the bones are ancient and of no interest. But this doesn’t feel right, and Tempe is convinced that someone is hiding something. Working on instinct, Tempe takes matters into her own hands. But her work uncovers horrors she could never have predicted, as what started in the lab quickly becomes her most harrowing, and personal, case yet.
Devil Bones by Kathy Reichs
11. Devil Bones (2008)
An underground chamber is exposed in a seedy, dilapidated house. In the dark cellar, a ritualistic display is revealed: a human skull rests on a cauldron, surrounded by slain chickens and bizarre figurines. Called to the scene is Dr Temperance Brennan. She determines that the skull is that of a young, black female. But how and when did she die? Just as Tempe is closing in on answers, another body is discovered: a headless corpse carved with Satanic symbols.
As local vigilantes begin a witch-hunt, Tempe struggles to contain her emotions. But the eventual truth proves more shocking than even she could have imagined.
206 Bones by Kathy Reichs
12. 206 Bones (2009)
When Dr Temperance Brennan is accused of mishandling the autopsy of a missing heiress, a routine case swiftly turns sinister. But before Tempe can get to the one man with the information she needs, he turns up dead.
In Montreal, three elderly women are found murdered, their bodies brutally discarded. Even though the clues don’t add up, Tempe is certain of a link between their deaths and that of the heiress.
Has Tempe made grave errors, or is she being sabotaged by an unseen enemy? What is frighteningly clear is that more than just Tempe’s career is at stake. Her life is also at risk.
Spider Bones by Kathy Reichs
13. Spider Bones (2010)
Dr Temperance Brennan spends her life working amongst the decomposed and the skeletal. So the newly-dead body she is called to examine holds little to surprise her. Until she discovers it is the body of an ex-soldier apparently killed in Vietnam in 1968. So who is buried in his grave?
The case takes Tempe to the heart of the American military, where she must examine the remains of anyone with a possible connection to the drowned man.
As Tempe untangles the web of the soldiers’ lives and deaths, she realises there are some who would rather the past stayed buried.
Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs
14. Flash and Bones (2011)
Illuminated by lightning, a lifeless human hand seems to reach from a barrel of asphalt beside the Charlotte racetrack.
Tempe Brennan must find answers before thousands arrive for the year’s big race. But before she can carry out a proper examination, the FBI mysteriously confiscate and destroy the body. It’s a dead end. Until a young engineer alerts Tempe to the disappearance of a couple twelve years earlier – and a deadly conspiracy unravels.
Bones Are Forever by Kathy Reichs
15. Bones are Forever (2012)
A newborn baby is found wedged in a vanity cabinet in a rundown apartment near Montreal. Temperance Brennan is brought in to investigate. While there, she discovers the mummified remains of two more babies within the same room. Shocked and distressed, Tempe must use all her skills and inner strength to focus on the facts. But when the autopsies reveal that the children died of unnatural causes, the hunt for the mother – a young woman with a seedy past and at least three aliases – is on.
The trail leads Tempe to Yellowknife, a cold, desolate diamond-mining town on the edge of the Arctic Circle, where her quest for the truth only throws up more questions, more secrets, and more dead bodies. Taking risks and working alone, Tempe refuses to give up until she has discovered why the babies died. But in such a hostile environment, can she avoid being the next victim?
Bones in Her Pocket by Kathy Reichs
Bones In Her Pocket – digital short story (2013)
Dr Tempe Brennan has seen it all. Human bones. Animal bones. Old bones. Young bones. Male bones. Female bones. What she hasn’t seen is all of them mixed together in the same case. Until now.
The foothills of North Carolina aren’t the only unfamiliar territory Tempe faces as she races to learn the meaning of the bones in her pocket.
Bones of the Lost by Kathy Reichs
16. Bones of the Lost (2013)
The body of a teenage girl is discovered along a desolate highway on the outskirts of Charlotte. Inside her purse is the ID card of a local businessman who died in a fire months earlier. Who was the girl? And was she murdered?
Tempe Brennan must find the answers. She soon learns that a Gulf War veteran stands accused of smuggling artefacts into the country. Could there be a connection between the two cases?
Convinced that the girl’s death was no accident, Tempe soon finds herself at the centre of a conspiracy that extends from South America to Afghanistan. But to find justice for the dead, she must be more courageous – and take more extreme action – than ever before.
Swamp Bones by Kathy Reichs
Swamp Bones – digital short story (2014)
Forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan has just arrived in Florida’s Everglades for a much-needed break when she is unwittingly thrown into the middle of a deadly case with its roots in the darkest depths of the swamp.
Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs
17. Bones Never Lie (2014)
For a decade, Temperance Brennan has been haunted by the one who got away. The killer of young women. The monster.
And the one who has now come back. Feeding on fear, grief and rage. Killing again. Killing girls.
Getting closer. Coming for Tempe.
Bones on Ice by Kathy Reichs
Bones on Ice – digital short story (2015)
The daughter of a wealthy and influential Charleston family has been missing on Mount Everest for three years. Presumed dead, her remains had been irretrievable until an earthquake caused her body to move down the mountain.
The family want only one person to identify her remains: Tempe Brennan. Though reluctant to take the case, Tempe soon realises that the girl did not die of natural causes. It seems the victim was murdered and all her fellow climbers fall under suspicion. But which one is the killer? And if Tempe gets too close to the truth, will they kill again?
Speaking in Bones by Kathy Reichs
18. Speaking in Bones (2015)
When Dr Tempe Brennan is approached by amateur detective Hazel ‘Lucky’ Strike, at first she is inclined to dismiss the woman’s claims that she’s matched a previously unidentified set of remains with a name.
But as the words of a terrified young woman echo round her office from an audio recorder found near where the bones were discovered, something about the story won’t let Tempe go.
As Tempe investigates further she finds herself involved in a case more complicated and horrifying than she could ever have imagined. Read our extract.
A Conspiracy of Bones by Kathy Reichs
19. A Conspiracy of Bones (2020)
It’s sweltering in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Temperance Brennan, still recovering from neurosurgery following an aneurysm, is battling nightmares, migraines, and what she thinks might be hallucinations when she receives a series of mysterious text messages, each containing a new picture of a corpse that is missing its face and hands. Immediately, she’s anxious to know who the dead man is, and why the images were sent to her.
An identified corpse soon turns up, only partly answering her questions. To win answers to the others, including the man’s identity, she must go rogue. With help from a number of law enforcement associates including her Montreal beau Andrew Ryan and the always-ready-with-a-smart-quip, ex-homicide investigator Skinny Slidell, and utilizing new cutting-edge forensic methods, Tempe draws closer to the astonishing truth. But the more she uncovers, the darker and more twisted the picture becomes…
The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs
20. The Bone Code (2021)
When a hurricane hits the Carolinas it uncovers two bodies, sharing uncanny similarities with a cold case in Quebec that has haunted Temperance Brennan for fifteen years.
At the same time, a rare bacterium that can eat human flesh is discovered in Charleston. Panic erupts and people test themselves for a genetic mutation that leaves them vulnerable.
With support from her long time partner Andrew Ryan, in a search that soon proves dangerous, Temperance discovers the startling connection between the victims of both murder cases – and that both the murders and the disease outbreak have a common cause…
Cold Cold Bones by Kathy Reichs
21. Cold Cold Bones (2022)
It all starts when Dr Temperance Brennan finds a box on her porch. Inside is a fresh human eyeball with GPS coordinates etched into it. They lead her to a macabre discovery in a Benedictine Monastery, and soon after she discovers a mummified corpse in a state park.
There seems to be no pattern to these killings, except that each mimics a killing connected to something a younger Tempe experienced, or barely escaped. Someone is targeting her, and she needs to figure out why before they strike again.
And then her daughter Katy disappears.
The Bone Hacker by Kathy Reichs
22. The Bone Hacker (2023)
Called in to examine what is left of a body struck by lightning, Tempe traces an unusual tattoo to its source and is soon embroiled in a much larger case. Young men – tourists – have been disappearing on the islands of Turks and Caicos for years. Seven years ago, the first victim was found with both hands cut off; the other visitors vanished without a trace. But recently, tantalizing leads have emerged and only Tempe can unravel them.
Maddeningly, the victims seem to have nothing in common – other than the unusual locations where their bodies are eventually found, and the fact that the young men all seem to be the least likely to be involved in foul play. Do these attacks have something to do with the islands’ seething culture of gang violence? Tempe isn’t so sure. And then she turns up disturbing clues that what’s at stake may actually have global significance.
Fire and Bones by Kathy Reichs
23. Fire and Bones – August 2024
It’s never easy working fire scenes, Tempe thinks. Called to Washington, DC, to analyze the victims of a building set ablaze amid mysterious circumstances, she sees all her misgivings justified. The building site is in Foggy Bottom, a neighborhood with a colorful past and present, and the property’s ownership becomes even more suspicious when Tempe delves into its past.
The pieces start falling into place strangely and quickly, and, sensing a good story, Tempe teams with a new ally, telejournalist Ivy Doyle. Soon the duo learns that back in the thirties and forties the home was the hangout of a group of bootleggers and racketeers known as the Foggy Bottom Gang. Though interesting, this fact seems irrelevant—until the son of a Foggy Bottom gang member is shot dead at his farm in Fairfax County, Virginia. Coincidence? Targeted attacks? So many questions.
As Tempe and Ivy dig deeper, an arrest is finally made. Then another Foggy Bottom Gang-linked property burns to the ground, claiming one more victim. Slowly, Tempe’s instincts begin pointing to the obvious: somehow, her moves since coming to Washington have been anticipated in advance, and every path forward seems to bring with it a lethal threat.
The Bone Collection by Kathy Reichs
The Bone Collection (2016)
A collection of chilling shorter tales featuring Temperance Brennan – including the untold story of her first case.
Tempe thought she’d seen it all until she came across Bones in Her Pocket in the foothills of North Carolina. Down in the Everglades, she investigates Swamp Bones – a grisly discovery in the stomach of an eighteen-foot Burmese python. In the heights of Mount Everest, a frozen corpse means Bones On Ice. And First Bones gets under Tempe’s skin with the untold story of her first case and her decision to become a forensic anthropologist.
There you have it – Kathy Reichs’ Bones books in order! How many have you read? Let us know in the comments below…