Since I still haven't been reading new books (our local grocery store still hasn't found a new distributor - damn them - and I haven't been out of town in weeks), I'm reading through some of the titles in my store I never took the chance to read. Hence, this week's book: Grave Secrets by Kathy Reichs.
I've been a semi-fan of the TV show Bones for a while now. (I say semi because I only catch it in reruns when I'm not doing anything else at 4pm.) I love Temperance Brennan. She's my kind of gal. The other day I was finally paying attention to the opening credits and happened to see that the show was based on the novels of Kathy Reichs. Enter little light bulb over my head. I had one of her books in my store, and damned if it wasn't one of her Temperance Brennan novels. As soon as I finished the latest Dresden Files, I pulled Grave Secrets off the shelves and dug right in.
In no time at all, I could see the TV show was only loosely based on the novels. For a second I was disappointed. On TV, they give viewers a younger woman. They also give a more concrete bound version of the character. I'm a fan of no-nonsense, 'just the facts' characters. The Temperance in the books isn't quite the gal I fell for on the television.
Tempe (instead of Bones) is similar to her on-screen persona, but not. She's a different type of person. Not worse, per se, just different. Keeping this in mind, I forged ahead. Of course, Reichs made it easier for me to make the break from Bones to Tempe - in part because the nicknames are different, but also because none of the secondary characters from the TV show are in the book. (Maybe they're in other novels of this series.) No Angela. No Zach. No Hodgins.
All in all, I enjoyed the novel. Reichs writes well, and she layered in just enough twists and turns to keep me reading. The setting for Grave Secrets moves from Guatemala to Canada and Reichs described enough to make me feel like I was there, without getting bogged down in the description. She made a character I could like - even despite the differences - and one I could sympathize with.
The only detractor for me were the few scenes with lots of dialogue and no tags. I know, I know... writers aren't supposed to use too many tags. I get it. The problem comes when the conversation is flowing so fast I can't tell who's talking. I hate having to go back and figure out who said what from the content. What can I say, I'm lazy that way. Throw in a 'Ryan said' or a even a 'she said' every now and then. It won't kill the flow, and it'll help out the losers like me who need help reading your novel.
So, if you haven't tried the Temperance Brennan novels - whether you're a fan of Bones or not - give them a whirl. If you're into suspense/thriller, you might be pleasantly surprised. I know I was.
Ever watch a show based on a book, and then read the book? What was your reaction to the differences? Personally, I have a problem with movies based on books I've already read, but I have an easier time when it's in reverse. (i.e. I watched the movie and then read the book - like Jurassic Park.)