Flash and Bones is number 14 in the Temperance Brennan mysteries, and every bit as fun to read as the first. I especially liked that some timeline was given in this story between the end of the last book (Spider Bones) and the beginning of this one. As always, the information provided in the story of the investigative process of forensic anthropology is very detailed and informative without being too dry or graphically gory. In this story, Dr. Brennan ( aka Tempe) is back in Charlotte during Race Week. We learn a lot about NASCAR, from the origins of stock car racing coming out of Prohibition to the present day NASCAR organization. The storyline also ties in some elements of the militia movement in the U.S., and information about bioweapons.
When a body turns up in a landfill bordering the speedway in Charlotte, Tempe is called in. In working to identify the body, which is encased in asphalt and sealed in a 35-gallon drum, Tempe runs up against a cold case from 1998. In revisiting this old case, Tempe butts heads with the FBI, a former cop now disgraced, powerful members of a local militia, and her coworkers. While not a fan of NASCAR, I appreciate all the details we learn about the sport, through Tempe. We get a dose or two of the author’s signature sarcasm when Tempe runs up against the FBI Special Agents, Charlotte cop Erskine Slidell and her soon-to-be ex-husband’s dim-witted fiancé. What’s really missing in this segment of the series is the witty, snarky dialogue between Tempe and her soon-to-be ex-husband or her former boyfriend, but still current Montreal co-worker, Andrew Ryan.