Forensic anthropologist and writer Kathleen Joan »Kathy« Reichs was born in Chicago in 1948. She earned her BA in Anthropology at the private Methodist American University in Washington, D.C. in 1971, and after completing her MA received her PhD in Anthropology from Northwestern University, Illinois, in 1975. She taught at several US universities and became a consultant for the Chief Medical Examiner in North Carolina. Along with her scientific books and papers, Reichs has published novels which have been translated into more than thirty languages.
For her debut »Déjà Dead« (1997) she received the Arthur Ellis Award. It was the first in a series of fourteen crime stories whose heroine, a forensic doctor named Temperance »Tempe« Brennan, takes on complicated murder cases in the course of which she herself is often exposed to danger. In »Déjà Dead« Temperance Brennan examines the bones of a badly decomposed body found by the police in a churchyard. She detects similarities with another case and suspects the work of a serial killer. Since the police do not believe her, Temperance Brennan undertakes her own investigation and in so doing endangers the lives of both her best friend and her daughter. While Reich’s novels are inspired by her own professional practice, the murders she describes are particularly brutal. Reichs depicts operations in the forensic clinic and at the scene of the crime in a sober, clinical tone, rich in detail. Some of her stories are set in Canada, with Gallicisms creeping into both the text and titles. Sometimes her protagonist works on archaeological discoveries: in »Cross Bones« (2005) Reichs references the theories of Bible scholar James Tabor, who claims that Jesus of Nazareth was not a founder of a religion but a descendant of King David who aspired to the throne. In 2005 the crime series »Bones« debuted on US television; Kathy Reichs is a producer although the series isn’t a screen adaptation of her novels.
Kathy Reichs was a member of the national emergency task force appointed to identify the victims of the 9/11 attacks, and was involved in the examination of bodies exhumed from mass graves in Rwanda and Guatemala. She lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.
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