Saturday, July 16, 2011
Corpses and Cockfights: Carved in Bone by Jefferson Bass
Author Jefferson Bass is himself a fascinating character. Too bad he doesn't exist.
Bass is a hybrid between writer Jon Jefferson and Dr. Bill Bass - the forensic anthropologist who founded the notorious "body farm", a three acre breeding ground for rotting corpses in backwoods Tennessee. In fact, the area is a research laboratory for the University of Tennessee's Anthropology Department, but its morbid methodology and Deliverance-esque locale only add to its intrigue and general creepiness. In short, it is a perfect setting for a mystery/thriller.
Carved in Bone is a fun, fast-paced read full of suspense, intrigue, intellect and fascinating characters. I picked up the novel in an airport, and two thousand miles later I had become a full blown Jefferson Bass addict. As you can probably imagine, the story revolves around a body - the body of a young woman dead for thirty years and strikingly preserved. The quest of Dr. Bill Brockton starts out strange and only gets stranger as he races to unlock her secrets. He stabs dead people. He faints head first into a barrel of dead roosters. He vomits onto a massive bear of a good ol' boy named Waylon. The next time you think your job is rough, pick up a Jefferson Bass novel and try being a doctor of rot rates.